Women of Wisdom: An Alternative Community of Faith

Suzanne Jabro and Kelly Kester-Smith

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI:
Women of Wisdom: An Alternative Community of Faith

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This chapter provides a rich example of the many ways that spirituality can become the golden anchor and sustenance for women prisoners. Once a month, a group of women living at the California Institution for Women in Corona, California, and women from the community “outside” gather to breathe in a sense of peace and sisterhood and breathe out the burdens that wear heavy on the heart. Some of the women in the circle are serving lengthy sentences—most of them are lifers. Some of the women in the circle travel from their homes and busy lives to take an equal part in forming an unlikely community. The sum of the group transcends life circumstances to reach a space, and a place, far beyond the walls that separate women in prison from their sisters in the community. The Women of Wisdom circle, who began gathering in 2004, wanted to create a ritual and design a sacred space. Thus, they planned a full-day retreat. And not just any retreat. A retreat that fed the spirit, mind, and body.

Keywords: Women of Wisdom; California; women prisoners; spirituality; California Institution for Women; sisterhood; retreat; sacred space

Chapter.  1962 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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