Telling inmates’ inside stories

Stuart Laidlaw, Toronto Star: Even after 27 years working with prisoners to help them find peace through meditation, and countless interviews and speaking engagements to explain the importance of her work, Toronto-based Catholic nun Elaine MacInnes says it’s the letters from the inmates themselves that tell the story best.

And tonight, renowned British actor Jeremy Irons will read some of those letters to an audience at the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts as part of his ongoing effort to raise money and awareness for MacInnes’ program.

“The line between being in jail and not being in jail is very thin – and very easy to fall across,” Irons says in an interview.

MacInnes’s work, which has taken her into dozens of Canadian jails, is based on a very successful program she ran for years in Britain, where she visited some of that country’s most notorious jails.

“When people ask me about hardened prisoners, I say I haven’t met one yet,” MacInnes, a Zen roshi, or master, who has been teaching meditation and yoga to prisoners since 1980…

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