Cry of the Phoenix is a story of devastating loss and unforeseen accomplishment. In this first-hand account, Colleen O’Connor tells her own story, of a life beset by almost insurmountable challenges and of the strength she found to overcome them.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, to an embittered family, Colleen was married by the age of fifteen to a young Navy recruit. Within five years, despite her protests—and without just cause—Colleen’s three children had been apprehended by the court and taken from her.
Cry of the Phoenix tells of Colleen’s self-doubts, her embattled marriage, and her attempt to reunite with her children. At the heart of this story lies an unsuspected secret; its discovery makes reconciliation between Colleen and her family an impossibility.
This story recounts Colleen’s struggle to raise a family, her meeting and friendship with the Premier of British Columbia, and her instatement as a criminal court Justice of the Peace.
“Here I am a Justice,” she says. “I could be as easily standing on the other side of my bench, one of the people I see every weekend . . . I could have been a prostitute or a drug addict quite easily, but here I am sitting in a court room, trying to do my best to help people.”
Colleen O’Connor has managed not only survive but to enrich her life and benefit the life of others. Along the way, it has been the song—the cry—of the phoenix which has given Colleen the will to rise from the ashes of defeat. When all else fails, it has been the phoenix she has counted on to give her strength and hope.