Lady Wilde’s (Oscar Wilde’s mother) poem describes the plight of the Irish during the great Potato Famine:
Weary men, what reap ye?—Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye?— human corpses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger–stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers — what do they round your door?
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping— would to God that we were dead;
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.
No; the blood is dead within our veins — we care not now for life;
Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife;
We cannot stay and listen to their raving, famished cries--
Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.
We left our infants playing with their dead mother’s hand:
We left our maidens maddened by the fever’s scorching brand:
Better, maiden, thou were strangled in thy own dark–twisted tresses--
Better, infant, thou wert smothered in thy mother’s first caresses.
We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan:
Yet, if fellow–men desert us, will He hearken from His Throne?
Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;
But the stranger reaps our harvest— the alien owns our soil.
O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains
We perish houseless, naked, starved, with branded brow, like Cain’s?
Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow--
Dying, as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.
One by one they’re falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;
We’ve no strength left to dig them graves— there let them lie.
The wild bird, if he’s stricken, is mourned by the others,
But we— we die in a Christian land—we die amid our brothers,
In the land which God has given, like a wild beast in his cave,
Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin or a grave.
Ha! but think ye the contortions on each livid face ye see,
Will not be read on judgment–day by eyes of Deity?
We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride,
But God will take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died.
Now is your hour of pleasure— bask ye in the world’s caresses;
But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,
From the cabins and the ditches, in their charred, uncoffin’d masses,
For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.
A ghastly, spectral army, before the great God we’ll stand,
And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land. - Lady Wilde (1824 – 1896)
OUR LADY OF KNOCK, now also known as Cnoc Mhuire or Mary’s Hill.
Ireland, across the Atlantic Ocean in the northern hemisphere and close to England, is a small country only 174 miles wide by 302 miles long, about the size of Indiana. The verdant pastures are indicative of the vibrant, life-giving Catholic faith, which has prospered in spite of many tumultuous storms. Ireland is a land known for St. Patrick and his three-leaf clover, as well as for its Leprechauns, Irish luck, the Blarney Stone, and the harp. The harp became a symbol of resistance to England and was banned at the end of the 1500s but was reinstated as an emblem of the Irish Free State, which was established in 1922. Maintaining their Catholic customs, one can still hear the Irish greeting: “God and Mary be with you”, with the response of “God and Mary and Patrick be with you.” Ireland, averaging only three to four hours of sunshine a day, is beset with heavy rains and plenteous drizzle. It boasts a relatively temperate climate due to the gulf stream with an average summer temperature of 68 and winter temperature of 47, even though its latitude is far north. The mild winters and the damp summers cause the land to be covered with lush green vegetation, and has become known as the Emerald Isle. Tall trees are few because of the winds that blow in from the Atlantic on the west.
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TO ADORE OUR LORD!
The Franciscan Handmaids of the Immaculate seek daily to draw closer to Our Lord. Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament is fundamental to Our spiritual life as we seek to conform our hearts unto His. Additionally, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Sorrows, we place ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking Her to bring us closer to Her Son.