‘I Was a Prisoner…’

The Gospel of Matthew reads: “For I was in prison and you visited me…I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least of my brothers, you did it for me!”

These words of Jesus are important to our Sisters, Ursuline Associates and Young Adult volunteer members of our Prison Ministry.

Sister Nancy Dawson heads the ministry, with the mission of creating hope in a place most consider hopeless.

Sister Nancy and Ursuline Associate Gerry Mansour, showing a calendar revamped to meet prison guidelines.

A retired instructor of World Religions studies at Youngstown State University, Sister Nancy is a chaplain at Youngstown’s Ohio State Penitentiary site.

There she interacts with officers, chaplains of many other faith traditions, and incarcerated people. She collaborates with Catholic and other faith communities to provide spiritual care.

She helps the incarcerated develop their spiritual lives — teaching RCIA classes to those who wish to become Catholic and bringing Communion to those who are. She also works to facilitate better relationships between the guards and the incarcerated.

Sister Nancy represents all the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown and brings our prayers when she visits the prison.

You can learn more about incarceration rates in the United States, as well as crime rates and costs from a 2021 document released by the Pew Charitable Trust.