Archives for posts with tag: Saints

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Gabriel
             Patron Saint of Postal Workers
by Marjorie Maddox

Behold, I bring you tidings
of new stamps, of short-haired
schnauzers with sharp teeth,
forecasts of sleet, extra city blocks,
rain the size of Dobermans to dog-and-cat down.
And you will All-Hail the hail of Hades,
snow will suction your Slim-Fast hips,
humidity will hug your lips
till you swallow its hunger.

But lo, I am with you alway
with good digestion and balance,
parkas equipped for the fickleness
of weather, light sweaters for global warming,
blessings against shin splints and blisters.
And you will have long memory
for zip codes, broad smiles for strangers,
birth announcements and love letters in your arms.
O, messenger of mercy and joy,
even unto the end
of your blessed earthly career.

Previously published in Christianity and Literature.

IMAGE: Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation by Fra Angelico.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Raised in the Protestant tradition, I grew up knowing very little about the Catholic saints. As I became more and more liturgical, I was both surprised and intrigued to learn there was a patron saint for just about everyone: hairdressers, pawn shop owners, funeral directors, baseball fans—the list seemed endless. Eventually my interest and research turned into a long series of poems, which became a section of my book Weeknights at the Cathedral .  “Gabriel: Patron Saint of Postal Workers” is part of that collection. Little did we know that “pandemics” would be added to “snow, sleet, and hail” as hurdles.

Marjorie Maddox 2019 author photo with TTT jpg copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite Press); four children’s and YA books—including  Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist Children’s Educational Category 2020 International Book Awards), A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry ; Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems; and I’m Feeling Blue, Too!, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor); and 600+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Her book Begin with a Question is forthcoming from Paraclete Press in 2021. Visit her at marjoriemaddox.com and on Twitter

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Sophia the Martyr
by Sofia Kioroglou

What a weighty name
I must live up to!
A martyr and a saint
a widow and a mother
back in Roman Times
just as dystopian as our era
when Faith, Hope and Love
are tortured and burned over an iron grating,
then thrown into a red-hot oven,
finally into a cauldron with boiling tar
before bending their necks beneath the sword.
A grievous torture indeed to watch
the suffering of your daughters.
How could anyone
so little and small
like me be worthy of that martyr’s crown?

IMAGE: Icon of St. Sophia (died AD 137) and daughters Faith, Hope, and Love.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The first time I learned about the meaning of my name was in primary school when we had a religion class. I got stunned and speechless and wanted to devour anything about the life and martyrdom of Saint Sophia and her three little daughters Hope, Faith and Love, who encapsulate the three Christian virtues. This poem is a tribute to the ordeal and suffering of a mother whose character is a paragon of virtue at least for me.

SOFIA PHOTO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sofia Kioroglou is a poet, writer and prolific blogger residing in Athens, Greece. She remembers herself born with a quill in her hand writing poems and painting beautiful pictures. Her recent work “Guns and bullets” is included in a poetry anthology on Amazon  and her recently published poem “Christmas on Hydra” which was published in the literary magazine Silver Birch Press has now been translated into Greek by Dimitrios Galanis, another reputable Greek poet. Last July, her poem “You won’t come” was singled out in the 4th Ceasar Dapontes Poetry Competition on the Greek island of Skopelos, having won a commendation award. Currently, she is all wrapped up in writing poetry for an anthology project and looking forward to enjoying life with her husband Peter while it lasts. You can meet her at her blog: sofiakioroglou.wordpress.com.

PHOTO: The author on Hydra last Christmas.


Patron Saints
by Mary McCarthy

Even though at six
I could do a Mary Heartline
perfect split, I knew
no TV star could trump
the power of the saints
whose names I wore,
their patronage like
a celestial umbrella
I could depend on
in any kind of rain.
Born on one of Mary’s holy days
I had to have her name,
and then my Grandma’s
given for the middle —
so I carried both
Mary the Mother
Queen of heaven,
and Catherine,
Scholar and martyr
with her book and wheel.
Saints’ names layered on me
like the winter clothes
mama layered on my small
body — sweater, coat,
and leggings,
until I cried in frustration
wrapped so thick
I could barely move
and certainly not run
wild at recess
with my less protected friends.
Like those hated leggings,
those names, those saints,
and their protection only
made me restless,
made me itch,
to get somewhere
beyond the reach
of my assigned position
under the weight
of expectations
buttoned up so tight
in holy names.

IMAGES: (Left) the author in first grade, age six; (right) Our Lady of Guadalupe by Jose antonio Robles. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Thinking about the personal significance in the names we might share with some public or eminent figure, I realized that it was the saints I was named for who held the most power in my imagination. As a young girl taught by nuns in Catholic schools, I knew far more about the saints and their stories than about any modern or historical “celebrities.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse, far from the literary and writing communities. She has had work published in many print and online journals, and was a Pushcart nominee, Although the daily news remains grim, she harbors great hopes for the future.

Andean-Good-Shepherd-070
PSALM 11.5
by Patrick T. Reardon

The LORD is mine.
I shall not want.

He maketh me.
He leadeth me.

He restoreth me.
He leadeth me.

Yea, though I walk,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with
thy rod and thy staff.

Thou preparest.
Thou anointest.
My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness
and I will dwell.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Is there a poem, maybe half-good, in half a great psalm?

IMAGE: “Andean Good Shepherd” by Father John Guiliani, an icon artist known for depicting God and the saints in the faces of Native American peoples. Father Giuliani states, “My intent in depicting Christian saints as Native Americans is to honor them and to acknowledge their original presence on this land.” For more about Father John Guiliani, visit hillstream.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is the author of the recently published Catholic and Starting Out, available from actapublications. Visit him at patricktreardon.com.

ImageGODSPEED

Story Poem by Jason Kerzinski

Mr. Porres, Mr. Porres, Mor. Porres. Is it okay to call you “Mister”? Or would you prefer Mr. Saint Porres? Have I offended the man who brought mouse, cat, bird, and dog together? That must have been a chore. How did you manage it? Did you tempt those creatures with lasagna? It must have been lasagna. Italian food can unite any group of folks. Lasagna and breadsticks. How stupid of me to leave out the breadsticks. Mouthwatering breadsticks with garlic butter. Did you serve wine? Again, I’m not thinking. Wine, lasagna, and breadsticks can unite a toad and a fox. Have you taken on that task, Mr. Porres? Pack your bags immediately and head for Grimes, Iowa. They have a large population of toads and foxes. I will rent a car for you this afternoon. I will rent you a Ford Taurus so you will remain inconspicuous. Good luck, Mr. Saint Martin de Porres, and Godspeed.

Note: “Godspeed” by Jason Kerzinski was originally published in the New Orleans Review, Volume 33, Number 2.