“Seated Christ,” Vasily Polenov, 1887, WikiArt.

Morning walk into Irish glade, fern-lined
Path, nature-communing, sunlight tree
Streaming, Druid stone altar, Christian
Meeting place, wooden cross standing.
Nearby brook, lone wayfarer approached,
Cloaked as me, shepherd staff, stranger
To our clans, farmlands. “Sister, I have
Traveled far, rest I may in safety of open
Wood.” Facing sun, seated, back on sacred
Stones, cloak undone, long linen shirt he
Wore, old ship rope tied at waist, sea-going
Norseman I feared, prelude full-armed
Invasion, sword and shield.

Partial sun and shade, we sat in silence,
Awkward moments, spoke no words, until
He asked, “Sister, what bothers you so?”
Dark eyes in my direction apprising. At
First, resentment welled within. Who was
Nameless stranger, to pry, worries gnawing,
Heavy-weighing concerns? “I am in conflict
With the church, not my faith,” I replied,
Certain he could not discern difference,
Fathom angst, man-imposed limitations
On my apostolic ministry, tending daily,
Sick and hungry, those most in need.

“I am not conforming to church order,
To live cloistered life, matters in which
I have no decision, except prayers at
Druid sites, as I am here today.” Silence
Until he spoke, “Yet, two day’s voyage are
Female Norse warriors, sea-navigating
Shield-maidens. Druid priestesses, Celtic
Queens and princesses, ruling since darkest
Ages.” With calm-voiced authority, he
Added: “Know this, the church, if you will,
Began with Holy Mother Mary, blessed
Was fruit of her womb, Jesus Christ,
Such was beginning woman’s role. ”*

“Went into Hill Country,” Vasily Polenov, 1894, WikiArt.

“Who are you, stranger, that you know
Scripture?” Glimpses of his mind I saw,
Christianity emerging beyond beloved
Ireland, to northern shores. “Friend,”
He replied. In quiet we ate, bread, sips of
Wine, sunlit warmth overcame me, fought
Drugged sleep, betrayed by this attacker,
Norse warrior in disguise, voices greeting
In spectral light, “Muriel, you will know
What to say and do.” Alas! I awakened alone,
Evening setting sun, elixir or potent magic
Spell, new faith to continue my calling, to
This day, lone wayfarer remains mystery.

*Variation of Luke 1:42 (KJV)

Poem of Christian imagery, one may surmise who lone wayfarer may be,
though in writing, I found it equally compelling that Sister Muriel took
solace at Druid sacred places during times of soul-searching.
Thanks for reading.

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