Michael Ross (aka Brother Dismas) came from the dregs and ended up hanging on the cross next to Jesus crying out, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."
THE CONNECTICUT POST reports ...
Ross, who killed eight young women in the 1980s, is scheduled to be buried privately today at the Benedictine Grange in Redding. According to Ross' writings and those knew him, the killer took vows as a Benedictine oblate on death row shortly after his execution was delayed Jan. 25. It was carried out May 13.
"His Catholicism was absolutely sincere," said Barry A. Butler of Fairfield, a public defender who used to represent Ross. As an oblate — a lay affiliate of the Roman Catholic Order of St. Benedict — Ross chose the name Brother Dismas. He explained the choice in a May 1 letter to friends. According to the Gospel of Luke, two thieves were crucified with Jesus. One challenged Jesus to use his power to save them; the other — by tradition the "good thief," St. Dismas — rebuked the other thief, and received Jesus' blessing. I have always had a fondness for St. Dismas, and, in fact, I have published articles under the pen name of Michael Dismas. So the choice of becoming Brother Michael Dismas was an obvious choice for me," Ross wrote.
The date of Ross' execution -- May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima -- is not insignificant. Father John Giuliani, one of Ross' spiritual advisers, had known the convicted murderer for 7 years and said Ross' conversion began shortly after his arrest when he began to pray the daily Rosary.
At Fatima, Lucia asked Our Lady if she would go to heaven. Our Lady answered, "Yes." Lucia inquired further, "And Jacinta and Francisco, too?" "Yes, they, too, will go to heaven," responded the Blessed Virgin, adding, "But Francisco will have to say many Rosaries."
Michael Ross prayed many Rosaries and underwent a profound conversion. Now we must pray for his soul so that he may be cleansed of every vestige of sin in the purgatorial flames of Divine Love. Let us pray also for the souls of his victims and for all those whose lives were in any way diminished or whose souls were in any way harmed by Ross' sinful past.
POSTSCRIPTFrom the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 982 ...
There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.