Abraham House history pieces (Part 1 of 3)
Images and texts from newsletters and brochures: 1986 - 2004

. . . We wish that the community we form in Rikers may continue . . . --- From first issue of "The Link"

Feb. 28, 1986 - Numero 1 - Pages 1, 2

Thank you for the cards and letters we receive from you, and also all your wishes at Christmas and New-Year. Thank you specially for your prayers. You know that we too pray for you and that is the best link between us.

We wish that the community we form in Rikers may continue with those who are upstate. That is why we send this "New-Letter" with some neus, spiritual material, etc... and ue hope to be able to do so from time to time.

We ask you also for your suggestions, your participation (news, prayers, poems, drawings) all which can help us to grow in faith and in love for our Lord and our brothers.

News from Rikers
Some of you were still with us for the day of retreat in H.D.M. on October 4th. and also on Dec. 23rd when we celebrated Christmas with the families. On Christmas day we prayed also in union with all of you during the Mass in H.D.M. and C.95.

2 images from The Link -- 2/28/86

Above is reduced version of the nameplate from the first issue of The Link, a newsletter from the "Rikers parish" to state inmates and their families who were once these island chaplains' "parishioners."

Left is a Eucharistic sketch that appeared near the paragraph about the 25th anniversary of Fr. Raphael's ordination.

These past months, it was also possible to have a day of retreat in C.95, and also in C76 with Sr. Mary and Br. Pbgelio, and in Rikers Hospital with Sr. Dorothea. There, during Mass, all wtio were present received the Sacrament of the Sick. On the following day, the people with A.I.D.S., also attended Mass and received that sacrament.

Most of you know that we now have a statue of Our lady in the chapel of H.D.M. and we call her "Our Lady of Rikers Island". For the day of its inauguration, in November, we had Mass and a beautiful and prayerful ceremory.

Brother Rogelio was working in C76 and C95 is now assigned to H.D.M. and C71. Many of you know him, for he participates already in the retreats and the Bible Classes in both buildings.

March 19th of this year will mark the 25th anniversary of Fr. Peter's ordination as a priest. In March, he will go for two weeks of retreat, and after Easter he will celebrate his jubilee on April 2nd in Rikers Island because it is his parish. We invite all of you to join him in thanksgiving and prayer.

More news
We are so happy to let you know that Sr. Simone's mother is muich better. The doctors themselves cannot understand how she could recover. We really thank you for your prayers for her.

Sr. Marie Rose continues to visit the families all over in N.Y. She has gone also several times to Green Haven along with the wives of some of our brothers there, (once the van had to return because of the snow ), and has been to Comstock, Auburn and Ossining. Sr. Any also has been to Warwick, Mid-Hudson, Coxsackie and Auburn.

We would like to do these visits in a more regular way when it is possible. In most of the facilities upstate, We need to be on your vising list to be able to visit you. Therefore, it would be good to send us some visiting forms if you wish that we ask for you.

Already we wish you a "Happy Easter." With much prayer for you and your loved ones.

Your Sisters Simone, Rita, Amy and Marie Rose.


Some among you were still at Rikers on July 6th . . . it was really good to be together. Many brothers were about to be transferred upstate . . . but we know that ties will not vanish in spite of the distance. --- Fron the October 1987 issue of "The Link"

October, 1987 - Number 7 - Pages 1, 2

Dear Brothers,

Trees are already turning yellow and red, Thanksgiving is almost here, and since July we did not send you any news . . . Yet each time we prepare "The Link" and review the mailing list, it is a special occasion to remember each one of you, especially all those whom we cannot visit because of the distance and lack of time.

Several of you have sent poems, writings, etc., and although there is not always room for everything to be published, know that we are very happy and grateful for your participation.

Some among you were still at Rikers on July 6th. It was not possible to organize a retreat at that time, but we had in the yard a special day of "convivencia" and it was really good to be together. Many brothers were about to be transferred upstate, and Fr. Juan, who had been participating and playing his guitar at the retreats in HDM for several years, was also leaving New York. With the other members of his community he has been assigned to start a new mission in Cameroon (Africa). It was therefore a kind of farewell celebration, but we know that ties will not vanish in spite of the distance. Julia, also a faithful participant in the retreats, had just lost a son a few days before. However, she was with us and we all were touched by her presence and her faith. Mr. Henri Tincq, a French journalist, who came several times to Rikers during his two-weeks stay in New York, was very happy for this occasion to meet many brothers in HDM.

2 images from The Link -- October/87

Above is reduced version of the nameplate from the seventh issue of The Link. Note the dove has replaced the butterfly used in the first issue.

Left is an image of a native flute player from one of the newsletter's five pages in Spanish.

Sr. Marie Rose went to Green Haven C.F. on August 23rd, to participate in the special event held by the Holy Name Society. She was glad to share the joy of the brothers present for that occasion and to meet some of their families. We are very grateful to Fr. Donovan to make possible for us such encounters.

On September 21, we went to Washington C.F. (Comstock), having been invited there by Mr. Pino, Catholic Chaplain of this facility. For Fr. Peter and Sr. Simone, it was their first time at Washington C.F. and a great joy for them to find there many brothers known in HDM and to visit with them. Fr.Peter celebrated Mass and we had also the possibility to share a lot with Mr. Pino. Sr.Marie Rose and Sr. Amy were able to stay and went to Great Meadow on the following day. There, with the collaboration of Fr. Hayes, Catholic Chaplain, they could visit with our brothers of this facility.

Fr. Peter has just been assigned as Chaplain for the Prison Hospitals (Rikers Hospital, Bellevue, Kings County and Elmhurst). He will start as soon as there will be someone to replace him at C.95. There will be however no change in HDM where he will work as before, providing the Sacraments and participating in the Bible Class.

At Nazareth House we had three brothers in September: Mark, Juan and Frank. Mark, who is from the South, is now back with his family and we are expecting other brothers soon.

Jacques Travers is still in France where he is staying with his family, but he does not forget you and knows that you do not forget him either.

Soon we will celebrate All Saints Day, All Souls Day, remembering all those who went "home' before us and more than ever are part of our family. We will be praying in union with all of you, especially on that day, and already we want also to wish to each one of you a "Happy Thanksgiving."

Sr. Amy with Sr. Rita, Sr. Marie Rose and Sr. Simone.


Sr. Marie Rose came back last Friday after spending a week visiting our brothers in Attica C.F. and other facilities close to Attica . . . These visits were possible thanks to the collaboration of the Chaplains of the different facilities and also of several friends living close to Attica.--- Fron the April 1989 issue of "The Link"

April, 1989 - Number 11 - Pages 1, 2

Dear Brothers,

Happy Easter to each one of you!!! You will surely receive this Link after Easter Sunday (we have not been able to send it earlier as we had been wishing to do), but it is still Easter time, so let us rejoice together and share some news too ...

We sent you the last issue of the Link just before Christmas, and it was so good to receive in return so many cards and letters. Thanks to all those who wrote and that means almost everyone of you...

Just a few days before Christmas we had as usual a celebration with the families of our brothers here in HDM, and in spite of some delay in the schedule, it was for all of us a beautiful day.

2 images from The Link -- April/89

Above is reduced version of the nameplate from the eleventh issue of The Link. Note a handclasp has replaced the dove.

Left is the victory writhe cross symbol placed alongside text about Holy Week liturgies.

At the end of January, Sr. Simone left for about two weeks for Puerto Rico. She was very happy to have this occasion to know the country of origin of some of you, (even the family of one of our brothers), and also to study more Spanish.

On March 5th, a group of three people involved in youth ministry came to join us in HDM and to participate in the Mass, singing and playing guitars. In a few words, each one of them gave his testimony. One explained that he was on drugs and had been himself in prison, but turned to the Lord and wishes now to help others to do the same. At the end of the Mass several brothers came to pray with them and we hope that the three young men will be able to come back.

On Monday March 13th, we had with a group of volunteers and with 86 of our brothers in HDM a day of retreat to prepare for the Holy Week and for Easter. Together we reflected on "Suffering, Death and Resurection" and on "Mercy". We shared the Eucharist and also the pain of some of our brothers crushed by the illness or the loss of one of their loved ones. Since that same week four of our brothers in HDM had just lost someone in their family (mother, child, father and grandfather). At their request, Fr. Peter offered a special Mass on the following Thursday, and from all the blocks, many came to pray and to comfort them.

For the Holy Week our brothers from Rikers Island Hospital were invited to come to HDM and to join our brothers there for the celebrations of Holy Thursday and of Good Friday. The chapel was full, and everyone very attentive to the beautiful liturgy of those days. Some of our volunteers were present for these different celebrations as some of them continue to come faithfully on Sunday.

At Rikers Island Hospital, Fr. Peter is now giving two bible-classes. One is for our brothers with AIDS who had expressed at different occasions their desire for such a class.

Sr. Marie Rose came back last Friday after spending a week visiting our brothers in Attica C.F. and other facilities close to Attica: Wyoming C.F., Albion C.F., Orleans C.F. and Groveland C.F. These visits were possible thanks to the collaboration of the Chaplains of the different facilities and also of several friends living close to Attica. Sr. Marie Rose was very grateful for their welcome and their friendship. Also on different occasions she went to Greenhaven C.F., Woodbourne C.F. and Sullivan.

Our brothers at Fishkill C.F., Arthur Kill C.F., Woodbourne, Greenhaven,and Downstate were very happy with the visit of Jose Cardona who also comes faithfully to HDM on every Thursday. Sr. Amy has been to different facilities too: Clinton, Great Meadow, Washington C.F., Auburn etc..

We received recently a card from Fr. Juan Yzuel whom many of you surely remember and who with Fernando and Angel, priests of his community, went to start a new mission in Cameroon (Africa). We give you here some extracts from his letter:

We are working hard here. The parish was opened two weeks ago and I am the pastor. Pray for me! There are a lot of things to do. We are starting a dynamic that, God willing, will lead us to the formation of basic communities ...

Greetings to all the inmates, though I pray that none of the inmates I met are still in prison. I hope I'll work with the young people of Bamenda Prison. It is sad to say that here there are some 40 on death row, and no priest is devoted to them. I'll do my best. Pray for them too!!

Here is the new address of Fr. Juan:

Fr. Juan Yzuel, Futru-Nkwen Catholic Mission, P.O.Box 520, BAMENDA (N-W) Cameroon.

We hope that it will not take so long before we send you some news again. In a few weeks we will celebrate Pentecost and also Mother's Day!! Soon also it will be Father's Day!!! On these occasions we will remember all of you and pray for each one of you and your loved ones.

With much love from each one of us.

Your sisters.


NYCHS presents these image and text excerpts from Abraham House and "pre-Abraham House" newsletters and brochures by permission. Abraham House's rights are reserved and retained. For more information, contact Sister Simone or Fr. Raphael at Abraham House where he is spiritual director and she is executive director.
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