We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Romans 8:22 (NIV)
Ancestral midwives kneel in shadows
bringing aid and comfort
to the pains and crying out and pushing,
prepare the way,
in a gushing
mess with cries of gratitude and joy,
As water holy turned
to blood in breaking open paths and sacks
that spill out life
and milk and bread
from deepest springs of hope ferocious.
Beyond the burning ropes
and silence, neglect and jailings all of them passed over
never heard of more nor seen nor named for eons
but now we care and picture them and her with them and us.
And tell how even Sister-Mother-Midwife Allah
gave a tree bent down to shake
to give her fruit
and water in a rivulet
to bathe her tears and terrors.
And now we know that tales of her alone with no one near
are told from fear of what might be
with women’s arms around her.
To this very day they warn “You dare not, Women,
think of that. She’s not like you for were she that
God would never come through you.”
But sister, mother, holy one, around you waiting now as then
we sisters, mothers, holy ones are here with you to aid and comfort
wait with you and witness to
the work and spirit in you ready here and now is God.
And when we breath with you and help you with the birth
we bring it all
to life among us
all a’groaning to be saved and free
and all in all, Good Women,
in you, with you, for you all
in God’s good healing time.
Barbara Marian commissioned MARY WITH THE MIDWIVES by internationally known artist, Janet McKenzie. Barbara has a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University and before retiring served parishes and dioceses around the country as a lector instructor and taught in her diocese’s lay ministry formation program. Her activism for women’s equality began in her thirties and continues in her present day efforts to help bring about reform in the Catholic Church. The five McKenzie images she commissioned celebrate the central role of women in the scripture stories of the Incarnation as well as their leadership before and after the Resurrection (www.thenativityproject.com).