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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Riches to Rags

In the 1980s, authors Waterman and Peters set out to discover success in American business. They asked the question in their book In Search of Excellence, “Is anyone doing it right and are they doing it right here in America?” Today, we ask the same question, but with a new twist, “Are any Americans following the Lord in His call to serve the poor and are they doing it right now?” A resounding yes! Sister Antonia Brenner rocks.

Sister Antonia Brenner (photo) was born into an Irish-Catholic family and was baptized Mary Clarke. She was raised in the exclusive community of Beverly Hills, California. Her father was a very successful businessman and provided well for his family. After twenty-five years of marriage and after most of her seven children were out of the house, her life drastically changed. In a period of just a few years she found herself divorced as well as house and possessions sold. She began to serve full time the prisoners at La Mesa penitentiary in Tijuana, Mexico. A place where the most notorious and hardened criminals are housed.

At the La Mesa penitentiary, she lives in a 10’ x 10’ concrete room with a cot as her bed, and with a Bible and Spanish dictionary nearby. Prisoners know that daily roll call is not complete until she shows up in the line right along side them. Mother Antonia provides not only spiritual guidance to the guards and inmates, but she also helps with basic material comforts for prisoners such as blankets, toiletries and medicines.

After over three decades of service, Mother Antonia Brenner calls Tijuana her home. She condemns crime, but loves the sinners and the victims. Her love and guidance for the poor and the forgotten have made a difference at the prison and as a result many who were imprisoned there have sought a better life.

Do you know of anyone that's doing it right? Share your thoughts!

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1 comment:

Liz said...

I do know of someone, a relative of mine was married to a very successful businessman and discovered that his serial infidelities included her friends. Once her kids graduated she moved to NY City and worked with an organization that was ministering homeless kids and tried to get them off the streets. She now works as a principal in the inner city and has been able to help immigrants, low income families get education and hope for the future.

It's funny but before she married her husband she was about to enter the convent. In any case she still server her fellow men and women.