Witness: Kathy Kelly, Voice in the
We sit in the quiet room, mirrored in
twenty-foot ceilings, velvet walls embossed and
polished rare wood floor, marble staircase
spiraling from the
long enclosed entryway off Central
complete with iron portcullis,
to hear Kathy Kelly,
tiny Chicago-Irish sprite. This little
flower she calls
herself, looking as if shell tell us of the
first grade class
she teaches. She tells instead her journey to
Iraq, Haiti, the ravaged wounds of the world.
Could I have
worried if the corn would grow,
having planted it, as she had, bright
in the poison soil around the missile silo
and have sat praying
while the Jeep came, and the handcuffs?
Could I have asked
the boy soldier, his army rifle
pointed at my head, Do you think it will
Could I have heard without hate
his abashed, I sure hope so,
Could I have camped as she did, on the border of
have befriended the young Iraqi men who dug into
awaiting the U.S. Army? Could I have come home
the Iraqi bus come to move the witnesses, the Iraqi
approach the first witness, kiss his forehead, and order
soldiers to lift him gently by his elbows into the bus?
Could I have sat
like her on the steps of the U.N. fasting
for 20 days, have rejoiced that
one policeman whispered:
All Ive had today is iced tea, to join
When she finishes, I walk out into Fifth Avenue
startled that we are in New York.
I wonder, can I go on as I have, teaching
correcting freshman essays? What are commas to all this,
long struggle for grace in language,
or even the students bright faces
What are these, what am I, as this tiny woman
witnesses to the violence and willful ignorance
killing this Earth and her
-- Sr. Doretta Cornell, RDC
Things I Dread
Do not judge, in order not to be judged.
Let me count the things I dread.
To glue back that
idol I smashed.
The shadow wolves are not a mirage.
Climbing the North
face of Everest.
The dragon at the gate does not die.
edge of the blanket,
they will see my unwashed feet.
God has a
Before the end the road just stops,
Mississippi becomes Sahara,
the sun falls into the Atlantic,
and, most of
all, I fail at dying.
But all these I can really manage,
one damn bother.
But the ultimate terror: I will be measured
measure I measured out.
-- Fr. Kilian McDonnell, OSB
We Alternate in Prayer Group
carrying home the candle,
tall at our
Each keeper trims the edges,
softens the wax encircling
sooty center. We are careful,
chip pieces in neat arcs.
The candle burns
without the rippled wall
flooding its core. Such
diminish height, spread fire
like passion of the
Christ increasing more.
-- Stella Nesanovich
Banks Farm Road
Lake Charles, La.
Careful, my eyes sweep left and right
as I intrude
down this old road
which deer crisscross morning and
They come fearlessly as to Lauds or Vespers,
natures holy pattern.
I streak through a verdant
down a silver sheen of macadam,
in the grey morning mist
I work at the parish in town.
and shadow seep and sway,
vying, as things of beauty,
artwork of stained glass
Gods hand is
My children drive this road and are
hymns are soul, rock, pop, hip-
God dwells in all. Genuflection
foreign to them,
but, bent knees or not, there is
What radio station do I choose?
I choose the sacred silence of
in this holy quiet,
I am embraced.
-- Jeannie Bennett Fleming
A wisp of sunlight proves
A restless grove, asks
Some fragile boughs can hold
The burdens of the world?
to raise a point
Though unwilling to praise
A less demanding
Trees hum a song of hope.
-- Fr. Conrado Beloso
Golden, British Columbia
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National Catholic Reporter, March 15,