Excerpt: 'Prison Angel'

"People say what I'm doing is such a great sacrifice, but it is not," she says, now feeling a little stronger. "I don't think of it as sacrifice. It's only a sacrifice when you do something you don't want to."

Mother Antonia has not come to this point easily. She speaks about her divorces with obvious pain, and she remembers late nights of doubting herself sitting alone after her kids were asleep, and wondering what lay ahead for her and for them. She knows she made lots of mistakes. She married too young the first time, too impulsively the second.

"It hasn't always been easy for her," says her oldest daughter, Kathleen, a family and marriage counselor in San Diego. "She went through so many trials, but they made her who she is. Her empathy and compassion have grown so much through her own suffering. She has struggled to get to this happiness."

From "The Prison Angel" by Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, Copyright May 2005, The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group, USA, used by permission.

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