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Prison Ministry

The Prison Ministry initiates and supports projects addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of inmates at Illinois correctional facilities.

Pen Pals

“And they said, Lord when did we see prison and did not help you? He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’.” (Mt. 25:40-45)

Many of us will find it challenging to visit inmates in prison, but there is another way we can visit prisoners - by mail.  So many of you have generously helped in sending Christmas cards to the prisoners. Here is a chance to take it a step farther by becoming a pen pal with a prisoner.

We are honored to have a distinguished speaker, Jana Minor, coming to St Edna on May 1 to talk about how a prisoner pen pal program works.  Jana has spent over 40 years working in prison ministry and established several programs, including pen pal ministries.  

Please join us Wednesday May 1, 7pm, Hurley Center Room C and D to hear this dynamic speaker. Even if you are not sure this is your calling, come join us to learn about what this ministry entails.  And yes - there will be cookies.  

More information about Jana Minor: 

In 1976, Jana Minor heard a call to serve imprisoned people. In the 40+ years since she has:

* Corresponded with hundreds of our imprisoned sisters and brothers.
* Worked six and a half years for a prison ministry in Peoria, IL which among other things operated a half way house for recently released men.
* Started with the help of her sisters, "Companions, Journeying Together, Inc." in 1986 using funds left by their Aunt Mary.
* Helped to launch their very important project, "Aunt Mary’s Storybook Project", which today serves parents and their children in 6 county jails and 10 state prisons.
* Most recently launched a pen pal group project. Members of these groups each have their own pen pal and meet regularly to share their experiences and gain support from each other. They now have over 100 volunteers in 8 groups.

Jana currently uses her time to coordinate the pen pal group, the Christmas Card and Mother’s Day projects, She also is involved with Aunt Mary’s Storybook Project at three county jails.

Thank You

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all our KAIROS cookie bakers!

We collected 251 dozen cookies (that's 3012!!) for the Kairos retreat team which is visiting Stateville Prison April 26th-28th.  A big thank you to those who baked the very best, prayer filled, homemade treats!!

We are often told how grateful both the Kairos team and the inmates are for this tangible proof of your care and concern.  May the Lord Bless you for you generous hearts.

Help Wanted

Have you ever considered getting more involved with St. Edna Prison Ministry?  We would love to have you.  We are currently looking for new members, especially for anyone who may be interested in helping in the following roles: 
* Secretary for our monthly meetings and writing articles for the bulletin,
* Lead for the annual christmas card drive (many workers/volunteers, but need someone to take over the organization and scheduling)
* Lead for the (semi-)annual bible drive
* Lead for the (semi-)annual toiletries drive
* New members - assistance on christmas card, bible, toiletries drives, contact prison chaplains

We do not believe that any of these are big or overwhelming projects overwhelming, but many hands make light work and would love to get some new voices, ideas and energy in our ministry. 

Please contact June Hoogenboom at 847-398-1397 if you would like more information. 

Information About the Criminal Justice System

Going through the process of having a loved one facing imprisonment or already caught up in the criminal justice system, is a frightening and frustrating experience.  Where do you turn?

The St. Edna Prison Ministry offers a free opportunity to parishioners to learn about how the criminal justice system works and provides referrals to local agencies which specialize in substance abuse, anger management/domestic violence, gambling problems, etc.  Perhaps you may be looking for someone to prayerfully meet with and discuss such issues.

Meetings are scheduled on an as-needed basis and are located at St. Edna.  Your anonymity is respected and all meetings are confidential.

Please call St. Edna at 847-398-3362 x315 to request to be contacted by an expert in the field of criminal justice.

How our Program Works

Ministry members gather to plan for and implement the upcoming projects for the inmates at Illinois correctional facilities.  Duties and activities for the projects are assigned during the meetings.


Bibles are collected for Bible-study participants at Correctional facilities.


Toiletries are collected for the women at Logan Correctional facility for the "Christmas in July" program.  Over 1000 bags of toiletries will be given the inmates in the Health and Intake areas of the facility.

Kairos Cookies 

There is an unspoken rule among the residents of prisons, "Don't trust, don't talk, don't feel."  The Torch / Kairos weekend is targeted specifically to be presented to the unchurched, to the isolated, the unloving, and the unloved.

Parishioners are asked to bake cookies to be used at retreats in various Illinois correctional facilities.  Recipes for the cookies are made available to all baking them. Cookies are then brought to the church for pickup.  Volunteers deliver them to the correctional facility retreat.    Kairos Cookie Recipes and Instructions

Kairos Hands of Love

Share your love with the boys at the St. Charles Illinois Youth Center by making a 'Hand of Love.'  Kairos Hands of Love, Posters and Placemats

Kairos Posters

The intent of the posters is to greet these men that come to the Torch or Kairos program, with love.  (See the details in the link above.)

Kairos Placemats

At every meal, we have placemats at each dining seat.  These placemats are a gift of love and encouragement that we use to reinforce the message that God loves them.  These can be done on simple letter or legal size pieces of paper.  This is a great project for children.  Make placements decorated with drawings and messages of God's love.  (See the details in the link above.)

Kairos Letters 

When our Prison Ministry is participates in the Kairos retreat, parishioners are asked to consider handwriting one or more letters to the men who will attend.  The attached provides more information and guidelines.  Kairos Letter Guidelines

Christmas Cards

Cards are collected and signed by St. Edna parishioners.  Cards are then distributed to inmates of a correctional facility in Illinois.  

Join Us

Our committee meets at St. Edna on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7:00PM, September through May.  All are welcome.

June Hoogenboom

Sue Perek