A group of Sisters and an Associate take turns visiting the women’s unit of the jail each week. They responded to Chaplain Denny Ugoletti’s request for churches and organizations to help prepare Christmas ‘goodie bags’ for each of the 400 prisoners.
Known collectively as the “Church ladies” who visit on Thursday evenings, Sisters Pat Phillips, Sally Witt, Sarah Crotty, Cynthia Comiskey, Margaret Frazer, Roseann Gaul and Associate Carrie Hilsdon Gilles offer an attentive presence to women who wish to speak one-on-one with them.
“As you can imagine, their stories are sad and often heart-wrenching. Many of them have been in and out several times,” says Sister Pat Phillips.
With specific guidelines for the quantity and type of items that each ‘goodie bag’ must contain, the “Church ladies” began gathering candy and baking homemade Christmas cookies. Sister Pat, manager of the Gallitzin Commons apartment complex where some of our Sisters live, invited residents to get involved with the project.
Some Sisters contributed candy bars or a monetary donation to help purchase candy or storage bags while others supplied signed Christmas cards to brighten the inmates’ day. A group of Sisters also lovingly helped sort and pack dozens of homemade cookies for our “neighbors across the river.”