Thursday, October 29, 2020



Yes, there were other things that I foreknew
but could not bear to tell, seeing her eyes, -
knowing what two-edged anguish Joseph’s heart
was aching from.  For when I prophesied[1]
the sword of sorrow piercing Mary’s soul,
His arms yearned toward her, just as though he said,
“Not while I live to shield!”  But yet he spoke
no word, for Joseph is a silent man.
Such suffer most; I could not bear to say
the half of all I might have prophesied.

I told her of her own sharp sword of woe:
she only looked down at the Babe and smiled;
she scarcely seemed to heed; but had I told
what sword will pierce His Heart one bitter day,
she would have fallen there in the temple court
death-smitten with grief – and so I could not bear
to tell the half of all that I foreknew.

Just as she offered me her turtle doves,
(the price of Him they prized), and reached to take
back to her tender, mothering arms again
her Treasure - and the world’s – my mind’s eye saw
a thing that chills my very blood to tell:
There in the temple court a creature stood,
in form a man, but beast or devil, which,
I know not.  Gropingly, as one insane,
he flung a gift of silver down and cried:
“I cannot take this money, for it burns
my very soul! .... the price of innocent Blood!”[2]

But when I looked again, I only saw
the mother smiling down upon her Child –
and Joseph near them ... No, I could not bear
to tell the half of all that I foreknew.                                     

Sister Mary of the Visitation                                         
Magnificat.  February 1944        

[1] Luke II:25-38
[2] Matthew XXVII:



There is so little left us that you said
who knew so much!  Yet what more could you say,
knowing the Word?  Your lips must still obey
the intuïtions of your soul that fed
on pondered silences, as, wonder-led,
men came with glad-eyed worship, on a day
when God-made-man upon your bosom lay
Who, after, found no place to rest His head.[1]
Because you spoke so little, our slow speech
blessed by your silence vibrates through the world
until all nations, listening attent,
have heard the truth.  Our faltering accents reach
farther than heaven’s loud thunders echoing hurled:
for by your silence we are eloquent.

Sister Mary of the Visitation
Marian Library Collection

[1] Matthew VIII-20