Words of Wisdom from a Daughter

We are all still trying to process the senselessness of what happened in Pittsburgh last weekend.  Although written for different purposes, there is a poem in the archives’ collections that may resonate with some of you.  This was written in 1984 by Sr. Susan Sheehan while on mission in Bethlehem.

“Thoughts from Bethlehem”

O blessed land of paradoxes,
You raise questions larger than your borders.
The blood from your wounds mixes with your neighbors;
It never seems to stop, heal and re-knit.

O blessed people, Jews, Christians, Moslems, children of the same Creator, Your God.
Why does fear still divide you through the centuries?
Why does this standard, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, grip stronger than wisdom and love?

O Jesus, our Savior, Who walked so tall in this stony hearted land.
You showed us the way, Your truth lighted the darkness.
Your fire took flame far beyond these hills.
We gentiles came to know Your voice as our Shepherd and Paschal Lamb. Forgiveness is for all men.
Young and old came to sing Alleluia in every tongue.

O blessed century of two thousand, generation of our
moment, most of whom are still awaiting Your arrival and other see You only as a prophet.
Still a minority know You, Lord.
Don’t forget this mustard seed. Let it not get choked among today’s thistles.

O blessed Spirit, enlighten minds and set aglow a spirit
of reconciliation. May all Your children know You,
Lord, and be known by their Love.
May Your spirit blow a new wind across this land.


“History teaches us where even the slightest perceptible forms of anti-Semitism can lead: the human tragedy of the Shoah in which two-thirds of European Jewry were annihilated,” –Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable,” December 2015.

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