National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  March 19, 2004


The Womb
It wasn’t easy, you know, saving this womb for you,
Keeping it empty for you to decide its planting:
the when and the where, to say nothing of the what.
But I did it, all these years I did it.
Now I am almost old and I am withering, womb and all,
thinking this will be it, there will be no planting,
and you -- you come with your Gospel seed to my withered womb.
I have no choice, really, after all this time.
Do you need a desert? I am sand.
A manger? I am straw.
A cross?
A cross?
You need a cross?
I should have known. From the
beginning, I should have known.
-- Sr. B. DeRouen, OCarm
Lafayette, La.

Monasteries are like labyrinths,
Once you get in, you can’t get out
Round and round you go, exercising
myths and rituals
Daily, monthly, seasonally, annually,
Lasting a lifetime
As one prepares for timeless eternity,
The labyrinth to end and mend all paths,
ways and roads not taken.

-- Br. Benedict Janecko, OSB
Latrobe, Pa.

Helpless Love

Hopkins writes:
the heart rears wings.
I know this to be true

This I also know:
the heart rears arms.

And in our prayerful
helpless love
for those who are hurting
We wrap our heart’s arms
around them

Sometimes this is all we can do.

-- Linda Zralek
Nashville, Tenn.

National Catholic Reporter, March 19, 2004

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