When Catherine Lawes’ husband, Lewis, became the warden on Sing Sing prison in 1921, she was a young mother of three daughters. Everybody warned her never to step foot inside the walls. But she didn’t listen to them. When the first prison basketball game was held, in she went, three girls in tow, and took a seat in the bleachers with the inmates.
When she heard that one convicted murderer was blind, she taught him Braille so he could read. Upon learning of inmates who were hearing impaired, she studied sign language so they could communicate. For sixteen years Catherine Lawes softened the hard hearts of the men of Sing Sing.
The prisoners knew something was wrong when Lewis Lawes didn’t report to work. Quickly the word spread that Catherine had been killed in a car accident. The following day as the acting warden took his early morning walk, he noticed a large gathering at the main gate. Every prisoner pressed against the fence. Eyes awash with tears. Faces solemn. No one spoke or moved.
The warden made a remarkable decision. “All right, men, you can go. Just be sure to check in tonight.” These were America’s hardest criminals. But the warden unlocked the gate for them, and they walked without escort or guard to the home of Catherine Lawes to pay their last respects. And to a man, each one returned.
Real love changes people.
Didn’t God’s love change you? Weren’t you, like the prisoner, blind? You couldn’t see beyond the grave. You couldn’t see your purpose in life until he showed you. And you couldn’t hear either. You’d never heard of such love and kindness, and you never would have heard of it, but God spoke in your language. And, most of all, he set you
free. You are free! Free to run away. Free to harden your heart. But you don’t. Or if you do, you come back. Why?
Because you’ve never been loved like this before.
From From A Love Worth Giving
by Max Lucado