Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton died on this day, in this valley, in 1821.

The portrait was done when she was a young married woman, in New York City.


 She married at 19, had 5 children, and was widowed at 29.  A few years later, she converted to Catholicism and moved to Baltimore, where she founded the community of the Sisters of Charity, and the first  free Catholic school for girls staffed by sisters in the country.  Here's a poem I wrote about her a few years back:


Elizabeth’s Bible

Mercy was your favorite word.
How many times
underlined in psalm and margin
by your wondering hand.
Mercy -on your eye
tears,
the sea, and thanks.
Mercy – vows
in an underground chapel-
let us not forget
our communion
of tomorrow.
Mercy-
thinking sea voyages,
passages to heaven,
thinking
how children breathe
their first
earth.


1 comment:

Kathiesbirds said...

I like your poem, the progression of the lines, and the final lines. To me it has a double meaning of first becoming, and the finality of death, all in one line, for even as a child breathes its first earth, it is breathing in its ultimate end. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, and all of it covered in mercy.