I Was on a Rocky Road

-From a prisoner receiving The Word Among Us

I Was on a Rocky Road

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I was raised Catholic, but due to the break-up of my family, I was never confirmed. As an adult, I strayed from the church and found myself in prison.

After many years in prison trying to maintain my life on my own, I reached rock bottom, so far down that I was thinking of killing myself. But being raised as I was, I prayed first, and as I was sitting on my floor, razor in hand, someone with a problem knocked on my door and asked to speak to me. In figuring out his solution, I forgot about mine.

The next day while doing my job, an inmate who was my supervisor asked to see me. Out of the blue he handed me the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and explained how it worked on a rosary and then handed me one. Later in my cell, having completed the Chaplet, I thought, “How did this man know I was Catholic?” I wasn’t registered as one. The next day I asked how he knew. He said he was told in a dream.

So over the next six months, we had talks about everything. Because of this prisoner, I returned to the Church, and on Thanksgiving Day I was confirmed by the bishop. When I got back to my cell that day, I dropped to my knees and wept for over an hour. In a flash I saw my future—teaching here in prison.

I started my life sentence in 1977. At first it was a rocky road. But now when we don’t have a priest, I lead a Sunday service. My future is in prison, probably for the rest of my life. If that’s where God wants me to be, then I shall teach and preach God’s Word to others. I never want to say no to God again.

(Gregory’s institution receives The Word Among Us.)