Tag: prayer

Mother’s prayer book miscellanea

Wednesday, 14 June, 2017 0 Comments

My mother’s many prayer books are interleaved with an encyclopaedic variety of scribbled notes, novenas, supplications, cards, clippings and, of course, prayers. For example, there’s a “Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ”, an unused picture-postcard titled “Threshing in Ireland” and a faded newspaper cutting with the headline “Mother M. Solanus, Waterbury Native, Dies in Utica, N.Y.” Then, out of the blue, there’s this small item that contains all the components of a heart-breaking novel.

Mother's prayer book


The Sorrowful Mystery

Sunday, 6 March, 2016 3 Comments

Six months have come and gone since 6 September and the pain, the loss, the grief is undiminished. Everything changed when that great force of nature and nurture known as “Mother” left us. It’s been a sorrowful time.

Sorrowful are the Mysteries of the Rosary, one of my mother’s favourite prayer rituals. From the perspective of a young boy, the nightly incantation of the Rosary was a chore but there were moments when the boredom cracked and something intriguing broke through the beads. Strange words tumbled out between the ‘Glory Be’ and the ‘Hail Mary’ and so was born a love of language.

The Rosary Vocabulary

“To thee do we send up our sighs.”

In the beginning was alliteration: several sad sighs sent since

“Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.”

The geography of suffering was mapped out early. Young travellers would have to learn how to weep.

“So that by her fervent intercession we may be delivered from present evils.”

If there is going to be intercession, then let it be fervent. Who needs timidity when faced with present evils?

Eternal gratitude to you, Mother, for the love and the love of language.

Mammy praying on the road to Knock


The fourteenth Station: Legacy

Monday, 7 December, 2015 0 Comments

The happy news: These “stations,” these posts, will appear in book form in time for the 6 September anniversary next year. In this way, part of my mother’s great legacy will be preserved and published. She’d like that.

Mammy in Bally

As we stand at this final station in the life of Kit Fitz, as she was known by so many of those who admired and respected her, we give thanks for the privilege it was to have shared her company for so long. Her boundless energy and thirst for knowledge ensured that every moment in her presence was theatrical, informative and challenging. The Latin phrase, ora et labora (pray and work), which is rooted in Christian mysticism, was the engine of her life. She knew that time is fleeting and in her doing and her being she encouraged everyone to make good use of the precious hours we’re allotted. Despite the constant urging to strive and to save for “the rainy day”, she abhorred the pathetic existence of the workaholic. There had to be time as well for play. The cards, the games, the music and, above all, the prayers, were important because they helped anchor a person in the world.

We miss the constant expressions of wisdom and we regret not documenting more, but we are determined to share and safeguard this priceless legacy.


The twelfth Station: Pain

Saturday, 5 December, 2015 0 Comments

There’s a difference between pain and pains, and it’s not just between singular and plural. My mother rarely spoke about pain, but she was an authority on pains. Or, as she called them, “the pains.”

The great hands

These “pains” were the result of life-long physical labour in spring, summer, autumn and winter in all kinds of weather. From childhood, she had fed calves, milked cows, cleaned outhouses, planted potatoes, saved hay, washed clothes, baked bread, plucked turkeys, made puddings, polished floors, painted doors, cleaned churns, planted shrubs, lit fires, cooked dinners, cut hedges, picked berries, darned socks, knit cardigan and trimmed hair. And that’s the shortened version of the list. The result was rheumatism, arthritis and a bad back but this was the price she was willing to pay so that so that others would benefit from her work and compassion.

As regards pain, she dealt with it by praying. Hail, holy Queen was one of her favourites because it offered comfort: “Mother of mercy, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.” It’s not romantic; it’s unsentimental, just like pain.

Our next station in this series of meditations on 14 photographs is Love.


Mother o’ Mine

Tuesday, 28 January, 2014 0 Comments

This poem/prayer by Rudyard Kipling is dedicated to the Rainy Day mother who is recuperating currently.

Mother o’ Mine

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

Rudyard Kipling (1865 — 1936)

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me,” said Abraham Lincoln. “They have clung to me all my life.” It’s the same here.


“Non si può seguire Gesù da soli”

Sunday, 1 July, 2012

Who knows what this pilgrim at the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in mid-June was praying for? Health, perhaps. Better weather, possibly. An Italian victory in Euro 2012? Tonight, in Kiev, Italy play Spain in the final of the championship and for the Italian coach, Cesare Prandelli, the tournament has been a triumph of faith. […]

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The persecution of Fazil Say

Saturday, 9 June, 2012

The internationally acclaimed Turkish classical pianist Fazil Say is to stand trial on charges of insulting Muslim religious values in comments posted on Twitter. If convicted, he could face a minimum of 18 months in prison. Say quoted a verse by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam that ridiculed the hypocrisy of people who pretend […]

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