Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sant'Antimo Prayer

Several years ago, Amanda and I visited Tuscany in Italy. One of our stops was the Abbey of Sant'Antimo to hear the friars chant the liturgy. After the service, I noticed a woman in prayer in one of the simple wooden pews, with the light streaming in from the nave (see the photo on right below). Standing to her left beyond the marble column, I snapped a picture. I have an 24"x18" version on my office wall. It remains the single most moving and inspirational photograph I have ever taken.

Click on images to enlarge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is a great picture!!!

So much like the place I am coming from and the people I know...