“Thanks for loving me even when I don’t love myself.”
– An offender
Sister Pat Wilson is a Community Chaplain, working with men and women returning from federal prisons, helping them reintegrate into their communities. “I journey with them, without judgment, helping wherever I can,” says Sister Pat. “Some days I’m simply a friendly face, other days I connect them to services they need. But above all, I’m there at a time when many have no one.”
Sister Pat says her ministry is about restoring relationships among offenders, victims and citizens. She visits half-way houses, making herself available wherever she is needed. She also speaks to churches and community groups about her ministry.
Sister Pat could do much more with additional funding. For example, education costs often aren’t covered by social services, yet many of her clients need to further their education. Sister Pat would like to create an education funding program with a repayment plan to allow the beneficiaries to give money back to the program to help others.
Sister Pat often meets with clients in coffee shops to help them feel comfortable. She would love to have a separate gathering place, for conversation and coffee or for prayer and meditation, either individually or in groups. Volunteers would also offer basic life skills training, and assistance with paperwork as needed.
Another project Sister Pat has planned is scheduled transportation to the prisons in the area for families of those still incarcerated. With some prisons hours from Halifax, visiting can be difficult for many families. Maintaining family ties is important to the safe re-integration of offenders. And that is Sister Pat’s ultimate goal.