(This post was unavailable for some time last week due to technological problems, so I’m repeating it.)

Even if you are not a fan of poetry, I think you would enjoy Sister Mary Doreen’s poems. When she died this year, she left behind a legacy of more than 300 of them. They are simple and down-to-earth, just as she was. Perhaps because she grew up on a large farm, many of her poems have nature themes, making them relevant in these days when we are focused on climate change.

Awhile ago it occurred to me that I could self-publish Sister’s poems. But the thought vanished. Then Sister Mary James, who was sorting Sister Doreen’s things, saw me in the hall and suggested publishing the poems. God has a funny way of directing our lives through “coincidences.”

Sister Elizabeth Wood, our archivist, loaned me the box of Sister’s poems so I could make them available to the world. They are now in the form of three books. Reading through Sister’s collection was sheer joy. In the process I discovered that Sister had once won a $1000 award for a poem. She also had poems published in three periodicals: Liguorian, Emmanuel, and Review for Religious.

The three books are available from Amazon. Most of Sister Doreen’s poems are in the 141-page book A Buffet of Poems to Savor, Enjoy, and Pray. ($9.95) These range from profound to humorous. Sister Barbara Daugherty’s nature photo graces the cover. Haiku are published separately in 100 Haiku: Light Pierces Darkness. (38 pages, $6.95) Stunning photographs accompany these three-line poems, most of them, including the cover photo, provided by Sister Mary Seton Schlather. 

Sister Doreen was born on October 7, the feast of the Most Holy Rosary and became a Sister of Notre Dame. It’s no surprise then that she wrote several versions of the Rosary’s Mysteries in different forms of poetry. One version in which each mystery is reflected on in two-stanza poems appears in the book Mysteries of the Rosary in Verse (32 pages, $4.95). Sister Maresa Lilley, a prolific artist, is the source of the painting of Mary on the cover, one of Sister’s many Marian portraits.

I could identify with the message in the following poem Sister Doreen wrote. I bet you can too.

Shapings

“You’ve read that poem

            quite beautifully,”

My English instructor

            commended me.

I basked in the light

            and warmth of her praise

And read even better

            the following days.

My new music teacher

            would fuss and would fret:

“Will you watch your timing?

            No, it’s not right yet.”

The lessons which had been

            delightful before

Had suddenly become

            a pain and a bore.

Many long miles

            I have traveled since then,

With a poem in my heart

            and a poem on my pen,

But it’s a shame and a waste

            and I dare say a sin,

That I never more play

            my old violin.

My eighth-grade teacher, Sister Mary John Francis, encouraged my writing. After I graduated from her class, she asked me to write her a composition every week and send it to her at Xavier University where she was studying. Now I have 80-plus books and five textbook series under my belt.

•  How has someone shaped your life?

2 Comments

  1. Sue on January 30, 2021 at 12:23 am

    What a lovely thing to do for your friend in getting her poems out to the public. I will plan on purchasing one…liked the one you chose.
    When I retired, a couple friends got me interested in watercolors. I can’t tell you how many years now I’ve enjoyed it and sharing my talents, that
    I feel is a gift from the Lord.
    Have a good day,
    Sue

    • Kathleen Glavich, SND on February 2, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      Good friends certainly enrich our lives, don’t they? Blessings on your day, Sue!

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