Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Anthroposophical Prison Outreach in Canada

Dear Members and Friends,

As the spring of 2012 unfolds, the joy of growth will soon accompany the effort of many souls as the “Anthroposophical Prison Outreach in Canada” (A.P.O.) establishes its foundation and development here in Canada. This is an individual initiative that recognizes itself as standing separate from the Anthroposophical Society in Canada. This initiative has worked with the Council of the Society as it has been developing in the last year and has received support and encouragement from them.

A separate funding base was initiated by Monica Gold through ISIS Cultural Outreach International and has helped to fund a separate Post Office Box (see below for address) for this initiative.

As anthroposophists we know that this regenerated path of wisdom is a need for our time, for as individuals, strengthened by experiencing the wisdom of anthroposophy, we can co-create for ourselves an opportunity to share this spiritual journey with incarcerated individuals who seek for growth. With a dedicated office, complete with lending library, and through careful placement of written anthroposophical literature, an interrelationship can develop with individuals who, having prescribed time on their hands, may yearn to learn of this cherished gift, anthroposophy.

With the many challenges placed before us, we need to call upon the support of the anthroposophical community across Canada. At this point, the fledgling Anthroposophical Prison Outreach Program will work with the prison system at the federal level, for the sake of simplicity and also to keep start-up costs to a minimum. The federal prison system is called Corrections Service of Canada, and is presently divided into five regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie, and Pacific. Each region has its own levels of maximum, medium, minimum, and multi-level security ratings for each institution within its jurisdiction. For example, there are thirteen prisons in Quebec and twelve in Ontario and nine in British Columbia with one of the above mentioned security ratings.

As we tackle this task of starting up this initiative, we are finding much inspiration in the United States, APO program, which has served thousands of individuals since its inception. We are grateful for the assistance/advice we are receiving from our U.S. neighbors, in particular, Kathy Serafin. Some of the feedback from incarcerated individuals in the U.S. is truly moving. For example, one individual from OK. writes: “I’m grateful that there are people who are actually interested in rehabilitating what’s causing the criminal behavior, not to suggest that it can all be fixed by reading a book, but for those searching for the ‘inner light’, it’s just what the doctor ordered.”

Fred Janny is one of the founding members of the Anthroposophical Prison Outreach Program through the Anthroposophical Society in America. In the late 1980’s based on Rudolf Steiner’s so called “six basic exercises”, Fred Janny developed a pamphlet “Self Development in the Penitentiary” for individuals incarcerated in the Michigan state Prison system. In 1997 development continued, with the help of the Anthroposophical Society in America with Jean Yeager and Eileen Bristol in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In Fred Janny’s warm, heartful words, “Spiritual forces aid us in forming and strengthen the bridge that connects all people with their highest intentions.”

Fred Janny is coming to Canada to give a talk about his experience with Prison Outreach, on June 15th. 2012, at Hesperus Fellowship Community. (Details to follow).

As Steiner has said, it is only the privilege of our education and upbringing that has made the difference between those of us who abide by the law, and those of us who transgress it: “The second condition is that the student should feel himself coordinated as a link in the whole of life. Much is included in the fulfillment of this condition, but each can only fulfill it in his own manner. … Such an attitude of mind, for instance, alters the way I regard a criminal. I suspend my judgment and say to myself: “I am, like him, only a human being. Through favorable circumstances I received an education, which perhaps alone saved me from a similar fate.” I may then also come to the conclusion that this human brother of mine would have become different man had my teachers taken the same pains with him they took with me. I shall reflect on the fact that something was given to me which was withheld from him, that I enjoy my fortune precisely because it was denied him. And then I shall naturally come to think of myself as a link in the whole of humanity and a sharer in the responsibility for everything occurs.”

Rudolf Steiner from How to Know Higher Worlds, Ch. 5.

There is great opportunity for us to share this gift with our fellow Canadians. If you would like to help we have the need for anthroposophical books for the lending library. Any and all donated books are welcomed, but we need in particular a good supply of the foundational/basic books, including Philosophy of Freedom (Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path), Occult Science, How to Know Higher Worlds, Theosophy, Study of Man, and The Fifth Gospel.

If you would like to donate: All Donations are tax-deductible. Please make cheques payable to ISIS CULTURAL OUTREACH INTL. Also please state: prison outreach. With sincere thanks!

Anthroposophical Prison Outreach in Canada

P.O. Box 61512, 9350 Yonge St.

Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

L4C 0C9

For further information please contact:

William Caldwell, ph# 905-659-4404 or e-mail:

Arie van Ameringen email:

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