A woman wrapped in silence

Many years ago I came across A Woman Wrapped in Silence, a narrative poem by John Lynch about the life of Mary, Mother of Jesus. The title stayed in my memory, long after the poem itself had faded away. Searching the internet, I could only find one quote, which, like the title itself, seems very appropriate for today's feast of Mater Admirabilis, whose fresco, below, is displayed in Society schools, colleges and houses throughout the world:

Here a woman wrapped in silence, and the words were closed within her spacious heart for pondering...

Here, indeed, we have a woman wrapped in silence, clearly pondering many things in her spacious heart. Mary is caught up in contemplation and stillness, and invites us to do likewise. But, as I said in my feast day post last year, there is strength and passion in her serenity; a strength which comes from her rootedness in God. Mary is no wispy, wimpy girl lost in a daydream, but a young woman whose heart is so spacious it can contain the very fullness of God.

Mater was painted by a postulant, and so in some provinces of the Society today is traditionally the candidates' feast, when their communities make a special fuss of them. Maybe it's a tradition we should revive in this country! At any rate, today is a good day to pray for all those embarking on the adventure of religious life - that they too may be spacious-hearted, strong, contemplative women. Some words of a former Superior General, Helen McLaughlin, addressed to a group about to make their final professions 25 years ago, are just as relevant for candidates today -

Let us pray to Mary, woman in whom love became flesh and who knew how to love the adventure of God with all its consequences, that she may be for us the strength, the encouragement and the light in this new stage of your life.


  1. A powerful prayer-picture. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us, Silvana. Dare I ask for prayers that we might ALL have the grace of being "spacious-hearted, strong and contemplative"? Those words touched my heart!


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