Life Breaks Through

The following is a reflection given by Sister Jean Anne Zappa, OSU, at the Mass on June 10, 2021 in the Motherhouse chapel to celebrate the lives of Sisters Lorraine Maginot, Isabel Lehmenkuler, Jane Stuckenborg, Bernadine Nash and Jamesetta Defelice, who all passed away during May and June, 2020.

My great nephew Zachary was born in February during Covid and a snowstorm. Life broke through. When he came home to meet his brother and sister, he was crying, as all newborns do. His 4-year-old sister, Claire knelt down and said to him, “Don’t worry Zachery, it is going to be okay. You are home now with your mommy and daddy and big brother and big sister.”

As I reflected on today’s readings and this Memorial Mass for Sisters Lorraine, Isabel, Jane Bernadine and Jamesetta, Claire’s comforting words to her little brother came back to me.

We know the storms that Job had to endure as he struggled to try to understand his relationship with God during his trials. How does one come to know God when there is silence? In Job’s journey, he comes to terms with the awesome mystery of God and proclaims, “I know that my redeemer lives.” An act of hope; life breaks through. He hears God say, I am with you, it is ok.

In Romans, Paul wrote this letter as a basis for Christian hope, a recognition of the love of God made manifest in Christ Jesus. God is on your side; no trouble of life could make the Christian forget the love of Christ. The question is always, “Where is God? The conclusion is always the same. God’s plan is clear. God is always faithful, on our side.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God—nothing, not Covid, shutdown, isolation, distancing or masks or the fact that five of our sisters died and, we could not be with them in their burial. We know they did not die alone; we know and believe our faithful God was right there with each one of them. Life broke through.

 In our loss, we were united, struggling to find meaning and yet strong in our faith for nothing ever will separate us from the love of God. We have the assurance that God welcomed Lorraine, Isabel Jane, Bernadine and Jamesetta. God welcomed them and said, “It is going to be ok—you are home, right here with your loving God.”

In the gospel, Jesus invites and welcomes, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, for in God’s house are many dwellings,” and we know we are all welcomed. John’s gospel was written to maintain belief during troubled times, reminding us of wherever we are, God is with us. We are always in God’s home now or when our earthly life has changed.

 “I am the way, truth and life.” The “I am” statement connects with the Old Testament proclamation of “I am who am,” translated as “I am for you.” Jesus reminds us, “I am for you,” reaching out to us individually and communally in an intimate way.  We are in the company of our God right here, right now.  And even though we could not be with or celebrate the lives of our Sisters when they died last year, we are assured they were and are in the company of our God and the love of Christ.

From “Life’s Lessons Learned” I read, “When we lose someone we love, we must learn not to live without them, but we must live with the love they left behind.” And we are assured that Lorraine, Isabel, Jane, Bernadine and Jamesetta left love behind because they were faithful to their Ursuline life and faithful to their loving God. And God says, “It’s ok, you are home now with me, for nothing can separate you from me.” Life breaks through.

We Walk By Faith And Not By Sight

The following is a reflection given by Sister Janet M. Peterworth, OSU at Saint William Church in Louisville on Sunday, June 13, 2021.

I live in the Chatsworth Apartments just off Frankfort Avenue and Ewing in Louisville. Frequently, as I am waiting for traffic lights to change, I see men and women who are partially sighted or completely blind walking along Frankfort Avenue, or crossing that street, using either a white cane or holding onto a harness that is attached to a Golden Retriever. And I marvel at the confidence and trust that these partially sighted or blind women and men have in a cane or a dog. It must take remarkable courage. It must take remarkable faith in their guides. Truly, they walk by faith and not by sight.

As I have gotten older and have read more and have had more of life’s experiences and perhaps have gotten more cynical, I have come to appreciate the wisdom and value of that phrase from Paul to the Corinthians: “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” Now, I hear it as an admonition, ”Janet, walk by faith and not by sight!”

As I have tried to understand the great mysteries that we have all just lived through in this liturgical year—A resurrected dead person? A body being taken up into a cloud as people watched? A Spirit coming upon human beings in flames and winds, and then those same people being understood by all present in their own native tongue? A God that is three yet one? Simple bread and wine being a real body and blood of someone who said, “Do this in memory of me” centuries ago? A church that was once a tiny mustard seed, but is now a huge bush full of strange and different kinds of birds?? And I must say to myself and to anyone who will listen to me, “I must walk by faith because I am too blind, too dense, too stubborn to grasp it all in my sight. It is all—all about faith for me.

And faith means I do not understand and that I do not need to even try to understand. And that reminds me of a story —whether legend or fact I do not know—but it is a story of the famous St. Augustine, that Bishop of Hippo, who for better or for worse influenced the theology of our Church for a long time. The story goes that one day Augustine was walking along the beach, and he was trying to understand the mystery of the Trinity. He was deep in thought and frustrated because he could not unravel this idea of God. As he walked, he noticed a young boy running back and forth from the ocean’s edge with a pail full of water and emptying the water into a hole that the boy had dug in the sand. Augustine watched as the boy did this over and over. Finally, Augustine said, “Lad, what are you doing with the water you are getting from the ocean?” The boy looked at Augustine with some disdain and said, “Well, I am emptying the ocean onto this hole.” Augustine said, “Son, you cannot do that. It is just not possible.” Then the young boy looked at Augustine and said, “Then neither can you, Augustine, understand the Trinity.” And the boy vanished.

We walk by faith and not by sight.

Over the last 30 or so years, I have been a farmer of sorts. However, unlike the farmer in today’s parable, I do not scatter seed. No, I plant the seeds exactly as it says on the package. If the package says six inches apart, then six inches apart the seeds will be. But scattered or deliberately planted, the outcome is the same. Just like the farmer, I go to bed and get up and go to bed and get up and you know what? The seeds sprout! First a little bit…and then more and more and then there are peas or beans or onions…and I don’t know how that happens.

Do you remember “The Color Purple”—either the book or the movie? As Whoopie Goldberg is walking through a field of purple flowers, her character, Celie, asks the question about purple flowers, “How it do that? How it get that way?” I find I ask that same question every harvest season. “How do those seeds do that? How do they get that way?”

And then when I read today’s Gospel passage, I ask “How can one man, named Jesus, take a kingdom and turn it upside down into a kin-dom and have so many strange and different birds like you and me live in the branches. Well, I guess I just must just walk by faith and not by sight. How about you? Are you with me in the walk?

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Mk 4:26-34

Waste A Little Time

The following is the reflection written by Sister Sue Scharfenberger, OSU, for the funeral Mass of Sister Raymunda Orth, OSU.

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

The wisdom of The Little Prince opens for us an understanding of time. And of relationships.

The scripture today tells us there is time for everything. But neither the scripture nor the Little Prince is talking about “chronos,” the chronological time. No, what we are hearing is “kairos,” that “aha” moment when we know we are connecting, we are with the other. And the Other is with us.

With chronos there is never enough time. And who among us does not carry a calendar so that we can get everything done in “the time that we have.” And how often do we hear or say, “There is no time for ______________ .” fill in the blanks.

With kairos, there is always an abundance of time. It is the time you have “wasted” for your rose that makes your rose so important. Kairos is not measured by the clock, but by the quality of our relationships.

Jesus was good at wasting time. On the hillside with 5,000. In the home of Martha and Mary. On the road to Emmaus. Wasting time was what Jesus did well, and in every piece of bread shared, in every Word broken open, in every step taken, there were more roses that became important.

It is always interesting to me to discover the readings that someone chooses for their departure ceremony. There are clues into the person’s life, their hopes and dreams, their beliefs, and the purpose of their life’s journey.

I was a young student at St. Raphael’s when I took piano lessons from Sister Raymunda. We were given a half hour once a week to slip out of class and go over to the convent for the music lesson. It was a special time. Not earth-shaking. No award-winning performances. But I knew it was my time. Somehow, even as a young girl I knew that Sister Raymunda was “wasting time” with me.

And much later in my life, when I was 18, and when I felt pretty sure that I wanted to explore an Ursuline vocation, I went looking for Sister Raymunda who was then at St. Elizabeth’s. She “took the time,” even into what was then night silence for the Sisters, and she listened.

Over the years there were gaps in our connecting. At one time, she let me know that she never chose “music,” but she loved playing the organ for community liturgies especially in Marian Home. She never chose special education, but she loved working with people with special needs at Pitt Academy.

She credited Sister Regina Marie Bevelacqua’s inspiration and example in that ministry and recalled her influence at Regina Marie’s vigil.

And even beyond her oficial ministries, Sister Raymunda took the time with those who needed to feel like a special rose.

Sister Raymunda was so sure of her relationship with God that, as Isaiah says, “You are precious to me and I love you,” that she wanted everyone else to feel the same. So, she set out to do that in her own quiet, attentive, and grateful way.

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

As we remember Sister Raymunda, let us renew our commitment to take time, to waste time, to do as the gospel says, “Do for others what you want, need,  hope for them to do for you.”

Waste a little time. And watch the roses bloom.

Wind and Fire

By Ginny Schaeffer, Director of the Angela Merici Center for Spirituality

Pentecost – What a fantastical story! There’s a mighty, rushing wind that is localized in one building in Jerusalem where tongues of fire just happen to hover over the heads of those “praying and waiting” in one room of that building. Jews from sixteen countries miraculously hear the story of God’s wonderous works and revelation through Jesus Christ in their mother tongues, spoken by a ragtag, mostly illiterate, group of men and women from the little backwater territory of Galilee.

“What’s going on?” they ask.

Not much, just the risen Christ fulfilling a promise to send the Holy Spirit to comfort, counsel and deepen the knowledge and wisdom he had revealed to his apprentices while he was with them. This Spirit, the very breath of God, does so much more. She enlivens and energizes, to the point that some of the people who witnessed the events of the original Pentecost laughed it off, accusing the first followers of being “drunk on cheap wine.”

This is the same Spirit that “brooded like a bird above the watery abyss” (Genesis 1:2) before the Creator spoke and brought it all into order and form. It is the same breath of life with which God animated Adam and Eve. It is the same life force that drove Jesus into the wilderness and then back again to proclaim the good news that God’s ultimate reality is right here, right now if we only have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

Just as the breath of God enlivened Adam and Eve, this same Spirit came rushing in as a mighty wind and tongues of fire to bring to life a new body, the body of Christ. We are that body of Christ who continues to fulfill the mission of Jesus: to proclaim the good news to the poor of every ilk, to release those chained by oppression and compulsions of every kind, to give sight to those who have eyes but do not see and to heal those “burdened and battered by life.” (Luke 4: 18-19)

Like Christmas and Easter, Pentecost is not a one-time event, but continues in us today. As we remember and celebrate that first Pentecost, let us pray with the body of Christ:

Come, Holy Spirit,

fill the hearts of Your faithful

and kindle in them the fire of your love.

V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.

R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Feast of the Ascension

By Sister Janet Peterworth, OSU

“Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking up to the sky?”

Here they are again! These two men dressed in white asking obvious questions. We first met them in the tomb in Luke’s account of the resurrection. Their question? “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” The question implies that the followers of Jesus are looking in the wrong place. But really it is a natural place to look for the man they thought they left for dead. And then these “men in white” go on to give specific directions to those who have come to the tomb. Go spread the message about the risen Christ. Go, tell people I am alive.

In today’s Gospel, we hear those men in white ask. “Why are you standing here looking up to the sky?” Well, I think that is a natural thing for the disciples to do…after all, Jesus has just disappeared from them in some sort of cloud and they were trying to make some sense of what was going on. I think I would have been right there with them looking up to the sky. This time the question from the “men in white” seems also to imply that the disciples were looking in the wrong place. Or maybe in the wrong direction.

However, both questions are questions that are meant to move to action. At the time of the Resurrection, the “men in white” told the disciples what to do specifically. Today, there are no specific directions given by the “men in white,” but Jesus Himself gave the directions this time. Don’t’ stand here looking up but go and start looking around. I am sending you to Judea and Samaria and even the ends of the earth. You heard my messengers. Don’t stand here looking up at the sky—start looking around.

Look around you for creatures everywhere who need to hear the word of God. Look around you for people who need healing—spiritual and emotional healing—as well as physical healing. Look around you for people who need to learn how to cope with what life is giving them. Look around for those who do not believe and tell them the good news of my message, love God and then your neighbor as yourself. Look around you to meet the daily needs of the hungry, the thirsty, those who mourn, those who are in prison.

That was a big order for the disciples, and it is a big order for each of us. The good news is that Jesus did not expect His followers to go to the end of the earth alone. Paul tells us He said, “You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit. In a few days you will be baptized in the Spirit.”

We, too, can rely on the Holy Spirit. We, too, can rely on grace being given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. So, I guess we better get started…we better get started looking around. Jesus is no longer physically present on this earth…the Spirit is about to come. So, “Hey, you don’t sit here looking up to the sky, (or staring at this screen) get started looking around.”

Reflection from the border

The following is a reflection from Ursuline Sisters Yuli Oncihuay, Kathy Neely: Louisville and Carol Reamer: Toledo, Ohio, from their month-long mission in El Paso, Texas with the Casa del Refugiado of Annunciation House.

The pilgrims!

Three of us Ursuline Sisters (Yuli Oncihuay, Kathy Neely: Louisville and Carol Reamer: Toledo, Ohio) traveled together on April 29th to begin volunteering in the Casa del Refugiado of Annunciation House (founded in 1978) in El Paso, Texas. https://annunciationhouse.org/

These two paintings are on the walls of the house.              

After living and working together in Peru for many years, feeling supported and accompanied by the people of Peru, we felt that we wanted to offer that same welcome and support to our sisters and brothers coming to our borders here in the United States. Megan, a young coordinator volunteer giving a year of her life to help the refugees of Annunciation House, brought us from the airport and got us settled in our rooms. La Casa del Refugiado is housed in a large warehouse, divided into dormitories, dining areas, storage rooms and offices. The fourteen of us volunteers heard her orientation on the first day. Also, the staff (and the volunteers who were leaving) gave us helpful hints regarding our different tasks—most of the times, our refugee families are brought here by volunteers driving the La Casa bus.

Our tasks include greeting our guests, helping them with their documents, dispensing the articles they need (blanket rolls with sheets and towels, personal items) and taking our guests to the dormitory and showers. Fortunately, the Salvation Army supplies the three meals each day, which we help to serve. The guest families help with the cleaning of the dining room after every meal. On the first day of their arrival, we connect with their sponsor families who purchase the bus or plane tickets to their destinations, usually within a day or two after their arrival. Our refugee guests come from several countries: Cuba, Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica and others.

Left: Sisters Yuli, Kathy and Carol Right: Sister Yuli and another volunteer

One of our activities included preparing a small gift (paper hearts, a prayer and candy) for all the mothers for Mothers’ Day. Each mother also received a rose from one of the young male volunteers who also works in a floral shop.

Each volunteer has one day off a week. On our day off of the first week, two Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who have an apartment in El Paso and who work in a shelter for refugee families in Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Sisters Antonia (Mexican) and Sister Maureen (American) gave us a wonderful tour of El Paso which included looking out to see three areas at once: to our left: Chihuahua Mexico, the Rio Grande or El Rio Bravo, El Paso in the middle and  to our right: New Mexico. We saw this beauty as the sun was setting over the Franklin Mountains.

Left: Sisters Antonia, Maureen, Carol, Kathy and Yuli Right: Sunset over Franklin Mountains

This morning in the intercessions of the booklet Give Us This Day (daily prayers for today’s Catholic), “Give joy to those who minister in homeless shelters, through charitable agencies, and on the streets” spoke loudly, as we are finishing a week and a half of our service here. The three of us have heard stories from families of their horrific journey, the pain of separations for months, and the hardships they have endured, but we have also heard the joy of the children as they are playing. We have seen the smiles of the mothers and fathers, and this is our joy, to be able to do our small part to help our sisters and brothers feel welcome in our home.

An Earth Day Confession

She holds life within her
She breathes, she sings, she cries
Yet I use her and step on her
As if she were already dead.

Forgive me, God, for moving so far away from Earth
For eating food from packages
Drinking water from cans
Consuming and discarding too much
And giving back too little.

Forgive me, God, for forgetting that I am a guest in her house
For not cleaning up after myself
Not minding the sacrifice of her life for mine
Not even noticing the burden
I have laid upon her.

Forgive me, God, for not seeing You in Earth’s abundance
For disregarding families of animals and plants
Tending only to what is useful to me
Not recognizing them as neighbors and friends
Of every person on earth.

I promise to do better
To love Mother Earth as she has loved me
May I seek the wisdom of Francis and Clare
As I work to restore our common home.

—Lisa Steiner, April 2021

The Women at the Cross

By Sister Janet M. Peterworth, OSU

Three Marys: Crucifixion by Dawn Williams Boyd
Used with permission.
https://www.dawnwilliamsboyd.com/

They did not think it was going to end this way. The women did not dream they would be standing at the foot of a cross. But death is women’s work. Blood is women’s mark. While the other Evangelists mention women at a distance, it is John alone who notes that the women known as Mary, Jesus’ mother; her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas; and Mary from Magdala were standing near the cross, perhaps under the cross. And they were courageous, and they stood there because perfect love casts out fear.

Women are not afraid of death. In many cultures and down through the ages, it is women who prepare bodies for the grave and women who wash and clean the bodies and wrap them for burial processions. And more recently, it is sometimes women who accompany death row inmates to their final chamber.

Women are not afraid of blood either, for it is the flow of blood that turns a little girl into a young woman and it is the stopping of that flow of blood that turns a mature woman into a wisdom-filled crone. Women give birth in blood and water and thereafter stop bloody noses and tend to bloody knees and elbows.   

The women near that cross were not afraid to look upon the bloodied head of Jesus nor the blood that spurted from the hands and feet when spikes were hammered through them. These women did not turn away or swoon when blood and water came from the pierced side of Jesus. Women stood under that cross and from then on women understood that cross.

They didn’t think it was going to end this way, but it had to. Jesus died this way because of the way he lived. Jesus lived a life of love and service and devotion especially to those who were on the margins…a woman who wanted only the scraps from the table, a woman who believed enough that she just needed to touch his hem, a little girl who was dead but then stood up and ate, a woman who had had five husbands, and a shunned woman who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Those women knew Jesus as compassionate friend, liberator from burdens, consoling friend in sorrows, and ally of women’s strivings.

The blessing that women find in their relationship with Jesus today is no longer just private and spiritual—it is moving them into public and social domains and it inspires in them the struggle for freedom from structures of domination in every dimension of life. It is women’s relationship to Jesus that gives them courage to call the Church and society to conversion of hearts, minds, and structures that can reflect the reign of God through Jesus.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. These women were not supposed to be standing under a cross, but thanks be to God, Good Friday did end this way, so that some women could find an empty tomb on Easter Sunday and go tell the men, “He is risen, He is not here.”

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, 
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop 
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

John 19:25-30

The Black Madonna

By Lisa Steiner, Associate and Social Concerns Liaison


Black Madonna by Katherine Skaggs, used with permission.
www.katherineskaggs.com

Today I pray to the Black Madonna, the mother of all creation. I pray that she will care for all the children of Earth, especially those who look like her. I pray that she can rescue our brothers and sisters who struggle against racism all over the world. And I pray especially that she will empower all mothers to love fiercely and live courageously as she did.

It is this Mary that moves me at this time in my life, not the European depictions of Mary from my upbringing. The Black Madonna offers me a pathway to a God who is in solidarity with the entire human family. This Lent especially, I have needed her intercession so that I can face some difficult truths. Who better than a Black Madonna to understand our troubles? She experienced the anguish of seeing Christ, her own child, humiliated and executed at the hands of the self-righteous. This image of Mary assures me that all people who experience persecution and lose loved ones because of injustice are not alone. The Queen of Heaven accompanies them with every struggle and offers them swift comfort.

For several years I have been getting to know the Black Madonna. Ever since meeting her in Sue Monk Kidd’s 2008 novel, The Secret Life of Bees, I have searched her out and communed with her. I have visited her at the summit of Montserrat, Spain, and closer to home at an exhibit of nativity scenes at University of Dayton. I have found ways to incorporate her meaning into the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows (sometimes called the Chaplet or Servite Rosary). Most of all I have sought ways to connect with our loving God through the Black Madonna’s sacred, feminine power. She consoles me and strengthens me.

Prayer to Black Madonna
O Mother of the darkness
Of the deep rich soil
That brings forth new growth:
Bless all your children
Struggling for new ways
Of being community for each other.O Mother of the darkness
Of the infinite night sky
That graces us with endless stars:
Bless all your children
Looking for hope and light
To pierce the present shadows.O Mother of the darkness
Of the creative womb
That nurtures brilliant possibilities:Bless all your children
Seeking wisdom yet to be experienced
On paths still opening before us.O Mother of the darkness,
Black Madonna, Madre Negra,
Czarna Matka, who calls everyone
In the human community “My child”:
Bless us all and bring us all
Gift and grace as we reach out
For each other’s hands. Amen.
—Jane Deren, Ph.D
Copyright 2018, Education for Justice, a project of Center of Concern  

Our Lady of Chains

By Lisa Steiner, Associate and Social Concerns Liaison

Thank you to Nic Phillips for the use of his artwork. Please see link
below for his new book, Breaking Chains:
www.avaloniabooks.com/product-page/breaking-chains

On this International Day of Remembrance of Victims of the Slave Trade, I reflect on the Black Madonna in Sue Monk Kidd’s novel, The Secret Life of Bees. Every country must confront its sins, and the dehumanizing injustice of slavery is at the top of the list for most, not just as a shameful history but as a current reality. There can be no healing – no freedom to move forward – until we are willing to come together to remember, reconcile and rebuild. The harsh truth of slavery is seen in its victims and survivors, who have suffered for generations and who will continue to suffer if we remain passive and apathetic.

The Black Madonna in The Secret Life of Bees is called Our Lady of Chains. This figure was the masthead of an old ship that was found on the shores of a southern plantation. The slave master wrapped chains around her to entrap her and teach the slaves a lesson, yet the story is that she miraculously escaped.

In the novel, Our Lady of Chains was described as a hopeful icon for the Black slaves. She broke the chains of bondage and was a symbol of freedom. “Our Lady filled their hearts with fearlessness and whispered to them plans of escape,” the author writes. (p. 110) Importantly, they saw themselves in her: “When they looked at her, it occurred them for the first time in their lives that what’s divine could come in dark skin…everybody needs a God who looks like them.” (p.141)

Today I stand in solidarity with people who have been enslaved or are currently enslaved as trafficked persons. Millions of our brothers and sisters wear slavery’s scars, yet often we cannot see their reality – in fact, we cannot see them. How much longer will it take for power to kneel, willingly, and confess the truth?

Prayer to Black Madonna
O Mother of the darkness
Of the deep rich soil
That brings forth new growth:
Bless all your children
Struggling for new ways
Of being community for each other.

O Mother of the darkness
Of the infinite night sky
That graces us with endless stars:
Bless all your children
Looking for hope and light
To pierce the present shadows.

O Mother of the darkness
Of the creative womb
That nurtures brilliant possibilities:

Bless all your children
Seeking wisdom yet to be experienced
On paths still opening before us.

O Mother of the darkness,
Black Madonna, Madre Negra,
Czarna Matka, who calls everyone
In the human community “My child”:
Bless us all and bring us all
Gift and grace as we reach out
For each other’s hands. Amen.

—Jane Deren, Ph.D
Copyright 2018, Education for Justice, a project of Center of Concern