Thursday, April 9, 2015

"You Shine Forth Like The Dawn Jean," by Mary Sue Barnett, ARCWP, Poem in honor of Courageus MissionaryJean Donovan, RIP

Jean Donovan, missionary and martyr, worked with the poor in El Salvador. Jean and 3 nuns  Ita Ford, Maura Clark, and Dorothy Kazel were raped and murdered by National Guardsmen.  

"You Shine Forth Like The Dawn, Jean "

In those two hours in the chapel

was it the Good Shepherd you felt, Jean?

Divine Tenderness holding, calming your trembling self?



Was it the dimness of the chapel you welcomed, Jean? 

while a wind from God swept over the face of your soul? 
Was it perfect Love that you craved, Jean?
a Love finer than gold,
sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb?



Was it the cries of the orphans in the strange, undemanding silence, 
Jean? that moved your heart into its deep, unprecedented silence?
Was it your solidarity with Dorothy, Ita and Maura, Jean?
that pressed you like Ruth to Naomi on the road to Bethlehem?



Did you see in the stained glass, Jean? a hint of the highest heavens?
Did you see in the candlelight, Jean?
yourself, alone with Wisdom, compassing the vault of heaven? 
Did you feel in the stillness, Jean? 
the comfort of Wisdom traversing the abyss of violence?



Sitting, in your own skin, Jean?
were you becoming entwined with the one who claims, “I am the true vine?”
Hearing the heartbeat in your chest, Jean?
were you emboldened by Romero’s Christic plea, “I beseech you, I beg you, I command you, Stop the Repression?”

What held you, Jean?

In those two hours in the chapel,

Knowing that in El Salvador Lazarus would not walk out of the grave
 What held you, Jean?
In those two hours in the chapel
Knowing that in El Salvador the hemorrhaging woman would keep bleeding 
What held you, Jean?


In those two hours in the chapel
Knowing that in El Salvador you yourself would not walk out of the grave 
What held you?


Who held you?

What light did you see?

What door did you walk through?

Did Sophia pass into your holy soul, Jean? and make you prophet of the Holy?





When you walked out of the chapel, Jean You were a different woman

on earth and in heaven.


Holy are you

In Glory are we. Together.


I, Holy Wisdom, abide, Jean,

in the territory of your heart~~a holy tent.


I, Holy Wisdom, dwell, Jean,

in the chalice of your soul~~a resting place.


We grow tall like a cedar, Jean and dwell in the chapel eternal

where little ones possess the honeycomb.


With babes on our lap, you shine forth like the dawn , 
Jean for all prophets not yet born.

Hungry orphans no more.


Mary Sue Barnett, Spring 2011



Jean Donovan
was a lay missionary with the Maryknoll Sisters, She worked with poor communities in El Salvador during the bloody civil war. Her life was in grave danger. She came back to the States and while here agonized over whether to go back. Friends observed that after two hours in a chapel she was at peace with returning to El Salvador

Two weeks before she was murdered, she wrote to a friend in Connecticut: "Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could except for the children, the poor bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart would be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and helplessness. Not mine, dear friend, not mine."

No comments: