Las Posadas: Gifts for Prisoners, Families, and Guards
Las Posadas (“The Inns”) is a celebration commemorating the journey of the Holy Family (Joseph and Mary), who while pregnant with Jesus, traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge for Mary to give birth.
Since they weren’t able to find lodging, they sought shelter in a stable, where the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, was humbly born. The Servants of the Eleventh Hour celebrate Las Posadas throughout the month of December. Just as Mary and Joseph were seeking the basic necessity of shelter, the Servants open their hearts and doors every year to the poor, imprisoned, and the guards as well.
From Friday, December 9th through Thursday, December 15th, eight total Posadas celebrations were held in the prison. In preparation, the Servants and former inmate volunteers made over 1,000 bags of candy (see photo).
Seated in the picture (left to right) are Sr. Nelida, Elena, Mercedes, Sr. Carmen, Sr. Ann Gertrude, and Sr. Lourdes. The two Volunteers – Elena and Mercedes – are former inmates. “One is staying with the Servants at Casa Campos and attending school, while the other is out on her own and working,” says Sister Anne Marie.
In addition to the candies, the prisoners received hot chocolate and ‘pan dulce’ (sweetbreads). Candy and hot chocolate were also given to the mothers and children who came to Casa Campos; the children took home a toy and the family took home a bag of essential food.
Besides the Posadas the Servants are doing in the prison and for the neighbors of Casa Campos, they will also be helping the Pastoral Penitenciaria, another Catholic organization that does extraordinary work, with their celebrations in late December. “They help us and then we help them,” says Sister Anne Marie. “We will be doing the same things that we did this week: preparation of candy and hot chocolate.” The Servants do such extraordinary work, and have so many amazing connections.
In January, hot chocolate, ‘pan dulce,’ 250 bags of candy, as well as socks and hats will be given to the guards at La Mesa Penitentiary. Mother Antonia considered the guards and prisoners her ‘hijos’ (her children), who all deserve love, respect, and the kindness of Jesus Christ. The Eudist Servants continue to love the guards and move their hearts to be gentler and kinder to the prisoners.
“Once I choose who I love and don’t love, I am no longer God’s servant,” said Mother Antonia. She taught her fellow Sisters to love all people, no matter their background, what they have done in the past, or how society viewed them. Everyone deserves love, and it is this love that transforms people’s hearts.
It is this love that brings Elena and Mercedes to Casa Corazon de Maria to make bags of candies and volunteer their time. It is this love that transformed Robert Cass’s life, who now gives generously while teaching many people about Mother Antonia and the love of Jesus Christ. It is this love that propelled Tony Granillo to open the only AIDs clinic in Tijuana. It is this unconditional and unquestionable love of God that encourages us to look ahead to a new year full of promise, that God will take care of His ‘hijos and hijas,’ and that, we, too are His Servants here on Earth, bringing about a mission of love from the Kingdom.
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