Black cloth

Red broth, steaming soup, vegetables

just picked, now my lunch; I slurp life in.

Phone rings

Sister Laura on the line, “Sister Rita is dying.

I’ll put the phone to her ear. Say what you’d

like. She

can’t talk, won’t respond. Say your good-bye.”

A pause. My lungs expand, mind races, I search

my heart

for words just-right. I mutter, “Thank you,”

“I love you,” “Pray for me,” “Enjoy freedom,”

“Good bye.”

She moans acceptance. The words echo—

feel blank, all seems hollow—


Red broth, steaming soup, life once fresh

now my lunch; hot liquid tasted,


Minutes later I hem black cloth for prayer,

black cloth for teens needing gifts from God—

life long.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

Dedicated to Sister Rita Rathburn, FSPA, who was a sister, friend, and coach for me in the craft of writing. She died on Monday. May she rest in peace. 

content within

in Christ there is:

a Kingdom Come            a sunset soaring

in Christ ALL is

there, here





like a garden perpetually growing

in Christ we are home
like how a bold blanket           can hold our creases and quiet our senses

so we are open to the the hushed silent presence of Love emerging,

desire burning, fire warming

in us

in Him

praise Christ!

seven days of salvation

strangers grip palms, bond at bus stops

grins by glory, pilgrims unite

onward, hosannas and hellos true

buzz on the street: whisper, plot, might

centuries of destruction and war ring doom

age the days of tension, hoping

who can save us from our plight?

bright spring moon, free, feasting

friends wash feet; bread, wine multiply

garden ghosts stir; children play, pray

crowds of citizens chant, cheer “crucify”

believe deceive, turn Love a bloody way

nails, thorns, swords and thirst all killing

three men suspend on wood beams die

friends, followers help Love, crying

into tombs of time, sabbath, vigil, praying

God’s goodness shakes ground, surprise

into churches, candlelight, stories, singing

Jesus has come back! He Lives! Arise!



by Sister Sarah Hennessey

i believe
in a place (or time)
where God’s love flows free

i believe
our reason on earth is
to let God’s love
flow like hot lava
rushing through our crusts

i believe in Christ
as light and fire
inside my ribcage

i believe
in creation’s perfect song
already complete
and still unfolding

i believe
God longs to touch us

i believe
in the circumference
of justice

i believe
time and history
are the bones of God’s love
and we are the flesh

i believe
in you

i believe
that now
in this place
are the only way
i can touch
the heart of God


Photo credit:

at 30

A triple feast day proclaims the goodness of God:

a servant to the poor, Basil

a chapel for Franciscans devoted to Mary, the mother of God

and a combination of dreams and awe.

I pause with amazement and praise.

Abundance gathered in a year now proclaimed:

infants in arms

being a mother, Godmother I mean

stars, falling across black expanse

new brown clothes

bread, water, wine

sharing with students

something like success

dark, communion, monks, saints

adoration, candles, flowers, prayer

good novels

expanded consciousness and self-understanding

messy Jesus business

claiming an identity

laughter with community

fires, songs, secrets

music, mystery, tears

quinoa salad

truth told

adventures in bliss, boats

the best wedding ever

union with God

new friends in

old friends out

powerful poetry

a preaching debut

earth between fingers, toes

seeds planted, weeds grow

thunder, blizzards, heat, fog

floods, tornadoes, waterspout

tall trees, simple ferns

scrapes, bruises, blood

stones gathered on shores

city views

fine dining

movie theaters

simplicity sought

yoga, stretching, aching

dancing out loud

for justice and peace

a cluttered colorful room

questions, transitions

adulthood has officially arrived

all that has been

prepared me deeply

for more fine, spirited, sacred

good gospel living

"water into wonder" by Julia Walsh, FSPA


Poems For Corpus Christi

My Daily Bread

Will I grow old alone,
a pitied spinster, the dried-up
Can we grow young,
Like the seaside,
when your first
Kiss taught me justice?
was never much
of an option.
A slow
steady courtship
has made me yours
a thousand times.
My wine-soaked heart
My lungs as
Daily bread
My sweet
My love
My Jesus


can I slip my fingers through yours
one last time, don’t stop,
my Lover has me
all the time
blessed, broken
and shared
my heart
and your

Easter Eucharist

Chocolate Chip Cookie

frosted fresh cookie crumbs
coat the painted tile ground
icons of mysteries shatter
the ugly fear shame sorrow pain
that did eat the inside of my broken bruised beaten

in my hands
warm gooey dough
still hot baked beauty blessed

together we eat
as the feast
meets my cells
and taste buds dance
eyes closed
I see
Love looking at me seeing Himself
me loving as I gaze back
and know my Love
in the Love
that set me

Glory Be!


Spring-time tree

the lacy trees
caress the breeze
like solemn faces
staring into eternity
hoping to see, understand
what is happening

across the gray cloud cover
a sudden clear message:
time to, must stop
cheering, chattering, sobbing
over life lost and mission done

stand together
lean into the new
Easter leaves and remember
to be
family listening
through the cracked concrete
made from ancient pillars

look back into
the trees
with ears turned out
to dignity and songs
of freedom
for all, each, no matter

the forest beckons


Photo credit:

a children’s story

We rise with sleep in our eyes.  We dance on the broken ground. We run to town to tell the news.  In the grave? Not there, no more!

Somehow and someway, life has won. Easter morning has arrived. Hooray!

Satan sees that God’s Truth teases.  Freedom lives. Love is power.  Peace redeems.  “Ha, take that!”  We sing.

Nature blooms.  Buds burst.  Dogs bark.  Angels laugh.  We snuggle and sigh with relief.

Let us celebrate!  Let us feast with community! Let us love!

We pray. We are changed.  So we may really begin.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen!

Happy Easter, blessed Messy Jesus Business readers and believers!