Mother Antonia
Biography & Resources


In the late 1970s, Mary Clarke, now called Mother Antonia, left her life as a wealthy divorced mother of seven in Beverly Hills to live and work in one of Mexico's most notorious prisons, La Mesa State Penitentiary in Tijuana, historically one of Latin America's most violent prisons. Through her work, she became Mother Antonia. Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan have written about her story in a book called The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia's Journey From Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail.

As an older, divorced woman, Mother Antonia was banned by church rules from joining any religious order, so she went about her work on her own. She founded an order for those in her situation: the Servants of the Eleventh Hour. The church has since blessed her mission. In the 1970s she moved to La Mesa to give the rest of her life to serving the inmates at La Mesa. When asked by guards and prisoners why she is there, she answers, "For the love of God and for the love of you all!" She began by tending to prisoners' immediate physical needs, but quickly moved beyond this to tackle the root of the problem: the Mexican justice system. She continues to this day to minister to prisoners, prison guards, and their families.

selected books

The Prison Angel : Mother Antonia's Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail
by Mary Jordan & Kevin Sullivan (Penguin Press HC, 2005)
Buy at Amazon

articles & interviews

Articles & interviews in EnlightenNext magazine

Sacrifice Is the Language of Love