Sense of Life. Articles in English. Fifteen Years Mandatory Sentence.
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Fifteen Years Mandatory Sentence

I am currently an inmate serving time with the Florida Department of Corrections. While attending Holy Mass recently, I received an old issue of Love One Another Magazine from Sister Kathy. I have read the personal testimonies in the magazine. The issue is about five year’s old, so I am praying that the magazine is still in circulation and that this letter will find its way to the right place.

I enjoyed the articles very much and thank you for publishing the magazine in English. I thought I should write and share my testimony with your readers and others who read these letters.

Born in Newburgh, N.Y., I was raised a Catholic by my parents and moved to Florida at the age of nine. From that time on, I did not attend Holy Mass until I arrived here at Liberty Correction Institute in Bristol, Florida. I am now twenty-nine years old and serving a sentence of fifteen mandatory years. I have thirteen years left to serve and am tempted each day while inside these walls.

I am here because of “drugs.” In addition to messing up my own life by doing them, I have messed up the lives of many people who truly care for me. The drugs led to robbery and the robbery led to “fifteen years mandatory sentence.” But the greatest thing is that the “fifteen years mandatory sentence” have led me back to God. I was lost, but now am found!

I still struggle with daily reminders of the person I used to be, but that is all right, because now I know who I want to be. I attend Mass every Sunday and pray my rosary each night so as to become the person I want to be. I have a lot to work on, but with God on my side, who can stop me?

I can easily obtain drugs in my current surroundings, but with God’s help I choose to say “no” to drugs and alcohol. I have other bad habits to overcome. I really struggle with cursing and “dipping” (tobacco). I pray I will able to overcome both of these habits. Please pray for me as I pray for you.

I want your readers to know that, no matter what they are going through, Jesus will help them get through it. My little brother died on July 16, 2008. He was only nineteen years old; and I could not even go to his funeral! If you are on any kind of drugs, get off them, because they are not worth the loss of your family or your freedom. Nor is any drug in this world worth the loss of heaven. Seek the kingdom of God, and everything else will fall into place. You cannot do it alone. All is done with God and through God. I found out the hard way, but at least I found out. Do not wait for tomorrow, when today is already here. God loves you and wants to help you. All you have to do is ask. He wants to help you through all your problems and troubles. So do not be afraid to ask for His help.

I am content being inside these walls, because when I arrived here, God was waiting for me. He is inside your home, in your car, in your place of employment. He is everywhere, waiting for you to come to Him. So stop now and ask Jesus to take the wheel of your life. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior and then sit back and watch your life become transformed before your eyes. Go to Mass and Holy Communion. Pray your rosary and live first of all for God. That is what He wants you to do. You will surely be blessed. God bless you and your readers.

Richard Cowan

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in June 2016.

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