Arrested Canadian pro-lifers write Christmas letters from jail
TORONTO, January 8, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Canada’s pro-life heroines have each written Christmas letters to their beloved pro-life supporters. The pair has asked that their letter be passed on to all who have encouraged them to continue their fight for the lives of preborn children.
Both Linda Gibbons and Mary Wagner remain in jail at the Vanier Centre for Women, in Milton, Ontario. They were arrested on separate occasions while attempting to counsel women against abortion, in the process of which they violated “bubble zone” laws that protect abortion clinics.
Both women have spent a considerable amount of time in jail for repeatedly violating the bubble zone laws.
John Bulsza, a friend of Linda, sent LifeSiteNews Linda’s letter with the hope that everyone who reads it may be prompted to write a card or letter of encouragement to Linda in return.
Dear Pro-Life Friends
Greetings in Christ our King. I’m praying this finds you and yours well and blessed this Christmas. It’s another Christmas in jail, another opportunity to thank you for your love, letters and faithful prayers (especially for those offered for my mom). Thanks so much ☺!
This session completes a decade behind jail walls courtesy of Corrections Canada and the courts. The system intends to change for the better those it holds. I do believe prison time has bettered me but not by its demand for obeisance to flawed injunctions but rather by the time it permits me to live among the women here. Such time has been a living lesson about what prison life is possible of becoming - a place where we can remain free to love and be loved in return. It reminds me of Richard Lovelace’s poem that begins “Stonewalls do not a prison make…”; indeed love is liberating.
A highlight of recent years is having the company of Mary Wagner alongside. Her walk of faith and testimony to life is a beacon of hope to tired hearts. Mary is much sought out by the other girls here and she’s ever attentive to their physical and spiritual needs.
This year both Mary and I received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for our pro-life work – medals that triggered the rancor of the liberal-left. Why so? Was it irrational for Stephen Woodworth to petition Parliament to look at who is in the womb and to enquire whether that someone requires a legal safe place to live? Evidently he believes we are created equal, not just born equal! Is it not rational to believe that human beings are living persons from conception and members of the species Homo sapiens? Medicine and science agree that the unborn are both living and members of the human family from the beginning. That being the case, the law should recognize that objective reality.
The Queen’s medals were not an untimely issue. They are a harbinger of a battle yet to be won and a pledge of the pro-life community to safeguard our unborn children until it can be said of their domain - freedom lives here.
Thank you again for your kind Christmas remembrance. May the joy of Christ’s coming fill your hearts and minds this holy season.
Christus regnat! Love in Our Christ King,
(Christ reigns!) Linda
Mary Wagner’s friend Leeda Crawford sent Mary’s letter from prison with a note from Mary’s mom. Jane Wagner said, “I thought that I would share the letter that Mary sent to us during this Christmas season. I found it uplifting and re-assuring to know that Mary is okay, even in jail, with the Love of God all around and about her.”
Dec 28th, 2012
Feast of the Holy Innocents
Octave of Christmas
Dear .........loved ones…...
Greetings to you during this season of the birth of the Holy Child, Our Saviour! What deep joy is ours when we take the time to contemplate the truth that God, Our Father in Heaven, Our Creator… “so loved the world that He sent His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but receive everlasting life” (Jn 3,16)
In the quiet of my cell Christmas Eve, and in the early morning silence also, I was looking at an image- a beautiful representation of the Nativity Scene—just the Holy Family—and was filled with amazement as a fresh wave of wonder struck me at what God has done for us. We have grown up hearing about the gift of Jesus and many of the miracles He performed, teachings He gave, and divine wisdom He imparted; the suffering He bore for our sake, the rejection He experienced, the abandonment, Our God, not just a good man, the perfectly innocent One who called us into being out of His unfathomable Love, we have grown up on the receiving end of what has formed the civilization in which we live, and this celebration gives us the opportunity to reflect on the sheer gratuity of God and His goodness—if we are not too distracted by the busyness and commercial aspect.
By the time this reaches you, Christmas Day will be two or so weeks behind us, but the Church gives us an Octave of days for the Nativity, and a season that last well into January—(Our Lord’s Baptism), In fact, it used to be until Feb. 2nd!
So let’s linger by the Nativity Scene…God could have left us with the Ten Commandments—He could have left us with the Law to guide us, and as long as we kept it, we’d know that we are on the right track, “doing our duty” as children who obey. But, Our Father’s love was not satisfied to give us just the Law. He wanted to show us *just how much* He cares about us, so He chose to offer His only Son—first by living with and for us, then by dying and rising again for us. Our Father wanted to attract us to Himself by showing us that He Is love and that “we love because He loved us first” (1Jn4). Our God stooped down to show us that Love is always seeking to go right to the end; “No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn15)
It has been over four months since I was last arrested, and this makes it the longest I’ve been in jail at one time. For the most part, the milieu has been more peaceful than other times, though in December things became a little more tense on the range. A little calm descended Christmas day and it has lasted somewhat; but I have to learn to live with the tensions that one must expect in jail, and I must really seek God’s grace to live everything with God, and in trust that He gives the strength to guide us in everything that happens and in all the choices we are faced with.
Thankfully, the path is simple; I want to live for Christ who *is Life, so in every choice I’m faced with, I am called to make it in the knowledge that God, who is constantly loving me, is waiting for me to love Him in return. So when the answer does not seem clear, I ask Him to show me how to live Him and love Him in Truth. What is the pint of my life if I am not striving to love, and to go deepen in Love?
Thank God He is forgiving! Many times I fail to love, and He awaits my turning to Him and seeking His mercy, His forgiveness. Three is nothing Our good Lord will not forgive if we repent. “No sin is too big for God” as I’ve heard someone say, and I tell the women here, too, who need to hear it.
I pray that as this New Year unfolds, we would all grow more in the awareness of the profound gift we have received in the treasure of our Faith. If our Faith does not seem to be such a treasure, we can raise our hearts and minds in prayer, and ask the One who gave us life, to help to see the path that leads to the fullness of life, the path of Love that leads right to the end, to the good soil that accepts the grains of wheat that we are, where we die so that we can bear much fruit.
all my love and prayers,
Cards and letters may be sent to Linda and Mary at:
Vanier Center for Women
655 Martin Street, Box 1040,
L9T 5E6, Canada
Here are some mailing guidelines because the prison mailing department reads everything sent to the inmates:
1. Don’t use stickers (address, return address, pro-life) on the envelope or card.
2. Don’t send any laminated cards, bookmarks, prayer cards, pro-life pamphlets. Non-laminated items will get to her.
3. Don’t ask direct questions about daily activity of the detention centre.
4. Put your address directly in the card or letter. (Sometimes the mail sorter keeps the envelope.)
5. If you would like to send a little monetary gift to Linda or Mary it must be a money order made out to “Linda Gibbons” or “Mary Wagner.” The detention centre will deposit the money directly to her account.
6. Many people add a variety of Christian reading material in their mailings, but a maximum of one or two pages of reading material or pamphlets may be sent. Pro-life material that shows the development of the baby, but not post-abortion photos, is permissible and often shared with other women in the prison. Books should not be sent as they will not be delivered.