“Dolorosa,” Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1665, WikiArt.

Part 1: Marian Apparition

Morning walk in Irish glade, rambling stream,
Forest mist, shimmering light perceived within
Laurels. I, Sister Muriel, clutching rosary and
Dagger, approached with reverent prayers.
In this ancient wood, Celtic specters lingered,
Dark mirrors of brutal past, killings, burials,
Bones and rituals, cauldron of evil brewing,
Except this light benevolence shown, calling,
Reaching, “Muriel, it is Mother Mary.” First
I did not believe, better to doubt, hold one
Moment than rushing to waiting swords and
Spears – death preferred to enslaving chains.

Yet as sister in Christ, I knelt in faith, whilst
Moving apparition took formed shape, my
Dagger at the ready until light enveloped.
“Sister, it is I, Mary, Mother of Christ, I greet
You.” Alas! Soul over-swept by radiance,
Mortal woman, Holy Mother stood at edge of
Rocky stream. At her feet I knelt, forehead
Touching robes. “Rise, child,” to my heart
She spoke. “Today, I need you, as you have
Prayed to me.” She took my hands, our eyes
And minds glade-embracing.

An older woman, not of Irish clans, Holy
Mother, was not as I had envisioned, Celtic-
Roman origins, more olive-skinned, hair
Covered, face of time-distant Mediterranean
Lands, dark eyes well-deep. As I wonder-
Peered at her, knowing gaze she returned.
“Ireland will change,” she offered. In few
Words, I understood, as Mary uttered no
Thoughts of cruelty or of violence, yet this
She foresaw, all pains endured at Calvary,
Prayers of suffering souls nearly thousand
Years hence, Galilee to Irish Seas.

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

Why are you here?” I wondered, thoughts
Mary heard. “To visit you, solace of your
Seashores, much different than my own.”
To stone cottage we returned, talking,
Walking hand-in-hand, strength Holy
Mother sought from rolling hills and
Vales. Meals we took, blessing received,
Holy Communion, Christ’s teachings and
Miracles, crucifixion sorrows, wondrous
Resurrection, everlasting life, gospels
Written, all this from bread crust, single
Sip of wine, cup and prayers we shared.

In this poem, Sister Muriel’s Marian apparition is more than in spiritual sense, as Holy Mother Mary visits sister as living older woman, seeking solace and strength of Irish rocky seashores.  For more on Marian apparitions, see this link:

For more on Sister Muriel as a poetic character, see this link:

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