Meet Martin Wani, an American Baby in a Sudanese Prison: Where is His #Hashtag?

by Larry Peterson

Meriam Ibrahim is a 26-year old doctor from Sudan. She married a Christian man, Daniel Wani,  in 2011 and they have an 18-month old child. His name is Martin.  Meriam is now eight months pregnant with their second child but she has a “little” problem.  She has been sentenced to death by hanging;  her crime—  “apostasy”. She must have forgotten that her long, lost father (who she had never seen after her sixth birthday) was a Muslim.  Therefore, she was not allowed, under Sharia law,  to marry a Christian man.  Once she did that  she was considered to have  rejected Islam and became an “apostate”.  That is a big “NO-NO” in Sharia world, especially if you are a woman.  If you are a wife, a mom, and almost due to give birth to another child, that is just too bad.  You are an “apostate” and must be destroyed.

 Meriam was dragged into court and told she must repent of her sins. She refused and was promptly sentenced to death by hanging (no lethal injections in Sudan).  Oh yeah, she was also sentenced to 100 lashes for committing “zena” which is Arabic for illegitimate sex. She committed this evil act with her husband who, being a Christian man, automatically morphed Meriam into an adulteress. Meriam was steadfast and again and again refused to repent.  She told the judge, “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.”  She may not hang because she will  have to  survive the l00 lashes that come first.  The sentence is to be carried out after her baby is born.

There is another piece of  Meriam’s story that for some reason seems to have been  ignored. Her husband is a South Sudanese Christian who became a naturalized American citizen in 2011.  His wife has been imprisoned for marrying him and  their 18-month old son  is in prison with her. Why? Because daddy  is a Christian and the child will NEVER be given over to an “infidel”.  Meriam and  Martin have been denied medical care and the father has been refused access to his own son.

By virtue of his father’s American citizenship, the child is also an American citizen. The father said that officials at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum have told him that he must prove he is the father with a DNA test before they try to help him. Are you KIDDING me?  An American citizen who happens to be a “toddler” less than two years old is being left to languish in a Sudanese prison with his mom while she awaits torture and death for being married to his father. And American officials tell the boy’s dad, “Prove he is your son.”  HUH!!!!!

We all have heard about the maniacal Islamist group called Boko Haram.  They are the ones who kidnapped the 300 young girls from their school and destroyed all the buildings. They are also the ones who a few weeks earlier had enclosed a schoolroom filled with young boys and burned them to death with “fire hoses”.  Fifty-nine bodies, some just a pile of ashes, were recovered.  Many were, besides being burned, also shot.  These stories of Christian persecution, torture and murder and the continued and ongoing Islamic attempt to annihilate Christianity are daily events around the world.  Christians face untold horrors in countries such as China, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and other places.

Meriam Ibrahim and her American baby son, Martin, are just an example of what individual people go through who follow Christ.  Martin Wani is less than two years old. He is an American citizen because of his dad’s naturalization.  Where is the outcry from the United States of America?  Where are the #Hashtags for Meriam and Martin. Since when does the USA allow their own little children to be incarcerated in  a foreign prison with his mom who is awaiting execution.  The war on Christianity and Christians continues. It seems that the government of the USA is helping it to succeed.  It is all so hard to believe.

Talk About a Love Story–meet Mary Clarke aka Mother Antonia Brenner

by Larry Peterson

Mary Clarke was born in Los Angeles on December 1, 1926. Her parents, Joe and Kathleen Clarke, were Irish immigrants and dad  strictly enforced  the catholic upbringing of Mary and his other two children. Joe sold office supplies to the military during World War II and made a lot of money. The family moved to Beverly Hills and hobnobbed with the Hollywood elite on a frequent basis. Life was good for the Clarke family but, no matter how successful Joe Clarke was, he always taught his children to help those less fortunate. The desire to help others was deeply imbedded in Mary Clarke and would one day explode

Mary married at a young age and had three children. The first died shortly after birth. That marriage ended in divorce and as  soon as the divorce was final she married again in Las Vegas. She had five more children from that marriage. That marriage also ended in divorce. Not exactly adhering to her Catholic upbringing, was she? But now the grace of God embraced Mary Clarke squeezing her so tightly that a love inside her burst forth and suddenly the most downtrodden and pathetic among us were about to witness up close and personally the Hand of God working through her. The diminutive woman, twice divorced and the mother of seven grown children, was about to move from Beverly Hills, CA into La Mesa Penitentiary in Tijuana, Mexico, home to some of the worst kinds of criminals on the planet.

As Mary’s children grew she became more and more involved in charity work. After the kids were grown Mary began making trips to La Mesa Penitentiary to deliver donations such as food, medicine and clothing to the prisoners. Every time she left, the plight of the prisoners filled her with a growing compassion that ultimately would define her. In 1977, after her kids had grown and her second divorce was final, she gave away her  expensive clothes and belongings, moved out of her home in Ventura and headed to La Mesa Prison. She had received permission to move in to La Mesa and was given a 10′ by 10′ cell to live in. She lived as any other inmate, sleeping in her concrete cell, having only cold water and prison food. The amenities in her room included a Crucifix on the wall and a prison bed.  In the morning she lined up for roll call with all the other prisoners. This became her new home and would be home for the next 30 years.

Mary was an older, divorced woman and according to  church rules could not join any religious order. Undeterred, she went about her work while forming a new order. She received permission to take private vows and donned a habit and became known as Sister Antonia. After a year or so the local bishop, Juan Jesus Posadas, of Tijuana and Bishop Leo Maher of San Diego, officially welcomed and blessed her ministry and made her an auxiliary Mercerdarian, an order that has a special devotion to prisoners. Now, at the age of 50, she had become a sister.

Sister Antonia walked freely among the drug traffickers, thieves, murderers, rapists and others, touching cheeks and offering prayers. Many of these people were among the most violent and desperate of men. Yet she happily walked with them and comforted and consoled them and held their heads when they were dying.

Mother Antonia
Mother Antonia Brenner

 Talk about a ‘love story’. She saw the face of Jesus in every prisoner and loved them all. She became know as the “prison angel” and many began calling her “Mama”. Mama Antonia Brenner, quelled brewing riots, broke up fights, touched cheeks, gave hugs and became loved by the worst of the worst.

Mother Antonia’a following began to grow and she named her community the Eudist Servants of the Eleventh Hour. St. John Eudes,  a very close friend of Vincent de Paul, was her inspiration. The ‘eleventh hour’ refers to the call to vocation of older women ages 45 and up. Today there are 22 sisters. Eight work in La Mesa and the others are dispersed throughout the United states    working mainly in prison ministries. Mother Antonia also has seven grown children and many grandchildren. The “Prison Angel” passed away on October 17, 2013. She was 86. For the full story about this amazing woman of God who might very well be canonized a saint one day go to