Judy Jones

Judy Jones

Judy Jones is an artist, photographer, poet, and storyteller with fascinating and sometimes out-and-out miraculous tales to tell of her work among the dying, the homeless, and the "poorest of the poor."

In her own words, "Each of my paintings has a story. Since I haven't an immediate family, the whole world has become my home and every person I paint becomes my brother, father, sister, mother. I become intimately involved with the person before me."

"I started painting for the first time at the age of 33 from the confines of a hospital bed after a near-death experience. The moment my paintbrushes touched the paper I knew my only purpose on the earth was to paint. Painting is my way to say I love you."
You can preview tracks from her Janis Joplin tribute CD by clicking here.

You can buy her book "Bones of the Homeless" from Amazon by clicking here.

Her spoken word CD "Bones of the Homeless" is now available by clicking here, and also at Cody's Books in San Francisco, at Moe's Books in Berkeley, and at Tower Records and CD Baby online.

If you'd like to buy one of her works of art featured on this page, you can do so by clicking here.

Her work also appears in Catholic Voices in a World on Fire, edited by Stephen Hand, editor of TCRnews.com.

You can keep up with Judy Jones and her various exploits at www.bonesofthehomeless.com and www.ontheroadwithjudy.com.

The "Bones of the Homeless" CD features special guest poet Julia Vinograd, an original song by composer David Thornburgh, and a powerful cover designed by Doug Rees. You can hear sample poems and songs from "Bones of the Homeless" by clicking here.

At Cody's Books, Judy's "Bones of the Homeless" spoken word CD is shelved between audio versions of Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" and one of Jack Kerouac's poetry books.

Judy's photos of the homeless recently represented the United States in THE HOMELESSNESS AROUND THE WORLD art show held in Poland. Her article on the homeless, "Street Life" recently appeared in The Big Issue (below).





Judy had the opportunity to write poems and read them for The Gap, the mega-billion-dollar manufacturer, distributer and retailer of apparel. What happens when a saint encounters a conglomeration? We have four poems to share that we believe you'll find illuminating. Be sure to read "recognition," the last poem in the series.



The Gap on the Moon

hear ye
hear ye

i proclaim
the gap
will be
on the moon
and all the other planets
we'll inhabit soon

lets see
will i buy my spacesuit
in red blue or green
an how bout
my mars trottin shoes
think ill buy the ones
in polka dotted hues

gonna be the first to wear
the gaps martian jeans
i bought half priced
when i landed on the moon

so put your derby
on top ya mop
yeah the one over there
you bought at the gap
on venus while
ya were there

hear ye
hear ye

i proclaim
the gap
will be on the moon
and all the other planets
we will inhabit
very very soon
copyright jj 2008
san francisco ca usa


Our Rainbow Hued Galaxy

blazin rainbow hues
of you and me
lighting all earths skies
at night
a visual delight

reds blues greens and golds
every rainbow hue
and then some

our galaxy shimmers magically
with the essence of we

today i wear a coat
of many colors
made by my brothers in africa

tomorrow i wrap myself
in a bejeweled sarong
sewn by my sisters in hong kong

and drink coffee
made by families in brazil

last nite
i enjoyed a symphony
ushering in
the chinese new year

went to
a russian ballet
the other day

and love watching
mexicosfinest
late night tv

the planets made smaller
by the love we offer
thru the goods
we barter buy sell and trade

blazin rainbow hues
of you and me
lighting all earths skies at night
a visual delight

our rainbow hued galaxy

copyright jj 2008
san francisco ca usa



Judy informs us that there were to be "no poems about the homeless, as the Gap specifically asked for multiculturalism and the economy enjoined," so this is what she ended with:

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
ACROSS THE GLOBE
TO WHOM ECONOMY IS A WORD
NEVER HEARD

THEIR LIVES ARE SPENT SILENTLY IN PURSUIT
OF THE VERY THINGS
WE TAKE FOR GRANTED:
FOOD SHELTER AND CLOTHING

MAY WE ALL JOIN HEARTS AND HANDS
IN USHERING IN THE DAY
WHEN HOMELESSNESS IS HISTORY
AND EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD
HAS FOOD SHELTER CLOTHING AND MEDICAL CARE,
RESTORING HUMAN DIGNITY

GOING BEYOND HOMELESSNESS
WILL COME TO PASS
AND OUR NATION WILL BE REMEMBERED
AS A GREAT NATION
BECAUSE WE CARED ABOUT THOSE AMONGST US
UNABLE TO CARE FOR THEMSELVES

copyright 2008 jj



recognition
 
do you pay
i asked the corporation
seeking poetry from me
 
no but you get will
get recognition
she replied
 
i pondered that word
long and hard
why would a poet
of simple words
echoing the spirit world
want that?
 
spirit cant be bought
and sold
but still
our souls silent mysteries
must be told
 
oh recognition
i said
what more could i ask



Here are some thoughts from this remarkable woman, truly one of God's saints on this earth, expressed after she found out about her precarious condition in 2006, from which she recovered ...

"With the first monies I make from the books [in the first stages of being published], I am going to fly to Haiti to Mother Teresa's malnourishment center for infants dying of hunger.  I can't sleep deeply knowing babies are dying, hungry, if I am able to use my gifts to do anything. 

I will take photos and write about them.

Today I am in the process of painting the picture to hang in the artshow I was asked to be in on March 10th [2006]. They sent me the canvas, and all I need to do is paint it. 

Since I started painting from the confines of a hospital bed in an isolation ward, after nearly dying, the doctor calling me yesterday to inform me of my serious illness brought all that up again.

The world dances by me, and as always, nothing matters but the painting ... not food, health, nothing.  The doctor who saved my life as I lay in the hospital bed said, "You can't just paint, you have to be realistic," and as he walked out of the room I buzzed the nurse to come in and hang up my new painting ... of course I could only paint lines, colors ... at that time.  The whole room was covered with my paintings from the children's box of water colors.

Mother Teresa, oil, masonite, 1994



Laura, oil, canvas, 1999



Homeless Man, acrylic, canvas, 1996



Pure Elegance, oil, masonite, 1994



Jenelle!, oil, canvas, 1998



The Harlot, acrylic, canvas, 1996
THE

A Saint



A Woman and Hat





Drop Your Heads and Weep


drop your heads and weep
for the homeless
found frozen on the streets

while we laid
in our cozy little beds
all warm and fed
with dollar signs dancin thru our heads

who will hear our own
blood curdling screams
as we die freezing on the streets

will one person leave
their warm homes
to claim our no-name bodies
at the cities morgues doors

oh people please drop your heads
and weep
and weep
and weep
for the homeless
found frozen
all over the streets



Ode to Mitch Snyder



"Only the chosen ones have eyes that really see
and ears that hear"

by Judy Jones


Ode to Mitch Snyder


It's alright baby Mama has you now
cuddled close to her breast where
you can finally finally rest

hadn't a moment's peace on earth
did ya hon
Oh Mitch Snyder
chosen driven haunted one

You shed your blood so others could live
taking in by the thousands to your
shelters' warm arms
the poor unwanted neglected on earth
they flocked to your door knowin
a night's peace could be had
with no questions asked

In the coldest darkest nights
thru blizzards rain sleet and snow
as we slept warmly in our
secure little beds
with dollar signs dancin thru
our empty little heads
you darlin were collectin the
remains of the no names
at the city morgue's door and
holdin em tight to your breast
for you were the orphans'
god on earth Mitch
the daddy mother brother all in one
for the millions without anyone

on this earth you walked
alone and abused
but your mission my friend
bears fruit
The homeless of this land have
one less tear one more meal
and a night's freedom
from the violent who
eat the weak on the streets

unconditional love you gave
24 hours a day
you took in what society throws away
the strays
yea child you walked in dem shoes of
prisoner tramp and thief
so you knew didn't ya hon how it felt
on dem cold filthy concrete streets

humbled yourself before mankind
and now your chosen soul child
has gone home to god for its final rest

Oh yeah sweetie pie
your time for wailing done done
and for the price you paid Mitch Snyder
the whole world's gonna honor and
pay homage to you thru eternity

don't need to shed your tears
no more child
it's time for the trumpets
and peace bells to ring out your
name to everyone on earth and
all the saints gather round
and place upon your precious head
the crown of the brave valiant
and those that persevered

in thy hands feet and brow
the stigmata do i see there
we we crucified thee mitch
with ignorance pride and
tightly closed eyes

and in your side with
your own hand
you placed the final wound
cause child you had given
all you came to earth to give
and winged your way back home
to god as angels do
as soon as their chosen works are thru

a saint's halo shall grace thee
of this i am certain

and now mr. snyder may i
this unknown poet wash
your holy feet with my teardrops
dotted here and there
and dry them with my hair

you died for love mitch snyder
and i / we love you

Note:
Two thousand people sleep and eat in his shelter nightly who otherwise would be on the cold streets of Washington D.C. They have named a street near the shelter after Mitch Snyder.

Six months after I met him, he died by hanging himself.

I am forever grateful that Mitch gave his life for the poorest of the poor.
— Judy Jones

This article first appeared at TCRNews.com
To visit Bones of the Homeless, a site with photos and articles by Judy Jones, click here.





The Poorest of the Poor


 missionaries of charity


by Judy Jones

Washington, D.C. was having one of its worst blizzards. Determined to get to Mother Teresa's house for homeless men and women dying from AIDS, I asked the bus driver to let me know when we got to my stop. "What street is that?" he asked. "I have driven a bus in D.C. for twenty years and have never heard of it." Someone on the back of the bus yelled out, "I know where it is. I'll let you know when we get to your street."
Thank goodness, I thought. Living in California had not prepared me for snow and freezing temperatures. The day before, I had tried to get to Mother Teresa's orphanage for newborn babies located in the Chevy Chase section of Washington D.C. When I asked people on the street for directions, one said defiantly, "We don't have orphanages in our neighborhood." Unfortunately they do and I did find it along with five of the most beautiful newborn babies you have ever seen. Mother believed in small things with great love, not numbers.
The white house at the top of the hill was huge, and I had to wade through waist-deep snow to get to it. Perhaps a senator or congressman had owned it before Mother Teresa made it a home for the dying destitute of Washington D.C. Knocking on the door I was apprehensive. Having only volunteered with homeless men suffering from AIDS in the past, I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see.
"Hello, come in, please," said the Sister at the door. "Will you be able to come every morning this week and help us get the elderly women out of bed and into baths?" "Elderly women?" I asked, thinking the home was only for homeless people with AIDS. "Yes, we have six homeless elderly women and they can't get out of bed by themselves."
As Sister took me downstairs to the basement where the women's beds were, I heard screaming. Walking up to the woman screaming, I said, "What's wrong, may I help you?" She appeared to be in her nineties, all shriveled and tiny. "Please, please help me up." As I started to lift her she looked into my eyes and in an almost angelic voice said, "I'm as heavy as a sack of bricks!" Laughing I assured her she wasn't quite that heavy.
"We found her in the snow, she was dying." said the Sister. "In the snow?" "Yes, people call and let us know about certain ones dying outside, alone."
"Please help me," a voice etched with pain said behind me. A young woman in her early twenties was sitting on the side of her bed. She was dying of AIDS and was homeless. "Would you please put some cream on my legs, they hurt so badly." Reaching for the cream on the dresser beside her bed, I gently rubbed some on her legs. "Oh thank you, God bless you," she said. Her name was Rose.
"Hello, and welcome." Two bright and cheerful volunteers from France smiled and offered me their hands. "We go around the world volunteering for the poorest of the poor. There is nothing better on this earth to us than to offer a helping hand." I couldn't agree more, I thought.
At that moment a huge crash came from their kitchen. A woman named Jewel was throwing her food and dishes on the floor! She wanted something and no one had heard her calling—this was her way of making certain we came. If I had no one to even help me to the bathroom, I wondered what I would do. Having a family makes it all too easy to forget those who don't.
As I looked at the other young women in their beds, all certain to be dead within the next few months, I could feel Mother Teresa's presence. Her love and simplicity were everywhere. Mother never fought back in worldly ways, lawsuits, etc., for help for the poor. Her weapon was prayer. And her prayers were answered in remarkable ways.


Walking down the hill to the bus, with snow blowing in my face, hot tears ran down my freezing cheeks. I felt powerless to do anything but totally rely on God at that moment. Otherwise, I couldn't come back to this house in the morning. The suffering was too great inside those doors. Mother Teresa's deep love for the poorest of the poor is the only reason I went through them today.
"Can you paint?" asked the thin sister who opened the door the next morning. "Oh yeah," I said. "Would you be so kind as to paint some roses on the counter in the kitchen in the women's shelter?" God had seen my tears falling in the snow on the way home yesterday, I thought, and knew the way to my heart was to put paints and a brush in my hand! I had been given a special grace.
The two French volunteers were standing by the bedside of Shelly, weeping and praying. Shelly wasn't expected to make it through the night and these two strangers loved her more at that moment than even her own family could have. They were part of her heavenly family, of this I am certain.
When I arrived the following morning, walking down the stairs I felt a strange joy in the air. Rose was laid out in white with lit candles all around her bedside. At twenty-three years of age, Rose, a woman in our nation's capitol had died of AIDS, homeless. I glanced at her legs, the legs I had rubbed the cream on when I first got there. The Sisters' faces were filled with joy knowing Rose was home now, home with God and no longer in horrid pain. Rose not only had the pain of a disease which inflicts unimaginable suffering, but more importantly the pain of being homeless, with no one.
A man and woman came into the room and looking at Rose's body said, "We are her relatives." The man turned to Sister Emmanuel asking, "Did she have any money left from her welfare check?" I couldn't believe that would be their only concern. Their sister had just died and they wanted what little money she might have had. And then I knew. I was seeing stark poverty before my eyes. It rips through all known socially acceptable politeness. The poor don't have time for that. They have one thing on their mind, survival. Money affords us time. Time to mourn behind closed doors, time to heal and the ability to "present a happy face" in society. The poor only have time to think about the next meal, about finding someplace warm to sleep, and about making it to the morning light without being mugged or worse. For a moment I had forgotten Rose was homeless. And her brother and sister standing over her body loved her deeply in the way they could, and I knew Rose would have wanted them to have any money she had. She had fought a hideous illness that ripped her life from her at the age of 23. Yes, she would have given them everything she had. The torch they carried was now for three.
"Judy, Judy! It's Jacob." Turning around, I said, "Jacob, what are you doing here?" We had both volunteered together at Mother Teresa's Gift of Love House in San Francisco, which is also for the homeless with AIDS. Jacob had moved to Washington D.C. when he heard the Sisters needed help lifting the men, giving them baths, etc.
"I was really angry with the Catholic Church," Jacob told me once. "I had been very faithful to them for years but felt they weren't helping others as they should be. One day I saw a group of tiny nuns in the park outside of city hall feeding the homeless. I found out they were Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity Sisters and I've been volunteering with them ever since. That was ten years ago. And you know something? I don't have time to be angry at the Church anymore. Mother Teresa's unselfish giving to the poor opened my heart and offered me a way to be of service in my retirement years."
Jacob died recently of cancer. How many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and how many tears he dried in the early morning hours, as he sat patiently by one bed after another, will never be known. Nor will we ever know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the Sisters into trucks to take to the starving in the parks. If there is any work to be done in heaven, I know Jacob is there offering his strong arms and huge heart.
"Hello," said a very young woman in a wheelchair as I walked in the women's bedroom the next morning. "I'm Regina," she said, offering her hand to me. Regina was in her twenties and was also found dying in the snow by the Sisters. She has the mind of an eleven year old, has cerebral palsy, and AIDS. "I'm going into the hospital in the morning to be operated on," said Regina. "They are going to remove some of my toes that were frostbitten when I was in the snow." "I'll come visit you if you like," I told her. I took her huge grin for a "yes."
Regina was in bed in the charity ward of the hospital being prepared for surgery when I walked into her room. Her face glowed. "Oh, I'm so happy you came," she said. "Would you go get me some cigarettes?"
"This is John," said Regina when I came back, handing her the cigarettes. A well built young man sat by her bedside, also in a hospital gown. "I was shot by a gang member," John said to me. Regina teased him saying, "Oh, John, sure. Come on, you know you were out pulling a hold-up and some guard shot you." John adamantly shook his head. She threw back her head laughing.
"Regina, I brought some clay. Could I do a small bust of you while we talk?" I asked. "Sure," she said. I sculpted and listened while Regina explained how she ended up in the snow where the Sisters had found her. "I was very sick and went to the emergency room at the hospital. The nurses gave me some pills and sent me on my way. They didn't know I couldn't read and that I had no home and had been staying in a shelter in downtown D.C. that lets you sleep on the floor, since they don't have enough beds."
"So I was walking to the bus stop and felt really bad and sleepy. I sat down in the snow under a tree and when I woke up the Sisters were smiling at me and asked if they could help me to their house. 'We have a bed for you,' they said.And that's how I got to Mother Teresa's house, high on the hill." Giggling she added, "Would you go get me a Coke and candy bar, please?" I did and heard the doctors telling her as I walked back in her room, "We can either remove two or three toes. One might get better in time. It is up to you." "Oh, take them all now. I can't walk very good anyway because of my cerebral palsy." But instead of pitying herself, Regina beamed with an inner light, her radiance more pronounced as her outer situation grew more dim.
When I got to Mother Teresa's the next afternoon, there was Regina in her wheelchair with her feet bandaged, at the dining table with the elderly women surrounding her. Here was a young woman, half their age or more, in even worse condition than their own. Regina's sweetness and joy took their minds off themselves and their own intense suffering. God works in mysterious ways.
If I could offer a gift to everyone on earth, it would be to spend a day in any of Mother Teresa's houses for the homeless dying of AIDS. If heaven can actually be felt upon the face of the earth, it is here, in these rooms of Mother's, where the unwanted who seem thrown out of society have the great grace of dying in the arms of angels.

This article first appeared at TCRNews.com
To visit Bones of the Homeless, a site with photos and articles by Judy Jones, click here.



 

An Angel Appeared

by Judy Jones

While on my daily jog I stopped suddenly when I passed a yard sale with signs screaming in bold fluorescent yellow/limegreen letters ... "All proceeds of this sale go to the AIDS Foundation". I went up to the thin young man seated at the back edge of the well manicured lawn. Eddie was grinning, but his tightly clenched teeth revealed his anger. Blatantly I asked, "Do you have AIDS?"

"Yes," answered Eddie.
Thus began our one month whirlwind friendship. I, a stranger, ushered into the life of a dying young man at the most tested time of his rapidly advancing AIDS disease. He told me his family and lover had deserted him after learning of his disease. We talked for a few moments and I said, "I live around the corner. I feel certain we will meet again quite soon, Eddie." Little did I know it would take place the very next day.
As I was going to the neighborhood market the next day, in front of an outdoor florist shop was my new friend Eddie, once more with signs. This time he was picketing the flower shop. The signs said, "The owner of this flower shop stole two thousand dollars from me." A police car was parked across the street, and an officer inside the car was eyeballing Eddie, with a 2-way radio held to his mouth, monitoring his every move.
"What's going on Eddie?" I asked. Dying people are like young children who have not been taught how to lie. All pretenses fall away fast as death envelopes their souls. Eddie blurted out the owner had $2000.00 of his money, a down payment on a car Eddie wanted to buy from him. Eddie's bank wouldn't OK the rest of the money and the flower shop owner refused to refund his money, which he badly needed.
After listening to the whole story I once more said goodbye to Eddie and went home in haste. I immediately dashed off a letter to the owner of the flower shop explaining that if he did not return Eddie's money I would print an article in the newspaper telling all the details. I was a journalist for a local newspaper at the time. Within 24 hours, $1000.00 of the $2000.00 had been returned to Eddie.
The following day, I paid a visit to my new friend. AIDS was riveting through his thin frail young body like a hurricane. I suggested to him that we go to the beach with a tape recorder and record the story of his life. I would type and send it to the local AIDS Foundation newsletter to share with others. Eddie said fine. For the next six hours Eddie poured his 28-year-old soul's journey on earth into a mechanical tape player and my heart. I laughed and cried with him as we relived together every second of the important memories of his life.
The next morning I went to his apartment with some clay to do a sculpture of Eddie. He greeted me excitedly. He explained as I moulded him in clay that he had been evicted. He had lost his job due to his rapidly advancing AIDS. AIDS is a disease which leaves only destruction in its ruthless path. It cares not for a person's dignity. Neither did his landlords who wouldn't even listen to his plight. I got him boxes so he could pack and move immediately. Death was very near him, his short time on earth's shores almost through.
The following morning I found my friend huddled in the corner of the back alley behind his apartment with his belongings being tossed out right and left before my eyes. His landlords were still inside. They were literally throwing him out in the street. I gathered young Eddie in my arms and he cried. "I want to go back to San Francisco to my special AIDS ward. They love me and treat me like I am a human being, not like a piece of rotten meat to toss in an alley. They really love me. I just gotta die there, where I am loved."
Eddie's weakened body burned with fever and I cried as his hot tears warmed my cheeks. I had no car to drive him nor any money to fly him there. I began to pray.
Out of nowhere appeared an Angel. A total stranger, he was a dark handsome middle-aged man. Walking directly up to us he said, "What's wrong?"

"Eddie's dying of AIDS disease and has been evicted form his apartment," I said. He wants to go to San Francisco to die with people that love him. He has no way to get there."
The stranger looked at Eddie and said, "I'll take you there, let's go." He loaded Eddie's belongings in his van at a speed beyond mere human ability. I put my arms around Eddie, kissed his burning hot cheek and said, "Go with this stranger Eddie, he is God's Angel!"
I never saw Eddie again except in a painting he asked me to paint of him. "First," said Eddie defiantly, "I want to be staring straight at the viewer. Then I want my heart broken down the middle with jagged edges and barbed wire bound around the two broken pieces. And please write the word 'AIDS' on my chest above the broken heart."
"Yes, dear Eddie," I answered, "I will paint that painting."
May God shelter and comfort Eddie's soul thru eternity. We were heavenly attended to that day by an Angel who appeared from nowhere. Eddie, I, and the Angel will meet again.

This article first appeared at TCRNews.com
To visit Bones of the Homeless, a site with photos and articles by Judy Jones, click here.


 
Love In the City Today



By Judy Jones

Dear Jesus, help me to spread thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.—Blessed Mother Teresa, 1910-1997

Walking to the trolley in the dark, I am the only person on the street at this hour except for a couple of homeless people, one sleeping on a wet piece of cardboard (it's raining) and the other pushing his overloaded "grocery cart" home. Two police cars watch me closely, trying to figure out why I am out so early in the morning. There is a young person on the corner, in front of a liquor store, who might be a gang member. He looks about fifteen years old. He too is the object of intense scrutiny by the two patrol cars. I am on my way to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity's house for mass in this city.
As I go up the dark brick stairs to Mother's door, a deep serenity enters my soul. The sister opens it, greeting me with a huge smile, and silently motions me to come in. Entering the chapel, I leave behind family and country, and take on the family of God. I am home.
The young novitiates, all in white, praying on their knees, will shortly be sent out in the world to help the very people I saw this morning, the homeless and the orphaned youth who turn to gangs for a family, one offering a life of violence, but a family nonetheless.
I remember Mother's words, "The Missionaries of Charities are not social workers. We are vessels carrying Gods love to the poorest of the poor."
Their chapel is especially beautiful this morning with the Christmas tree still up, its twinkling lights flickering next to lit candles. Heavenly sounds echo thru Mother's house, as the sisters sing in harmony. The sun slowly rises, drenching the chapel in vibrant rainbow-colored hues as it pours through stained glass windows. The sincerity of their prayers opens my heart. I am so very grateful to be here.
Looking at the young sisters, on their knees, I think how their lives of sacrifice have only just begun. Living in one room together so that they may bond with the poor all over the world, laboring each day to offer a ray of hope to one person's life without any, I am confronted with the shallowness of my own "sacrifices." Giving out of abundance is easy according to Mother Teresa, and only when we give out of our nothingness do we know the true joy of giving. Hearing the words of their prayers; "All the old must dissipate," I think that one day there will be no more poor dying on the concrete streets. And the more we give, the quicker it will happen. Seeing the rapidly growing number of homeless dying on our streets, all over the world, my dream is that we will all become messengers of God's love to the homeless person before us.
After mass, watching the sisters file out in silence, I cannot help but notice the deep joy on each of their faces! Truly the poor they touch during their lives will be especially blessed as they live out their vocation of wholehearted service to the poorest of the poor, given freely. But if you ever want to know the difference between their "free" and your own, you must only look at their daily schedules, rising at 4 AM and going to bed at 9 PM (without coffee breaks at Starbucks), taking turns to pray all during the night while we sleep in our warm cozy beds, you may believe as I do, Mother Teresa's words, "I will make saints for the church" is coming true!
Walking to the trolley stop, song filled my heart! May I share with you the words?
"I want to be a Missionary of Charity
so I can lead the poorest of the poor
straight to heaven's doors
where they will suffer
no more"
This article first appeared at TCRNews.com
To visit Bones of the Homeless, a site with photos and articles by Judy Jones, click here.



BLOOD IS LIFE UNTIL ITS GIVEN, THEN IT'S LOVE"


by Judy Jones

Two people have changed the course of my life...One was working with Mother Teresa and the other was Father Clifford Norman who founded Santa Maria Orphanage in Mexico.

He houses over three hundred orphaned children mostly from the streets of Mexico City, takes care of twenty homeless elders and was starting a home for children dying of aids under eight years of age.

Father Clifford Norman gave his life so that the children would know without any doubt, they are loved by one person on this earth..

Father said he would open his front door and at least once a week, find the filthiest child you ever saw. Looking into Father's loving eyes, they knew, they finally had a Father.

The children come from the worst conditions, living on the streets of Mexico City but all that matters now is they are finally, loved by someone.

Father had dreams of building big schools for his children, wanting the best like any Father would but since God sent him the real 'scragglers' the most unwanted children on earth, by the time he fed, housed, clothed and hugged them nonstop, well, there were schools, but not quite the ones Father had dreams of.

The last time I went to see Father Clifford, two years ago at Christmas time, I knew I would never see him alive again.

I arrived on his doorstep unannounced as I have done since 1988 like all the other 'scragglers' God sends him.

When I left, my heart was opened once more to absolutely knowing on this earth there are people that care so much, they willingly die for that love.

Father took me in and immediately asked my heart's desires.

Well, I had just taken, buses, trains, planes and walked to get to him but instead of answering, "Food and a bed!" my soul spoke.

"I want to paint Father" I said. Within two hours Father had someone go buy me a canvas and I was painting. His failing health had opened his ability to give a trillion times since I had seen him last. This dear priest, dying, wanted to fulfill my heart's desires plus those of his 300 children and 20 homeless elders.

And I remembered. There are people that hear the cries of the homeless, the orphans, the forgotten elderly, the poorest of the poor and open their arms and hearts unconditionally to them in whatever way they feel God is asking.

My heart opened once more to hope, charity and love.

I started a newsletter because of his love...I cannot give things away fast enough to those that have not (and these are mostly the people that can't give because their hearts are closed) because of this special soul, Father Clifford Norman.

Because I live in a large city where people die on the concrete streets daily with people walking by, pretending not to notice, pretending they don't see them eating out of garbage cans, without the ' Father Normans' and 'Mother Teresas' it would be impossible for me to deal with what I see. My heart would break.

Father Clifford Norman and Mother Teresa of Calcutta India taught me that the saying on a T-shirt I was given after donating blood is true...It read:


"Blood is Life Until It's Given, then it's Love."

This article first appeared at TCRNews.com

To visit Bones of the Homeless, a site with photos and articles by Judy Jones, click here.


 

Father Clifford Norman
a letter by Judy Jones


The following letter was written to THT editor Mike Burch by Judy Jones after the article above had been submitted ...

I just had letter from Father Norman in Mexico ...
 
He cares for 300 orphans at Santa Maria orphanage in Mexico [and] over 30 abandoned elders,
and now from his deathbed is starting a shelter for Mexican women and children beaten sometimes to nearly to death by drunken husbands coming home from Saturday night outings.
 
And he also from his deathbed is starting a shelter for homeless children under eight years of age dying of AIDS.
 
Sometime I feel we get way off the road of heart into political things when really reaching out to the poor can be done anytime with no laws, no politicians ... just heart.
 
This ol' dying priest is keepin' mine open.
He loves so much.

 

Mother Antonia, Tijuana's 'Prison Angel'
a letter by Judy Jones

A letter from Judy Jones to Stephen Hand, editor of  TCRNews.com, regarding the article "Tijuana's Live-In 'Prison Angel'" by Mary Jordan of Washington Post Foreign Service, which you can read by clicking here.
Judy's letter ...
Stephen, I spent some time in the prison in Tijuana with Mother Antonio and spoke with her often on the phone when I moved to Berkeley. I would take the bus and trolley to Tijuana from San Diego, then another bus to the prison.
And today I found the article in TCR about her. God works in utter mystery.
I intuitively understood God placed me in her life to plant the seed about starting an order for older nuns to carry on her works after she dies. But she just wasn't ready to hear God's will in her life. She yelled at me, "You haven't anything to offer. No money, no car, you are forty!" I just let her yell because she was a clear mirror of me when I resist God's will, of all of us when we are afraid. This was in 1988 and now according to the article you published, she is working to get the order going and already has seven older nuns. She put me in a tiny cell with four women and wanted me to teach art. I had never been in a prison before in my life or since. The room was about as big as a closet and one woman had a tiny baby. It overwhelmed me. And I guess her yelling did push me away since it was no easy trip for me to even get to the prison. Took me more than five to six hours one way, and then depending on how long I had to stand outside the prison waiting for the guards to locate her, etc., it could take up to three more hours.
Maybe I will go see her again. I'll pray about it! Sometimes it appears I am just a catalyst in many different lives and it is usually when they are forming new things, especially the priests and nuns or when people are dying. I always think, "Great! God wants me to be here with this person forever, etc." But so far, God just moves me in and out of lives. I've learned not to get attached and accept it, kinda.
Mother Antonio's light is so bright, Stephen, you literally cannot look at her or get physically close to her. I've only seen one other soul with such supernatural light. And I have talked with others seeing who have experienced the same thing when near her. Her cell she lives in is no bigger than a box.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta started out at age 18 to live as a religious and nothing upset her or alarmed her. But Mother Antonio started much, much later in life after a marriage and children, which makes quite a difference.
The whole time I talked with Mother Antonio, her hands were fingering her rosary beads in her pocket. She never ceases to pray, even for a second. And she told me to just be a little pencil in God's hands."—Judy Jones (aka Joy)