Reality through Another’s Eyes: Poems for Peacemaking

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Sister Patricia Stark, OP

By: Sister Patricia Stark, OP

Sister Patricia lives at Sacred Heart Convent and participated in Sister Mila’s course on the prophets.

Recently, Springfield Dominican Sister Mila Díaz taught a Scripture class on the Minor Prophets to our community at Sacred Heart Convent. We learned of the many injustices suffered by the people during the times of the prophets. Unfortunately, we witness similar abuses in our society today. Those in power sometimes systematically oppress the weak and marginalized, enslaving them in a life of poverty through systems which have been operating for centuries.

In his recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis makes a specific call: “Let us hear the true stories of these victims of violence, look at reality through their eyes, and listen with an open heart to the stories they tell. In this way, we will be able to grasp the abyss of evil at the heart of war. Nor will it trouble us to be deemed naive for choosing peace.” (#261)

In the context of our study of the prophets and our current reality, one of our class assignments was to place ourselves in the position of someone today who is suffering from racism or another “ism” of our time and compose a poem. Those poems appear below.

Poems For Peacemaking
    This poem is an expression of the deep-felt remorse and enduring grief of Breonna Taylor’s sister as seen through the eyes of Sister Patricia Stark, OP.

    Lament for Breonna Taylor, My Beloved Sister

    How do I find meaning?

    Find justice in the sudden, violent, senseless death of my dear sister, Breonna?

    Her ex-boyfriend, Marcus, already apprehended!

    What cause had the police for executing the “no-knock” search warrant

    Looking for drugs…violently, recklessly firing 22 bullets without reprieve

    Through Breonna’s locked apartment door…

    Eight bullets striking and killing Breonna!

    (No drugs were found that early morning in Breonna’s apartment!)

    Protests ensued at Chicago Police Headquarters and around the country,

    Touching people in Africa and in Europe and across the world.

    “Say Her Name” campaign ‘rose up,’

    A reminder of women of color who’ve been victimized by police.

    All around people reached out, responded, supported

    Family, friend, stranger sought to soothe the pain and calm the sorrow.

    No!!!...not at all!!!...

    NOW my single hope is to one day see Breonna, my dear sister Breonna,

    In all her GLORY!

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    Lamento por Breonna Taylor, Mi Amada Hermana

    ¿Cómo encontrar un significado?

    ¿Encontraré justicia en la muerte repentina, violenta y sin sentido de mi querida hermana, Breonna?

    ¡Su exnovio, Marcos fue ya detenido!

    ¿Qué causa tuvo la policía para ejecutar la orden de registrar “sin tocar”?

    Buscando drogas ... violentamente,

    Disparando de forma imprudente 22 balas sin tregua

    A través de la puerta cerrada del apartamento de Breonna...

    ¡Ocho balas impactaron y mataron a Breonna!

    (¡No se encontraron drogas esa madrugada en el apartamento de Breonna!)

    Se produjeron protestas en la sede de la policía de Chicago y en todo el país.

    Su muerte tocó a personas en África y en Europa y en todo el mundo.

    Empezaron campañas “Digan su nombre”.

    Un recordatorio de las mujeres de color que han sido víctimas de la policía.

    La gente de todo el mundo se acercó, respondió, apoyó

    Familia, amigos, extraños buscaban calmar el dolor y calmar la angustia.

    ¡¡¡No!!!, ¡¡¡En absoluto!!!...

    AHORA, mi única esperanza es ver algún día a Breonna, mi

    querida hermana Breonna,

    En toda su GLORIA!

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    Imagining to be in the place of a woman from an indigenous nation in the Amazon, Sister Marie Michelle Hackett, OP, expressed the following words:


    From my youth, I have shared this land with my people.

    We have fished in your rivers,

    Eaten fruit from your trees,

    Harvested your land,

    And befriended the many inhabitants that dwell in your womb.

    Oh! Amazon, my paradise, you shout to the four corners of the earth

    Yahweh’s glory and majesty.

    Yahweh, this is your land and we are your people.

    You have protected us from all who wish to rape our virgin forest

    So, we no longer have a place to rest in your beauty.

    As night befalls, I pray to Yahweh, my God

    And when the dawn breaks forth

    I utter my gratitude and thanks to my beloved.

    Oh! Amazon, Amazon, my sweet Amazon.

    Because of YHWH’s faithfulness I take you in my loving embrace

    And hold you now and for all generations

    That will come hereafter.

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    Imaginando estar en el lugar de una mujer de una nación indígena en la Amazonía, la Hermana Marie Michelle Hackett, OP, expresó las siguientes palabras:


    Desde mi juventud he compartido esta tierra con mi gente.

    Hemos pescado en tus ríos,

    Comido fruto de tus árboles,

    Cosechamos tu tierra,

    Y nos hicimos amigas de los muchos habitantes que habitan en tu vientre.

    ¡Oh! Amazonas mi paraíso, gritas a los cuatro rincones de la tierra

    La gloria y majestad de Yahvé.

    Yahvé, esta es tu tierra y nosotros somos tu pueblo.

    Nos has protegido de todos los que desean violar nuestra selva virgen

    Así que ya no tenemos un lugar para descansar en tu belleza.

    Al caer la noche, rezo a Yahvé, mi Dios Y cuando amanece

    Expreso mi gratitud y agradecimiento a mi amado.

    ¡Oh! Amazonas, Amazonas, mi dulce Amazonas.

    Por la fidelidad de Yahvé te tomo en mi abrazo amoroso y te cuido ahora y por todas las generaciones

    Que vendrán de aquí en adelante.

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    Putting herself in the shoes of the mother of Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado, two young students killed during the demonstrations against the corruption of the Congress in Perú, Sister Beatriz Vila Alania, OP, wrote a poem. She is participating in the class of the Minor Prophets with a group of Spanish-speaking associates and associate candidates via Zoom.

    To My Son…

    So full of dreams and illusions ...

    They removed your life, they killed you!!

    There is no word that can ease the pain that I’m feeling
    here in my bosom.

    Every day that arises

    Your memories come to my mind:

    Your gaze, your smile, your jokes,

    Your determination to move forward….

    Your departure was unexpected ...

    The men who killed you will know

    That this is a time of death, sorrow, pain

    And fight without a fourth

    In the face of installed impunity in our society.

    I, your mother,

    I will make your memory be affixed

    In the collective memory of the times;

    Because you struggled without weapons

    In the defense of democracy in our country.

    Now, you are an angel who has ascended to heaven.

    To guide your generation.

    Forever, my son, you will live in my heart.

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    Poniéndose en los zapatos de la madre de Inti Sotelo y Bryan Pintado, dos jóvenes estudiantes asesinados durante las manifestaciones contra la corrupción del Congreso en Perú, Hermana Beatriz Vila Alania, OP, escribió un poema. Ella participa en la clase de los Profetas Menores con nuestros asociados y candidatos a ser asociados en español y vía Zoom.

    A Mi Hijo

    Tan Lleno de Sueños e Ilusiones…

    ¡¡Te cegaron la Vida, te mataron!!

    No hay palabra que pueda mitigar el dolor

    Que estoy sintiendo aquí en mi pecho.

    Cada día que pasa,

    Vienen a mi memoria tus recuerdos:

    Tu mirada, tu sonrisa, tus bromas,

    Tu empeño por seguir adelante….

    Tu partida fue inesperada…

    Sabrán los hombres que te mataron,

    Que es un tiempo de muerte, pena, dolor

    Y lucha sin cuartel

    Frente a la impunidad instalada en nuestra sociedad.

    Yo, tu madre,

    Haré que tu recuerdo quede encadenado

    En la memoria colectiva de los tiempos.

    Porque luchaste sin armas,

    Por defender la democracia en nuestro país.

    Ahora, eres un ángel que ha subido al cielo.

    Para guiar a los de tu generación.

    Por siempre, hijo mío, vivirás en mi corazón.

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    These poems represent one effort among women peacemakers prepared, as Pope Francis asks “to work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter.” (FT #225).

    Estos poemas representan un esfuerzo de mientras artesanas de la paz, dispuestas a “generar procesos de sanación y de reencuentro con ingenio y audacia.” (FT #225).

    2 thoughts on “Reality through Another’s Eyes: Poems for Peacemaking”

    1. Through your eyes, I see Truth. Through your words I feel empathy! I am so sorry for your your many losses.
      Peace and God’s Love, Jeanine Boivin,OP Adrian Dominican

    2. Such a diverse trinity of poems reflect the unity of our Christian call to solidarity with all who suffer injustice. Thank you to my strong yet gentle Dominican family living out the beatitude call to hunger and thirst for justice.

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