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Suspended in a Sea of Sacred Space

November 8, 2016   |   M Johanna Rickl


Memorial for four churchwomen.
A memorial at the site where four churchwomen were murdered in 1980.
Sr. Johanna Rickl considers the space to be sacred ground.

In  November, 2015, Sr. Johanna Rickl, CHM, traveled to El Salvador to be present on the 35th Anniversary of the murder of four church women. As the anniversary date of December 2nd approaches, let us remember those women, the people of El Salvador, and the women and men who continue to serve them in our prayers. 

Sr. Johanna wrote the poem below which was inspired by her ministry to the people of Southern Mexico:

The parched earth under my knees impels me to cry out,

"For you my soul thirsts..." 

The gentle hum of 500 indigenous voices

locks me into a oneness that is overpowering

despite my inability to understand the words.

In this moment, transcending time,

I feel suspended in a sea of sacred space.

The holiness was palpable at that outdoor Holy Thursday liturgy

in the highlands of Mexico.

Today I struggle to live in awareness of that Presence

within me and others.

Sometimes, as I hear "Behold the Lamb of God...,"

I let my eyes sweep over

the faces of those gathered,

in an effort to be conscious of the One who is an evolving presence

in each of us.

Oh, to be attentive

to the source of life within and around me!

I am immersed in it,

but like a fish in the ocean,

I can be oblivious

of the Source of Life

in whom I "live and move and have my being."

You, Divine Mystery, are closer to me

than I am to myself.

                                     -Johanna Rickl, CHM President


This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it

Psalm 118:24