Compass

i’d like a compass

with you at the north

and my sisters in the west

 

i’ll keep it in my pocket

and take it out for direction

when i can’t remember

the skin i’m in or

the rhythm of my own song

 

to the south are the mountains,

pink rhododendrons and sweet tea

 

and east

east is where the sun rises

and the Christ-light

finds me always

on the way home

 

 

sun-Mississippi
Sun on the Mississippi, by Sarah Hennessey, FSPA

 

 

 

About the Rabble Rouser:

Sister-Sarah-Hennessey-cake-face

Sister Sarah Hennessy is a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She grew up in North Carolina as an active Quaker and became a Catholic in 2000. For her, Jesus’ messy business includes falling in love with Christ AND with the People of God! Her heart is on fire for the Hispanic community, poetry, playing guitar and accompanying people through birth, death and the living that comes in between. She currently ministers as the perpetual adoration coordinator at St. Rose Convent, as a Mary of the Angels Chapel tour guide, and a volunteer at Franciscan Hospitality House.

fill the ocean with your blue remembering

come ye

the hushed, unhonored

and unheard

gather at the shores of all that matters

let the wet wide wisdom

receive your whispers

as waves who keep stirring and shaping

come

 

Shore with wave crashing
Photo by Sister Julia Walsh

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

come ye

whose voices hold Truth and crack

whose signs are creased

and chants are tired

occupiers refugees

homeless hungry

thirsty

come

poor

come

 

like stones sinking

slip your messages through

the prison bars

send your prophets to

the city halls

rest your rhetoric

upon the altars of

“alleluia for the elected can set us free”

 

come to the shores

beaches, restored

fill the ocean with your blue remembering

pour in your tough times and tears

sing funeral chants to the tune of here-we-go-again

come

 

beach scene
Photo by Sister Julia Walsh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shower us

tell us what common good totally means

paint colorful scenes of Life really protected respected

wash us

you who are unheard

your narratives know

you can tell us all how to grow

we need you

please purify the politicians

leave out no litanies

come

 

renew us

your telling can baptize new beginnings and blessings

your music can truly connect us

your dancing is a mixing of crashing compassion

your symphonies of today and tomorrow

can really

cleanse us

come ye

come

 

 

messy wonder

piles to file

thicker than the bed

of rest

the to-do list,

too long

can’t know

what to bless

desk deep

big mess

anxiety eats

at the sleep

dreams, concerns

for Christ’s kingdom

make one weep

distracted from NOW:

so stop, breathe, be

praise God

run wild

into wonder

and ride renewal

to joy.

ugly body

orange over me

upon still solemn sidewalk

silent under black

My breathing quickens.

the truth is too tight:

innocent men are confined

tortured to death

human-inflected trauma

in the name of national security

The cells of my eyes water what my heart holds.

my love, Jesus, tortured by thorns, nails, cross

laments stab while questions weigh on a helpless body

centuries later the crowds still scream crucify

My bones grind and stiffness sets into sore feet and knees.

prayers are uttered into Mary’s ear, as she knows

secrets of torture techniques told

“feels like drowning two hundred times.”

“hanging by wrists for hours, no sleep.”

“humiliation.”

“dogs.”

“darkness.”

“orders.”

My body shudders with shame.

trying to yell NO the over-used too old sign bares challenge:

let it close, it needs to end.

sorrow looks through cloth pores

there, no dignity

here,  fashions rush by wasting fast food, texting into cellular phones

ignoring the pain of the ugly orange body

I don’t understand.

Yesterday,  June 23,  I vigiled with a few other members of Witness Against Torture  on a sidewalk at a busy intersection in Chicago.   I wore an orange jumpsuit and a black hood like the men who are imprisoned at Guantanamo.  (I am the second person from the left in the photo above.)  I stood as a reminder of what tax dollars still pay for.  While I prayed in solidarity for all who suffer because of torture, others answered questions.  And, at the same time, 15 protesters were arrested in Washington DC for disrupting the discussion on the defense bill in the House of Representatives. Today, the day after I had the intense experience of wearing that ugly outfit, Guantanamo is still open. I will never be the same because of what I felt inside that hood.  My prayer and work for justice has deepened.

May God bless all our bodies. Amen.