On Friday night, my religious community shares the joy of celebrating the lives of such witnesses, our Sisters marking 25, 50, 60, 70, 75, 80 and 85 years of faithful, merciful service. I list their names with two poems I used while praying for them this morning. Please join us in grateful prayer for these dear Sisters today.
Mary Paula Cancienne
Marie Bernadette Kinniry
Louise Marie Luby
Barbara Ann Newton
Miriam Theresa Lavelle
Margaret Kelly (RIP last week)
Mary Rita Robinson
Mary Berenice Eltz
Poem 1: The Neophyte by Alice Meynelle
( This poem was given to me decades ago by one of our old Sisters. The poem describes how, at first profession, the young novice – in faith – gives ALL her years to God, even before she lives through them.)
Who knows what days I answer for to-day?
Giving the bud I give the flower. I bow
This yet unfaded and a faded brow;
Bending these knees and feeble knees, I pray.
Thoughts yet unripe in me I bend one way
Give one repose to pain I know not now,
One check to joy that comes, I guess not how.
I dedicate my fields when Spring is grey.
O rash! (I smile) to pledge my hidden wheat.
I fold to-day at altars far apart
Hands trembling with what toils? In their retreat
I seal my love to-be, my folded art.
I light the tapers at my head and feet,
And lay the crucifix on this silent heart.
Poem 2: Silver by Jeannette Encinias
( This beautiful poem makes me think about what God would say to our dear sisters as they are blessed to age into God’s Love over decade upon decade.)
“How many years of beauty do I have left?
she asks me.
How many more do you want?
Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.
When you are 80 years old
and your beauty rises in ways
your cells cannot even imagine now
and your wild bones grow luminous and
ripe, having carried the weight
of a passionate life.
When your hair is aflame
and you have decades of
learning and leaving and loving
the corners of your eyes
and the children come
to find their own history
in your face.
When you know what it feels like to fail
and have gained the
to rise and rise and rise again.
When you can make your tea
on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon
and still have a song in your heart
Queen owl wings beating
beneath the cotton of your sweater.
Because your beauty began there
beneath the sweater and the skin,
This is when I will take you
into my arms and coo
YOU BRAVE AND GLORIOUS THING
you’ve come so far.
I see you.
Your beauty is breathtaking.”
Song: My Tribute – To God Be the Glory