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Poetry: Hail Holy Mothers – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Nov 012011

This is the poem I wrote for my spiritual foremothers: Mary, mother of Christ; St. Brigid of Kildare; St. Hildegard von Bingen; St. Teresa of Avila; and Florence Nightingale. It seemed appropriate for All Saints’ Day.

St. Teresa of Avila by Janet McKenzie

Hail Holy Mothers!
Trail blazers!

Women of fire;
Women of God’s Word:
Receiving God’s Word
Nurturing God’s Word
Giving birth to God’s Word.

Women of the shield:
Defending God’s Word,
Not with sword,
But with exhortation
With rebukes
With wise counsel.

Mothers, Defenders of our faith!
You stand around me–
Showing the way

Sisters, mothers, friends:
You wait for us
Bidding us come;
come take your hands
and enter eternity together.
(c)2008 Shawna R. B. Atteberry

All these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 11:39–12:1).

Who are your spiritual foremothers? How do they draw you closer to God? How do they spark your creativity?

Originally posted on May 28, 2008

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  4 Responses to “Poetry: Hail Holy Mothers”

  1. […] and Florence Nightingale. Hail Holy Mothers! Trail blazers! Pioneers! Women of fire Women of God?http://www.shawnaatteberry.com/2008/05/28/poetry-hail-holy-mothers/5/24 Church news The Lufkin Daily NewsAngelina Church of Christ. weekly events. May 25. Bible […]

  2. Beautiful, Shawna! And especially welcome today after a Marriage Encounter Eucharist filled with sexist language…Nice time getting to know other couples at breakfast though.

    • Wonderful. I’m glad it was able to help affirm you after the sexist language. I become more and more appreciative of my priest who is so mindful of using feminine language of Godde in all our services.

  3. A lovely envisioning of the cloud of witnesses. Julian of Norwich and her analogy of the hazelnut, God in a hazelnut is one foremother. And the poet H.D.(Hilda Doolittle) who was raised Moravian like I was, and felt it most strongly as a gift of the spirit from her grandmother.

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