Part 4: Miracles of Bread and Fish
“Sister, we are cold and hungry,” moans
Of collected farmers, worse than poor
Growing seasons, cold blight gripped
Irish farmlands, perpetual winter in June
And July. “This land is accursed,” voices
Arose in angered fear. “Gather wood for
Fire,” I offered. Lo! Forests were stripped
Bare of fallen wood. Amongst meager
Flames, “Come pray with me, I cannot do
This alone.” Helpless and guilty I felt for
Accepting their unselfish charity.
Amidst prayer, female voice spoke, “Find
Where river turns, bank of washed stones,
Ancient earth is exposed.” Praying with us
Was Druid woman, suffering as we were.
This place we found, broad shoulder of
Stream-washed rocks revealed. With her
Eyes, she spoke to me, thoughts water-
Clear. Each gathered one stone, dozens
Upon winding watercourse, basket they
Were placed, laurel-bough covered.
By fire-roaring warmth, semi-circle all
Prayed aloud, pleas uttered in Irish
Tongues, hunger-weary hearts. Lo! Forest
Turned ablaze in divine light, stones in
Basket transformed to bread, fish thick-
Swimming in wading pools. Miracles upon
miracles, tearful prayers as each accepted
Fish and bread loaf, giving thanks to Christ,
Holy Mother, and to Druid woman who
Broke bread, ate fish, and sipped from
Waters welling from primeval earth.
Upon this place we erected head-high wood-
Stone cross, each cobble hand-placed prayer,
Scripture recited, psalms and hymns sang
Aloud. Amidst Christian fellowship, our white-
Dress clad Druid mother had disappeared,
Lost to forest mists and to time, name and
Clans unknown, her faith accepted as our
Own. Some said she was Mother Mary, Celtic
Forest goddess, deific apparition. In truth,
We did not know.
Yet, I included Druid Mother in my daily
Prayers, white stone added to my rosary,
For as I walked Irish countryside, amongst
Standing-stones and Celtic ruins, I felt her
Presence, land and people for whom she
Cared and guided, genuinely strong as
Ireland-emerging Christian faith. Following
Spring, sun shone bright, growing seasons
Returned, seeds sown, yearling calves and
Sheep, life and harmony restored. Through
River miracles, I understood another faith.
Mysteries of ancient Ireland, Sister Muriel realizes her time
and place, strength and faith of earlier cultures and religions.
Who was white-dress clad Druid woman? As Sister stated,
“In truth, we did not know.” Thanks for reading.