Tuesday, May 28, 2013

After 148 years the Nuns get out of Paris jail

The nuns left their cells last month for the last time. Since the 19th century the Sisters of Marie-Joseph and Mercy have lived with female prisoners on Ile de la Cité in the 'Depot' so called for the cells under the the Tribunal which hold prisoners in transit between custody and possible incarceration. For 148 years this order of nuns have cared for female inmates and lived next to them in the holding cells. 
The five remaining nuns lived in the same spartan cells, caring for women who awaited charges before a magistrate.   
But with the crisis of vocations and an aging congregation, they couldn't find the necessary recruits.

On 23 April, they were treated to a final tribute, in the chapel of the 'Depot', where Cardinal Vingt-Trois, celebrated a mass for them saying "Where no one has voluntarily gone, we celebrate the service of those who have willingly gone out of love for others." 

Soon, the Sisters of the 'Depot' will retreat to a monastery. Yet they will continue to maintain a presence in the bowels of the courthouse, training citizen volunteers to take over and help. But the volunteers won't live in the cells.

Cara - Tuesday


  1. Having spent many of my early years as a lawyer organizing clergy to participate in volunteer work in NYC jails with inmates awaiting trial, I know first hand the value of those Sisters' work. But for the same reason, the extent of their lifetime commitment absolutely blows my mind. I truly mean it when I say, God bless them."

  2. I second Jeff's sentiments. And by the way, is Cardinal Vingt-Trois related to Pope John the Twenty-Third?