“Madaonna of the Lilies,” William-Adoplphe Bouguereau, 1899, WikiArt.

Part 7: House of Sorrows

Snows in summer falling, hardship across
Irish lands, tending sick and dying in House
Of Sorrows, O! Mother Mary, hear prayers
Of Sister Muriel. Disease, famine spread
Amongst farms and forests, many taken
With fevers, bodies withering away. I plead
For open doors, fresh water, to help cure
Those struggling to survive. Lo! Hardest hit
Are children, listless innocents, eyes distant,
For moments they search my face, take
One last wheezing breath, soul’s escape
From sickness, they pass unto death.

Thus, has been our brutal summer, more
Like winter of English lands, entire island
Without crops, farm animals slaughtered
Or dying, hundreds of refugees. Where is
God’s love, his bright and shining lamp?
Lo! All has not been lost, as I have joined
With Celtic monks and Druids, we are
Learning medicinal herbs. Pagans tell us
These fevers are disease, not God’s curse
Because they not yet believe. Pungent
Liquids extracts, we are preparing, and
To the ill, forcing sips of willow-bark tea.

Many have prayed at holy well, as custom
Fish swim within, water taken for Sorrow
House floor washing, herbal medicine
Making, healing practices church should
Adopt, like Christ, ministering to the sick
And infirm, true healers of God, monks
Would become, providing shelter to freezing
Hundreds, seeking solace and food. Yet,
Where people gather in enclosed masses,
Disease spreads the more. Could stone
Monasteries become Sorrow Houses for
Homeless, wandering winter-abandoned ill?

“Italian Monk Reading,” Camille Carot, circa 1828, WikiArt.

In prayer, Mother Mary, I seek your guidance,
Druids I ask for age-old spells and knowledge,
Celtic Monks, I appeal to your willingness
To tend to countless sick, odd trinity of Irish
Faith we have become, preserving until
Snows ceases, sunny breaks appear, warm
Days of health and prosperity return to
Irish isles. Alas! For many of us, families
Gone, we will build anew, daunting tasks
Requiring Christian and Druid help for
My ocean-island home to shine once
Again, radiant sun and silver moon.

Continuation of Sister Muriel historical fiction, she tends to fever-stricken during
summer of snows in Ireland, and for the first time, encounters Celtic monks. For
more on this intriguing era, circa 600 A.D., see informative link:  http://www.libraryireland.com/SocialHistoryAncientIreland/Contents.php

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