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Loyalty to Mary

My sister-in-law, Mary, passed away a couple of years ago. I remember well how she opened her home in England to Philip and I and cooked us wonderful dinners. Her Shepherd’s Pie with baked beans comes to mind, not to mention those wonderful crispy roasted taters. And the copious quantities of wine and chat we shared. Her hospitality made us feel as if her home was our home. Hospitality is one incarnation of God in the world.  I sure wish Mary were here now.

And then there was the wisdom of my friend, Susan. She pointed out that the idea of Mary birthing Jesus in a miraculous cloud of light without mess and pain did not sound true. She had two daughters and remembered! Once in her arms her babies no doubt felt miraculous, but on the way down the birth canal, not so much. She would no doubt agree with Kat Armas, who wrote of Mary, “…she probably got short of breath and had trouble finding a comfortable position for sleep at night…” A Human and Holy Birth — Center for Action and Contemplation (

And then there was Mary who I shared a room with at a writer’s conference. She was a serious artist. We became great friends. I was grieving the loss of my black and white cat, Mittens, who’d been full of joie de vie. A couple of days before the conference, he’d been run over by a tractor. It was horrible. I did not mention Mittens to Mary, but she gave me a painting she’d done of a black and white cat being raised to heaven by angels. Mystery! Surely such comfort and love is an example of God’s incarnation through the care of other people.

BTW: Mittens, when Mary stayed at my house, used to throw himself at her bedroom door at night so she’d let him in to sleep on her bed.

The painting of Our Lady of the Cats is by Afrodite Papadouli. Artistic expression is also an aspect of God in the World.



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