MERCY: A SACRED STORY
-William M Watson SJ & Ritchie R Roman
In August of 2016, Sacred Story Institute received a letter from a federal inmate seeking spiritual advice. We are using an alias for his real name to protect him in prison, calling him Richard Rafael Roman or just simply, Ritchie. He had been given a copy of Forty Weeks by a Catholic deacon friend of his: Patrick Logsdon. Their relationship went back to 1987 when Ritchie lived in Anthony House, a Catholic transitional home for addicts and former felons seeking a way back into society. The house was run by Deacon Pat and sponsored by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY. Ritchie, in his early fifties when he first contacted me, was starting year nineteen of a twenty-five-year sentence for armed bank robbery. He was sent to prison in 1997. We corresponded for a month or so before I suggested he go through the Forty Weeks program a second time. My proposal was that if he would write me questions for each week of the program, I would send him advice. The covenant was that I wanted his permission to publish our correspondence in a version of Forty Weeks to be called Letters from Prison. That book was published in spring of the year 2018. This current volume entitled Mercy, contains all the letters from the first publication and the ensuing correspondence between myself and Ritchie Roman up to June of 2020, during the global Covid-19 pandemic. I name this book: MERCY ~ A Sacred Story, because of what Ritchie said in one of his letters. Let me end this introduction with his own words: It did not take long for me to discover the most meaningful name for God the Father, Son and Spirit that I will always use in prayers- God of Mercy and Compassion. Although my life has not so far turned out the way I had hoped or expected, the realization that it could be a lot worse, and that the only reason it hasn’t is because of God’s intervention made my choice easy.
Paperback. 255 pages.