Wednesday, December 24, 2008

about half a day early... merry Christmas!


Let us sing and dance and play
For the King that's born today
To save us all from death and woe;
Benedicamus Domino.

In Bethlem's stable cold and drear
He was born, that Babe so dear;
Of Mary Maid He came to us,
Iesus Christus Dominus.

Son of God in human form,
Born amid the winter storm,
For to save from Satan's power
At the weary midnight hour.

And a star that filled the sky
Told His coming from on high,
Lighting all with silver glow;
Benedicamus Domino!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Late Immaculate Conception post

Happy feast of the Immaculate Conception, a week or so late! Since we didn't post anything in honor of the feast on the day itself, here's a link to my thesis, "The Immaculate Conception from Rome to Salamanca."

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Goddaughter Enchanted?

Enchanted?! That's one way of putting it! Who? What? In her entire story there is not one case of enchantment...not one! I suppose the gossip mill has been working as usual, and people say that it was Gezelle's singing that caused the man to fall helplessly in love with her...but anyone who knows that land will tell you that if anything, her singing must have pulled him out of an enchantment.

The people there...I don't know exactly...

The first thing that struck Gezelle, of course, was the utter lack of any music in their faces and bearing. She couldn't express it even to herself; her mind doesn't work that way, but she realized of course that something was wrong, even before that man took her crown without leaving so much as a quip in return, let alone an adventure. And when she met a man who was about to be married and had never even whistled to think of his love, she realized that of course, that was it. Some few people there--they were from another, much more normal land, as she guessed by their accents and garments--were able to help, and for a brief, glorious minute she pulled a few hundreds out of the cords that hold the people of New York in bondage--not to anyone, but away from music, from dance, from free speech, from each other... But she did not, and could not, reach any who were not already there in the park, looking at the green, moving through fresh air; listening to what they could hear without those stones in their ears...the ones that connect by strings to little tiles, and are now the chief instruments of the enchantment, or whatever it is.

For the matter with them is this, that their ears are continually filled with sound--mostly music of some sort, though often as well a voice breaks in to offer irrelevant commentary on some merchandise or service; it is there, constantly in their ears if they use the stones, certainly in their carriages and in all buildings--or else they sit before the magic mirror that is in nearly every room and listen to the sound that accompanies the vision. But it is never sung or played by any visible person, and they need not seek it or strain their ears for it, or give sign of appreciation to the musician, much less make any music themselves, and so they don't. Even many of those who dance, I have heard, do so as moved by the simplest rhythms of the music, and not as adding something of their own to its beauty. And this causes, in many of them, a curious deadness of spirit, whereas others (among them fortunately Gezelle's new husband) become simply unaware of music--they think they know it, for it dins constantly in their ears, and it is nothing to them, but they have never had the joy of a single note sung by themselves; never given of their own joy and exuberance in dancing, as a return for the joy of music and life.

It is from this enchantment, if you can call it that, that Gezelle has freed her husband, and while I hope that is what the title means, I am inclined to doubt that the people of his country would be aware enough of their own bonds to understand what has happened among them! It is indeed tragically ironic, that their story should be made an instrument to perpetuate the enchantment...just two more hours of the magic mirror's time. But when I heard him sing--chant--his vows to her at their wedding, and saw the magic in the motion of their dance together, I knew that their children, at least, will be no thralls to that enchantment, and through one such family, how many more might be released from bondage?

Perle (Gezelle's godmother)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Lover's Prayer

O Lord, Thou who hast made all things,
And by the mighty majesty
Which all creation sweetly sings
Hast cleansed all mankind's infamy,
And given joy for woe;
O Thou that lovest me so,
Teach me to love Thee as Thou lovest me.

O Thou who by Thy word alone
Didst calm the storm in Galilee,
Thou Who art Trinity and One,
Who ever is and so shall be,
Thy wonder none can tell!
O Thou that lovest me well,
Teach me to love Thee as Thou lovest me.

O Master, at whose word divine
All things that are have come to be,
And by Whose mercy all-benign
We were redeemed from misery,
Thou knowest I am frail;
O Thou who canst not fail,
Teach me to love Thee as Thou lovest me.

O jewel far above all price,
Above the worth of all the world,
Set up as Priest and Sacrifice,
Thy conquering Cross our flag unfurled,
To set all hearts afire;
O Thou, the World's Desire,
Teach me to love Thee as Thou lovest me.

O Thou Who once, unspotted Lamb,
Didst deign to shed Thy Blood for me,
Help me, all worthless as I am,
To do Thy Will, and worthily
Offer Thee all I do.
O Thou, my Lover true,
Teach me to love Thee as Thou lovest me.

O Thou that in the darkest night
Dost give Thy light that I may see,
Who on the Altar, in the white
Round Host disguised dost safeguard me
From all the fiends of Hell;
O Thou that lovest me well,
Teach me to love Thee as Thou lovest me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For Our Lady...

this one is in Latin! The accenting in a couple of places is not perfect but I tried to keep it even.


Stella maris, O Maria,
Virgo clemens, virgo pia,
Tua filia vocat te;
Virgo dulcis, audi me.

Sum indigna peccatrix;
Bona Dei genitrix,
Da misericordiam,
Salva tuam servulam.

Ne cadam subrige me,
Caelicis militiae
Domina pulcherrima,
Dei plena gratia!

O Maria, stella maris,
Magna, mitis, singularis,
Virinescia materque,
Miserere - Salva me!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For the Holy Souls

I know this is a day late, but we have a whole week to get indulgences for them, so why not poems?


Light eternal on them shine
With the holy Saints benign;
Hear our prayer, O Lord divine:
Dona eis requiem.

Let thy dear souls, who burn in fire
Of sorrow and of great desire
Be freed from pain and grief so dire!
Dona eis requiem.

O Lord, their love and longing see
And from their suffering set them free,
In heaven's joy to join with Thee.
Dona eis requiem.

They suffer for their debt of sin
The purgatorial flames within,
And strive Thy light at last to win.
Dona eis requiem.

They love Thee, Lord - Thou knowest this!
O bring them home from sin's abyss,
And grant to them Thy peace and bliss!
Dona eis requiem.

------Inés de Erausquin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

I found this over at our friend the Suburban Banshee's, and found it amusing. You bold what you have eaten and cross out what you'd never even consider eating. Since with this formatting I can't cross out, I'll italicize. Wow, some people have wild imaginations when it comes to food...

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare (raw hamburger? ugh!)
5. Crocodile... um, perhaps...
6. Black pudding (I've eaten the Spanish version, fried. It's actually kinda good.)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Does limoncello count?
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or headcheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche YES! GOTTA LOVE THE STUFF!!!!
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar... I am no smoker...
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala... sounds good.
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin... um, no...
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads...don't do it...
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake I Looooooove churros with chocolate...
68. Haggis... yuck
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu... I'm not suicidal...
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini... no, but why not, sometime...
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant... no, but sometime I might
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Monday, October 27, 2008

Letter to Laodicea

(From the epistle to the last of the seven churches, in the Apocalypse)

Come buy, I beg, of my burning gold
To complete your coffers with prudent care
And lengths of linen of flowing white
That your nakedness may not appear;
Lave with aloes your lightless eyes
To behold the blessed sight of bliss.
I chastize the children of my choice,
Harry and hunt them, so haste to this:
Turn ye in truth your Lord unto
For close I stand and call at the door.
He who hears my call
And opens his hall
I will enter in
To dine with him;
For his swift feet
He will share my seat
Enthroned with me,
Even as I
My father's high,
In victory.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Translation

This semester I have been taking a class called "Creative Writing: Translation." It's a lot of fun, and I thought some of my readers (all two or three of them, huh?) might enjoy one or two of my translations. So here goes my version of the Vexilla Regis.

The royal banners forth proceed,
The Cross shines out its mystery
By which life bore death's heavy load
And life by death gained victory.

And when the lance's dreadful blade
Did wound our Savior's holy side,
That we be cleansed from sin, his blood
And water flowed, a blessed tide.

Fulfilled is that which David sang
In faithful song of prophecy,
When to the nations he proclaimed,
"Lo, God hath reignèd from the Tree."

O Tree, most fair, aglow with light,
With royal purple beautified,
Thou, chosen as a worthy wood,
To bear that body sanctified!

O blest art thou, upon whose arms
There hung the price of all mankind,
On which Our Lord, a standard set,
Rescued the souls in hell confined.

O Cross, our only hope, all hail!
In this the blessed Passion-time,
Give to the pious greater grace,
And wash away the sinner's crime.

O Trinity, Salvation's spring,
Let every soul give praise to thee,
And grant the prize to those to whom
Thou gavest the Cross' victory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Type and Antitype: a Riddle

Or (perhaps a better heading for the Ballad that is the Greatest Song in the World) :
"Come riddle me this, dear mother, come riddle me two in one..."*

What King is it that left his kingdom,
was despised and rejected by his people
(who chose a murderer over him),
for the sake of a promise made to a vassal;
who took on the form of a servant**
was humbled before a throne set up by his own power
was cast down with guilt not his own,
and laid down his life for his friend,
but lives now in great joy and bliss?

Hint: You have to have read the Silmarillion.

Inspired by the Philosopher at Large's short story Terrible Gifts and its sequel. I had not noticed this myself, in all my (eight, maybe?) years of rereading the bits of the Silmarillion which mention my favorite character!

*Cf. Chesterton (The Surprise), Anonymous ("Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender"), and Anonymous ("My Dancing Day").
**OK, I'm cheating here, in one case the servant was his, in the other NOT. But it's a TYPE, not an allegory!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Queen of the Holy Rosary....

today is her day, the celebration of the great victory at Lepanto back in 1571.... wow, that's a while back. Anyhow, in honor of the day, here is a new poem...

Immaculate conceived and stainless born,
She who in Bethlehem brought Christ to men
In greatest need comes to our aid again,
Our watchful Mother, guiding star of morn.
When all seems lost, and we are all forlorn,
Confounded, weak against our deadly foes,
The Mother of the King who died and rose
Bends down to crush all those who dare to scorn
Her power and her Son; as once did she
When Ali's hellish hordes, in battle's heat,
Were near to crushing Juan of Austria's fleet;
She took the roses that her children gave
And swept the winds around, her fold to save!
Thus, in her praise we pray her Rosary.

Inés de Erausquin
October 7, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We're Moving!!!!

Yes... the de Erausquin family will leave our beautiful St. Louis next summer, bound for Boston! The reason for this is that Tata (our Dad) just accepted an offer from the great, the only....

Hahvahd University!

So this will be our last year here in our home of thirteen- almost fourteen- years. Ah, the sadness... Boston has no SSPX church or school, so we will be down to a mission chapel and homeschooling. But hey, it's still Mass. And with the amount of singers in our family alone, and all our boys, we could be having High Masses with a full choir in not too long... that would really be awesome!

Leaving all our old friends and our colleges will be tough, though. Having two years of college left, I now have to decide whether to transfer to, say, Boston College, and get used to a whole new group of teachers and students; or remain here at Webster University with the teachers who know me and my ways -- where I come from and where I am musically, as Mrs. Eastman says.

Ah, well. Time will tell, and God will make sure things come out right, I know.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another new poem, YAY!

(haha) This one was inspired by a beautiful Spanish poem, the Hymn to the Coming Messiah, begging Our Lord to return to us. I have made more than one attempt to translate it, but it is coming very slowly! The language is so complicated that even in the richness of English it's hard to match the wonder of the Spanish. However, taking the theme and the rhythm and rhyme scheme, I came up with

Veni, Domine

Look downward, Master dear,
From Thy great throne on high,
And hear our lonely cry,
In a thousand dreadful fears;
For we wander in this drear,
Dreadful night of death and sin,
And our wailing, weak and thin,
Rises from this vale of tears.

O, many a day have we
Pleaded Thee to come to us,
And save from the treacherous
Foes who fain would drag us down;
We fight the raging sea
And, struggling, blind, dismayed,
We call on Thy mighty aid,
Without which we all must drown.

O Lord, Who in Galilee
The raging storm didst still
And, coming, didst fulfill
Every prophecy of yore,
By the Cross of Calvary
And the Blood Thou there didst spill,
Come, O Lord, from Heaven's hill -
Come and save us all once more!

Friday, September 5, 2008

St. Pius the Tenth!

Yes, yes, I know I am two days late. Three it'll be by the time anyone reads this, I'm sure. But anyway, here is the poem I wrote Wednesday for our Fathers of the SSPX.


Upon this fair Wednesday
Is Pius the Ten's day,
A wonderful Pope and great Saint;
And I think that never
Was such a fool, ever,
As him who dares say that he ain't.

He grew up, quite lowly,
And ever-so-holy,
In Riese, in fair Italy;
And since priests were needed
Our Lord's call he heeded
And went to the seminary.

He would have desired
(This priest so inspired),
A meek parish priest for to stay;
But the Pope didn't think so,
And quick as two winks-o,
A Cardinal made him one day!

When the Pope was interred
An election occurred,
And although our saint said, "O nope!"
And he wept and he pleaded,
His prayer was not heeded
And so he became the new Pope!

This Pope, the Church ruling,
Was awesome - no fooling!
No nonsense this Pope would permit;
He kept the Ship sailing,
O'er evil prevailing;
Which pleased our old Foe not one bit!

He kept up his labors
And gained many favors
From Heaven for his people below;
His kind benediction
Consoled in affliction;
His death left the Church full of woe.

But from the high heaven
His blessing is given
To those who do call on him still;
And to us whose cry is
"Come aid us, St. Pius,"
He listens, and he always will.

He guards with great piety
His namesake Society;
His sons he safeguards and protects;
And with eloquence fair
He echoes our prayer:
"May God bless the SSPX!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A new sonnet

Firstly, happy feastday to all you Stephens out there -- today's the feast of St. Stephen of Hungary!

Secondly, here is a new sonnet. The idea for this came to me at Mass, actually, not Benediction; but the picture in my head turned into this poem.

I gaze upon the altar far below,
The candles glimmering in the smoky haze,
And at the glorious crown of golden rays
That circles round what is God's self, I know.
And looking on the shining loveliness
Of the great monstrance holding Jesus there,
I cannot help but suddenly compare
The monstrance with one whom all nations bless -
The Maiden who is yet our Mother, and
The star of hope that leads us through the night,
That Christ in her pure body once did hold;
And now, at last, I come to understand
The name we give her, like a ray of light;
No wonder we call Mary "House of Gold!"

-- September 2, 2008
St. Stephen of Hungary

Saturday, August 30, 2008

St. Louis

Alas, I am late again! The Feast of our city's patron, St. Louis, was this Monday (the 25th), and I was so caught up in the Jam and school that I had not time to post. (The last post says it was posted on the 25th, but it was really finished today!) So here is the poem I wrote last year on the same Feast.

A lesson by his mother taught
He kept his heart within;
"I'd rather see you dead, my son,
Than stained by mortal sin."

He ruled his folk with justice, and
When there was need of aid,
He pinned the Cross upon his cloak
And went on a Crusade.

He fought with valor for Our Lord
To save the Holy Land;
He led his men, unstintingly,
His sword aloft in hand,

And when from illness he began
To falter and to faint,
He died a very holy death
And went to be a saint.

O Louis, gallant, holy knight,
Guard us we pray to thee,
That we may join you, praising God,
In heaven eternally.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Jam Session Two!

The wonderful weekend of Jam Session II began with the arrival of all the Texans on Friday. At three o'clock sharp, the time ere this agreed upon, Stephanie, Lucia, Rocio, Michelle and I got to the church and found Bobby Murphy, Joe Dugas, and Sam and Aly Sentmanat waiting for us on the sidewalk. Father Stanich, it seemed, had walked to Union Station with Bibiana and Domenico Gattozzi, Heather Dunsheath, Catherine Warrington and Heather's cousin Rolf; and they were, of course so tired that they had decided to call and have someone go from the rectory to pick them up! It was about half-past three that we finally headed up into the choirloft and, from joy (and a good bit of show-off-iness, I confess!), I sat down at the organ and gave them a thunderous rendition of the Toccata in D Minor. Then we began to sing, and we practiced Vittoria's Missa: O Magnum Mysterium and Kodaly's Ave Maria until the church began to fill for the six-thirty High Mass of the Immaculate Heart. Father Soos had not been feeling well, so it was Father Young that came in to say Mass to the triumphant music of Dunstable's Agincourt Hymn. The schola was the finest we've had since I forget when; Sam, Father Stanich, Dom, Joe, Bobby, Conrad Griego and Brother Gregory shook the church with the rich sound of their voices... Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gratiae! I felt ready to fly up into heaven indeed. After Mass we had a pizza party downstairs, and then the music began again! My voice was not in good shape so I only sang once, when Father Stanich requested the Habanera from Carmen; the rest of the time I accompanied the others. Sam had his violin out and so did Bibi, and I played the recorder when I wasn't playing the piano, and we had the rafters ringing. It was about eleven by the time we got home with all the girls and past midnight when we got to bed, after having some hot tea to soothe our tired voices!

Saturday was insane; we got up at seven and so many of us still had to shower (it's insane to have nine girls and one bathroom with a working shower!) that we were late to eight o'clock Mass! We had a pleasant breakfast afterward in the rectory and Lucia wore her new T-shirt of Ignacio's design, "Real Men Sing Square Notes;" the general reaction was very funny and Sam, another hard-core chant-lover, insisted on having one. Ignacio agreed to let him. Then we went back up into the church and -- guess what? -- we sang some more! The Mass was really coming together now and though I rested my weakened voice much of the time the choir never seemed to miss it, which I was very glad of. After a delicious lunch in the rectory we went to the basement and played the piano and fiddles for a while before we all piled into our cars (the girls with Father Stanich in the fifteen-seater, the boys in two or three smaller cars) and headed for the New Cathedral. Father Stanich gave us a guided tour and talked about the magnificent mosaics (our New Cathedral has the largest mosaic collection in the world.) Unfortunately when the original designer died his son took over the unfinished Cathedral and the two vaults on either side of the nave are modern and ugly, as well as a couple of mosaics farther back. As we came round behind the high altar I saw a couple of men by the organ and asked if I could play it (it's an incredible instrument!) but they said no. However, when Father Stanich asked if we could sing, one said, "Sure! Why don't you go out in front of the altar and sing up into the dome - that's where you get the best acoustics." It was unbelievable - we sang the Kyrie and Gloria of the Mass and I was dying to sing the rest, but Father warned, "Let's not push our luck." So we scattered and then rejoined to go to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the Chapel of the Holy Souls, then went out and took some group pictures in front of the Cathedral before piling back into the cars and heading for the school. On the way Father Stanich took our van-load of girls to see the statue of St. Louis in front of the Art Museum; then we went to join the others at QHR for a conference on Gregorian chant courtesy of Father Stanich, followed by the Rosary, before the barbecue, courtesy of Dad. It was a blast! We did our parody-of-Much-Ado-About-Nothing; it was a disaster, but fun! And afterwards we built a big bonfire on the field and played and danced in the firelight.

Sunday was the best of all; we sang the High Mass flawlessly, and I took over the organ and had the time of my life when we needed interludes, playing Bach, Dubois, and improvising, as well as joining Bibiana and Sam (violins) and Billy (at the organ) on my recorder to play Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring at Communion. After Mass I knelt down to say my thanksgiving as Bibi and Sam joined Dom at the organ for a Bach Double Concerto - gorgeous! - and all I got out was "Thank you, dear Lord," before I found myself sobbing for no reason at all. Then I went down to the church door with Father Stanich, but we were soon separated in the crowd and I just talked to all my friends and introduced them to the Texans, and we got all sorts of compliments on the Mass and the motets. We ate sandwiches in the basement for lunch, and then I went to the piano and Bibiana got out her violin and we performed Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata for Violin and Piano in F Major. It turned out very well and the parishioners liked it, to judge by the applause. About one-thirty we split into our various cars and drove to Mexico, Missouri, our sister mission-parish, to sing High Mass Number Three this weekend! The chapel is so small that we sang from the vestibule; the voices fairly shook the room. And afterwards we had a really fun potluck dinner in the parish hall, and at one point in the music-making Sam Sentmanat took over the keyboard (on drum setting!) for a hilarious few minutes of jamming out! Heather made a video of it: - it's really noisy, because the parish hall was jammed and everyone was talking at once, but you get the idea...

We got back into St. Louis about nine and headed over to the Flanerys' house for a surprise serenade of Mrs. Flanery, our parish secretary, poetess, actress and mother-of-ten; but alas, Father Young had given away the surprise and so the joke was on us -- the kids met us with cans of silly-string! Father Stanich, who was in the lead, got the worst of it -- I nearly fell down the porch steps trying to escape it, and I didn't see how many of the others got hit; but we all crowded into the house and discovered that Mrs. Flanery wasn't even home, since she and Mr. Flanery had gone to dinner at the house of another parishioner. Father Stanich promptly called to insist they come home, and somehow managed to convince them! So in a few minutes they came in, and we waited for the boys, who had still not arrived... and suddenly there was an explosion of music and in through the front door came Ignacio with his guitar and Sam with his fiddle, playing for all they were worth. We greeted them with cheers and applause and they played on and on; it must have been a full ten minutes before they cut off the last reel. Then Father Stanich, who was in dramatic mode tonight, called for silence and, going down on one knee (much to her dismay!) sang the parody of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" that I had written for Mrs. Flanery, to the accompaniment of Bibiana's violin. She loved it. We went out on the back porch and someone produced some immense cigars, and there was drink and smoke and music until nearly midnight (Ecclesiasticus forgot to mention the tobacco when he said, "Music and wine make glad the heart of man!") At last, however, we bade farewell (we had another eight o'clock Mass to get up for the next day! Ah, me!) and all went home to our houses, hotels and rectories...

Monday being the Feast of Saint Louis, we sang the Missa: O Magnum Mysterium one last time at the eight-o-clock High Mass, as well as Arcadelt's Ave Maria and Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus at Communion. While the choir went downstairs to receive Communion (they always go first), I played Jesu, Joy again, at Father's request, and then went down while the schola sang the Proper. The whole Mass was wonderful! Then we were served a hot breakfast downstairs, and we talked and talked, and of course there was more music, and then Father called for silence for some Announcements! The first was that Jam Session III will probably be in Albuquerque, in Conrad Griego's parish, around Christmastide; and the second (which I had known, but the others hadn't), was that Jam Session 2010 will be in no lesser place than... the Eternal City! I really hope we can all manage to go... I will have to study my Italian very hard indeed! After the announcement I quickly composed a poem and made all the Jammers sign a Spiritual Bouquet for Father Stanich, and gave it to him before I had to leave (all too soon!) for college, for this was also the first day of school. Theory and choir were fun but oh, how I wished I could have been with the others for the trip to Ted Drewes' (ah, St. Louis ice cream!), and the hilarious "group therapy" session everyone told me of later, with Rocio as the "psychologist" with Bobby Murphy's glasses! Ah, well... duty called, and there will be other "therapy sessions" at upcoming jams, promises the psychologist... ah, I love starting traditions!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another poem!

Being home seems to have inspired me more than my travels! I was not very poetic then, but I came up with a new one today as Michelle and I rode home from school. So I present...

The Cyclists' Prayer

The whirling pedals send us
Swiftly down the street;
Our hair in wind is lifting,
In the August heat;

And as we reach the hilltop and
Go spinning down once more,
We look up at the endless sky
That spreads the city o'er,

And lift our voices in a prayer
To Him who lives above it,
To thank Him for inventing
The bike - oh, how we love it!

For giving us a steady hand
And steady eye, that we
May stay upon the sidewalk,
Not run into a tree,

We thank you, dearest Savior;
And for our lungs, as well;
For having lungs to breathe with
Is really pretty swell.

We thank you for strong legs, Lord,
And thank you for our feet;
And for our youth and humor,
Which make our bike rides sweet.

O Christ, who didst create us
And give us strength, today
Protect us as we fly along,
And aid us on our way.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Prayer to Jesus Crucified

I wrote this last summer -- almost exactly a year ago -- at the Benedictine convent of Notre Dame de Toute Confiance in Lamaire, France; and since, of course, I didn't have a computer there, I don't believe I have posted it yet. Here, then, I present my little prayer.

Lest we fail and lest we fall,
Christ Jesu, be with us all.
Lest we fall and lest we fail,
Thou wast torn by scourge and nail.
Lest we die and damned be
Thou didst die upon the Tree;
Then, O Lord, Who suffered thus,
Have Thou mercy upon us.

That we rise to Heaven high,
Thou wast raised on rood to die.
Never let the foe prevail,
Lest we fall and lest we fail!
Blessed Lord that died on rood,
Bless us - bathe us in Thy Blood;
Jesu, lend Thy aid we pray,
That we gain Thy side someday.

By Thy wounds so deep and wide
Spare us, Jesu Crucified!
Thou wast torn by scourge and nail
Lest we fall and lest we fail;
Lest we fail and lest we fall,
Christ Jesu, be with us all!

-- Aug. 26, 2007

Monday, August 11, 2008

Guess Who?

I really just want a new profile picture, but since it's here I challenge everyone (not Ines) to guess who this is and why I picked her. And for bonus points, to connect her to the boy scouts through a rather short chain of associations.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires

Our three days in Mar del Plata were very enjoyable. The first day was cold and grey, but we walked down by the sea to look at the waves, and went up the pedestrian street... mall, might be the word... to look in at shop windows. When we reached the Cathedral we went in to look; it has beautiful stained glass windows and a fine altar. From there we went down to a park where we rented some double bikes (side-by-side, not two-seated) and rode around playing tag. By now we were tired so we went back to the apartment, where we talked and read and so on till dinner.

Day two we went down to the harbor, where we walked down the southern breakwater, past the sea-lion preserve (the smell is incredible!) and then drove back to board the boat that took us on a cruise out across the city, so we could see the whole place from the sea. I enjoyed looking at the waves and watching the few brave wind-surfers who were out there, despite its being winter! Back on shore, we went to the fishing-boats' landing and looked around for a bit, then drove back toward the city, where we went shopping for a sweater for Lucia's birthday present before going back home.

Wednesday we got up late and packed everything into the cars. Before leaving Mar del Plata we went to the Barrio de los Troncos, where the beautiful big log house for which the neighborhood is named, was for sale... ah, to be rich! Then we drove to Santa Clara del Mar, where we parked by the beach and went down to play in the sand for a while. In a minute I had my shoes and stockings off and was knee-deep in freezing grey-green Atlantic, running straight into the waves as they came. By the time we had to go back to the cars my skirt was drenched from hem to knees (though I had gathered it up) and smelled of seawater all the way home, but hey, it was worth it.

Thursday we went to a hands-on science museum called Prohibido No Tocar - very fun. They had a room with explanations of radar and LED's and so on, and little screens with games that applied each technology; the sound room, with all kinds of things; a room on food, calories and bacteria and so on; some optical illusions and gravity games; and a math room I didn't have time to see. There was one more room with mirrors-and-light experiments or something, I think, but I didn't see that one either, since I had stopped to see the presentation on static electricity with a Van de Graaf generator, which was very nice. Then we walked about twenty blocks extra before we found our way to Tia Uki's house, where we had tea with the cousins and spent the rest of the afternoon talking about our trip and calling home before we girls went to the Arbeletche grandparents' ten blocks away to spend the night.

The next day we went to three museums: the Automobile Museum, with all kinds of awesome old cars including a Ferrari; the Museum of Decorative Arts, where there was a wonderful exposition of statues by Rodin and other contemporary artists, including, of course, the famous Thinker; and last to the Museum of Fine Arts, where there were a couple of paintings by Goya, among others, many really lovely. I have the bad habit of forgetting who painted the ones I liked! The top floor had an exposition of Argentinian art as well as some Cubism, which I simply skipped. That evening we all had dinner at Coco and Bibi's apartment, and afterwards Tio Alberto played some hilarious songs by Les Luthiers, a very popular comedy group, on the guitar, and we sang zambas as well.

Saturday we spent the day at Paco and Yaya's with all the other de Erausquin cousins; not a very eventful day, just fun and more or less restful. I taught Tio Alvaro the chords to Lucia's birthday song and he had me write an introduction, which came out okay. Then Rocio and Ignacio went to spend the night with Santiago and Gaspar, and Lu and I went with Coco to Tia Emi's house, where we told them about our trip and heard about their trip to Cordoba during dinner.

Sunday was not particularly eventful either, just... a day of rest, you could say. We went to Mass at the SSPX novitiate nearby and I have to confess I melted into tears at the music; it was the first High Mass we had been to all this trip and it made me feel so at home and happy I had to cry. Monday we also spent the day at home, and there was a terrific storm in the afternoon; but today, since Ignacio and Rocio came last night, we went to a zoo nearby called "Temaiken". It's very well set up and nice, with everything from the usual hippos and zebras to a large aquarium with the 200-year-old skeleton of a blue whale and a glass building with the biggest bats I ever saw! We spent a very pleasant afternoon there with four-year-old Ines, my namesake, and then came back home.

It's hard to believe there are only four days left, not counting what's left of today... Time goes fast when you're having fun!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lucia's Birthday...

was the 31st! We got up about 8:30 and drove out into the mountains again, only this time we went north. This trip encompassed the Quebrada de Humahuaca. The first stop was the little old town of Purmamarca, which had unfortunately become rather a tourist trap since the last time Tio Juancho had been there; the main square was full of tables with all sorts of things to sell. We wanted to go into the church, but it was being mended or something so we couldn't. We did do a bit of shopping, though!

We had a delightful picnic by the Rio Grande, which was ice cold (we sat on the little board bridge and dangled bare feet in the rushing water), and Ignacio stood on the shore and soaked us with big rocks! We all wanted to kill him, but he ran away over the rocky ground too fast for us to catch up... After lunch we drove on to Humahuaca, which is a beautiful old place. We climbed up the monument to those who fought for freedom, looked at the gorgeous Hill of the Seven Colors and took lots of pictures, and went on a mission to find a bombo which ended up failing because we couldn't find one within our price range or of a transportable size. On the long drive home we stopped at the big salt plain, where there must have been a sea a long time ago; the building of the small outpost was built of salt too! When we got home, we headed out to look for a peña, a restaurant where people get together to play traditional music. Most now just have a show; but we ended up (about 11 at night!) finding one where we ate locro, the traditional stew, and the guitarist asked somebody to come up onstage and sing! So Tia Coty shoved me out of my chair and I obliged with the popular Zamba de mi Esperanza. Ignacio went later, and sang a chacarera. At the very end (after they sang Happy Birthday, in case of any birthdays -- there was another gentleman, besides Lucia,) I went and asked the guitarist if he could follow me in the chacarera Lucia had requested for a birthday gift. I forgot the words then from pure nervousness, but here they are now:

Rosa de Luz
Mi hermana pa' su cumpleaños
Me ha pedido chacarera,
No soy gran compositora
Pero venga la primera.

Se llama Lucia Rosa,
Luce rosa florecida;
El capullo de mi canto
Florece para Lucia.

Chacarera, chacarera
Rosa 'e luz que florecio
Feliz cumpleaños Lucia
La primera termino.
Con trenzas de seda oscura
Y una voz de ruiseñores
Lucia pasa cantando
Una flor entre las flores.

A ser novia 'e Jesucristo
Se nos va a Nueva Zelanda
Y sin dejar de ser mia
De toditos sera hermana!

Chacarera, chacarera
Que ya esta por acabar
Feliz cumpleaños Lucia,
Y que cumplas muchos mas!

(I may be able to translate it, but Argentinian folklore doesn't lend itself to translation. We will see.)

Yesterday we just went on a picnic with the family and later went up the mountain where Our Lady has been appearing every Saturday to a lady of Salta called Maria Livia, under the invocation of Immaculate Mother of the Divine and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. The apparition is not as yet approved by the Church so I was a little uncertain, but I did get a chance to say my Rosary as we climbed up to the shrine, which is quite small and very pretty. The "no smoking" and "don't pick the plants" signs along the trail amused me quite a bit!

Today we got up pretty early for our flight back to Buenos Aires at 8 am. We got in about ten and are spending the day resting at Tia Uki(Lu's godmother)'s house. The next plan is to go to Mar del Plata tomorrow after Mass and stay there for three or four days with Tio Claudio, Tia Valeria, Gaspar, Alba and Carla.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mendoza and Salta

After a great rest of the week in Cordoba, including a choir rehearsal with everything from Bruckner to Faure to Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and a trip to the observatory in the nearby hills, we took the bus to Villa Mercedes in the province of San Luis to spend a day with the de Erausquin great-aunts, then took another bus to Mendoza. We were met by an old friend of Dad's, Sergio de la Torre, who drove us to the apartment Tio Gustavo had rented for us, gave us the keys and took us to have some dinner. The week was delightful. We spent one wonderful day up at Sergio's house in the mountains, riding horseback with his sons and finishing up with an asado; drove out into the wine country to visit the Salentein vineyards another day, pausing on the way to see the great statue of Christ the King that towers over the Uco Valley; wandered the city to see the old churches and the big park that fills a good section of the city; and visited with our second cousins on Dad's side, as well as our great-aunt. Friday being the feast of Santiago, patron of Mendoza, we went out on the Peatonal Sarmiento (a street blocked to cars), to watch the traditional dances performed on the big stage.

Sadly, we missed Mass on Sunday because our overnight bus didn't get into Salta until two in the afternoon; but besides this, it was a good day. Tio Juancho, Mami's brother, picked us up and we had lunch at the house of our aunt Constanza's grandparents and met the whole family - her parents, her grandparents, and her brother Rodolfo and his wife Lucia. We talked, played with the two little cousins, Santiago and Fatima (who has Down syndrome, like our own Laura, and is absolutely adorable), and finally played the flutes and sang for everyone. Later we saw the immense house Juancho and Coty are building before going to their current house, which is in a beautiful private neighborhood. We were up pretty late, which resulted in our sleeping in a lot on Monday, but we did go out into the city that afternoon. After going up the aerial railway to the Cerro San Bernardo, which has a nice park with a waterfall and some really nice views, we went down to see the Cathedral, which is beautiful and has (not content with one) three miraculous images!!! namely, Our Lady of Tears, and Our Lord and Lady of the Miracle (a painting, a crucifix, and a statue respectively.) I said, therefore, a prayer before each, and admired the beautiful altarpiece and the finely painted ceiling. We walked down to S. Francisco, whose most evident visual feature are the deep-red outer walls with white and gold trim; and we wanted to see San Bernardo, but it was closed, so we couldn't. We did walk back across the Plaza 9 de Julio, where the Cathedral is, and see the church of La Merced on the other side. There is a statue of Our Lady with the General's blue and white ribbon across her chest, given her before some battle (alas, I know not my own country's history!)

Yesterday we had a very long day! We got up early-ish and drove out into the mountains, going up and down past view after glorious view until we came up over the clouds and got to the beautiful old town of Cachi. We visited the church, which has some very pretty statues, drove round into the valley beyond for about an hour, and then came back into town to have lunch at a restaurant where we ate locro, the traditional stew. It was very good! Then we started driving back, blew a tire on the gravel before reaching Molinos, but changed it and got the broken one fixed in Molinos so we would have a spare in case it happened again. Fortunately it didn't, and when we were almost home Coty's grandmother called to offer us some tickets to a choir concert by Ars Nova, the children's choir of Salta. We all went, and the choir was excellent, though some of the music was modern and weird.

Today we got up late again, being very tired from yesterday, and went to the Archaeology Museum to see the mummies they had found high in the mountains. There were two on display; one from a volcano where they had found three (they display them by turns), all from sacrifices (the poor children had been left to freeze; one wa six, one fifteen, and one seven!), and one from a different place who had been dug up in 1920 and had been wandering around from hand to hand since then, until the museum acquired her in 2006.

Tomorrow is Lucia's birthday and it will be another long day!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Well, what have we done in the last week?

We saw the Manzana de las Luces, an old Jesuit mission, on Thursday night and heard a choral concert; I played a solo concert on Friday for a group of my grandmother's friends, and they asked me when we were coming back; on Sunday after touring La Boca and seeing St. Felicitas (from the outside) we took the overnight bus to Alta Gracia, and here we are.

Here we saw the beautiful main church and the Jesuit mission museum. There was furniture from the Jesuit time and from when it was the Viceroy's house, including everything from millstones to a spinning wheel to gorgeous bedroom and dining room furniture, and the forge in the back garden. There are still orange and lemon trees in the front courtyard and I was dying to pick some! We also went into the city of Cordoba and saw the Cathedral, the Cabildo (government house) and the churches of St. Francis and the Capuchins; this last (which was actually the first we saw) is gorgeous. The brick is laid in stripes and of the two towers, one has a spire and one doesn't. We were told later that the complete one represents the infinity of God, and the unfinished one the finity of man.

That's all for Cordoba and Alta Gracia so far. Tonight we're promised some fun with the parish youth group!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On with the show...

After a good time at my godfather's house on Saturday, with a delicious barbecue and a grand concert of piano, guitar, voices and flutes, Tio Alvaro (the youngest of the four de Erausquin brothers) picked us up and we drove down to the Seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix at La Reja for First Saturday evening Mass. The church is gorgeous; I had never seen the inside of it before, even in pictures. Unfortunately we didn't have the camera out to take any either. After Mass we drove back to Tio Alvaro's house in Bella Vista for dinner, after which we all piled into the car to go to the Feria Persa, a sort of mall, to get some movies. In the end we didn't watch any of the ones we got, however, since we had Mass the next day.

On Sunday we went to 9:30 Mass and then the boys and the younger girls (Rocio and Alvaro's two girls) jammed into the car for Santiago's hockey practice and Tia Gabriela, Lucia and I waited for the bus. On the way it got a flat tire, so we stopped in the Parque Rivadavia, which has a book fair every day, and got some new books (quite old, really, but new for us!) By then Santi's practice was over so we all went to the Feria de Mataderos. There were stands and stands with everything from jewelry to ponchos to clothes to musical instruments, and we looked all over. Halfway down the fair was the big stage and there were people dancing zambas and chacareras, so we stopped to watch. Just then a friend of the family (who had asked us to let him know when we were in town) called our cell-phone, and came to find us, since he happened to be at the fair too! His wife and two friends were with him, and we chatted for a good while and finally parted ways, but Tio Alvaro told them to call and come over to the house later that evening. They did, therefore, and we had a lot of fun discussing what makes a great writer and why some writers are good but not great, and playing music. They left before dinner to drive back into the city, and we ate and then stayed up playing music or reading or talking.

On Monday not much went on. Ignacio and Santiago started building a catapult and Lucia fenced with Tio Alvaro, and I didn't do much but practice furiously,;I think it must have been all the days of not playing before! That night Jorgelina showed us some of her ballet, and we listened to opera (La Traviata, singing along!), and then Rocio and I watched Jackie Chan in a really neat movie, The Forbidden Kingdom.

Today we went to the children's school to watch their Independence Day production (the actual day is tomorrow, but the presentation was today). Pilar's kindergarten class did a little play about the Congress in Tucuman when it was decided that Argentina should be independent, and did some dances. The older children had some short recitations and a song by the Argentinian composer Maria Elena Walsh, and one of the professors recited a poem with a background of guitar music.

Last, here is the translation of the sonnet from last post. It is not entirely literal, but I tried...

At the Consecration
O wonder! miracle no words can say!
That God should come from heaven down to earth,
Hiding within a humble Host His worth,
To bless me - poor and wretched thing of clay,

The clay that, deigning with His hand to touch,
He formed in His own image, by His grace,
To please Him and to see at last His face...
And I, ungrateful! -- I have sinned so much!

How many times now have I cast away
The love and grace offered me every day
By Him who died upon the Cross for me?

Redeemer Sacramental, take my hand
And help me to fulfill all Thy command -
To answer "Yes!" to each request from Thee.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

En la Consagracion

Here is my Spanish sonnet. Those who don't know Spanish will have to wait for a translation... :) and I don't know how good it would be, either, but we shall see.

Milagro! indecible maravilla!
Que el Dios del cielo haya descendido,
En una humilde hostia escondido,
A bendecirme a mi - pobre chiquilla,

Pedazo de la arcilla que el Dios Santo
En su misericordia ha formado
En su imagen, para darle agrado...
Y yo, ingrata, le he ofendido tanto!

Ay! cuantas veces ya he rechazado
La gracia y el amor que me ha brindado
El que en la Cruz sufrio y murio por mi!

Oh, Cristo, Redentor sacramentado,
Ayudame a hacer lo que has mandado -
A contestar a cuanto pidas, "SI!"

Friday, July 4, 2008

What a week!

Here is the recap, therefore, of it all.

Saturday was spent at Tia Emi's house, amid the happy chaos of her children, Clara, Tomas (Tato), my namesake Inés, better known as Ichu, and Josefina. We had a fun time, mostly resting, and lots of music of all kinds, from zambas to Irish music to arias, and Rocio did some flamenco dancing. Sunday we headed back into the city to Tio Claudio's house, for Alba's birthday party, which was a lot of fun. After the party we went to seven o'clock Mass at the SSPX chapel, and at the Consecration a sonnet began to take shape in my mind -- unusually, in Spanish! -- and I wrote it down after dinner at our grandparents' house, (Tata's parents, not Mami's).

Monday, the 30th was a day of failures. After lunch, we headed out to the Planetarium, but it was closed! So after we rested a bit by the lake, we decided to go look at a couple of churches marked on the map. The first was closed, so we went on to the second. Both were modern messes, so we just went home after saying hello to Our Lord, who was on the main altar, for a change, of the second church. At home we played several games of sequence, with Ignacio and me teamed up against Lucia and Rocio. We won two and they won two, but after that we had to clear the table for dinner.

Tuesday was even more chaotic, because as we were cooking lunch Rocio came in from her bedroom clutching one hand in the other and crying quietly. She only said she had cut herself trying to open the window, so Lucia said, "Well, put it under the faucet." It was only when we did that that she started screaming, and we realized it was really bad. She had caught her finger against the lock of the other window and sliced it to the bone. Thank heaven Paco (our grandfather) is a doctor, so he got it bandaged as best he could. It was insane - Lucia holding Rocio in her lap on a chair and both of them trying not to faint, me not much better off on the sofa, and Ignacio not helping by his off-hand attitude. He did call Tata to remark, "Rocio cut her finger and the girls are all freaking out," which was true, but not helpful! Yaya called for a taxi but just then Tio Alvaro arrived and took everything in hand. He insisted on calling Tata, who told him to take her to the German Hospital, and he left Ig and me in charge of his kids while he drove Yaya, Rocio and Lucia to the hospital. They were there the rest of the afternoon, and we passed the time by talking. Jorgelina studied quietly on the sofa, little Pilar bounced off the walls, Paco dozed and Santiago showed Ignacio... how to make a virus!!! Past six, Rocio and the others came home. The finger had been fractured (ouch!) so she had a big stiff bandage on her hand! We had a pleasant dinner at Tio Claudio's house, and then went home to bed. Yaya remarked to me, (look at the bright side, haha!) "Good thing it wasn't you!" (For those who don't know, I'm studying to be a concert pianist... so yeah, it would have been infernal to break a finger now.)

On Wednesday we walked a few blocks to "La Redonda", the beautiful church of the Immaculate Conception, with gorgeous murals all round the walls (some restored by Yaya, who paints and restores icons). We also saw the two museums across the plaza, the Sarmiento Museum (dedicated to the founder of the Argentinian school systems), and the Larreta Museum, which has a lot of fine carvings and old furniture and a gorgeous garden. But lo and behold, Tio Claudio and Tio Alvaro appeared and said Tata had made an appointment for Rocio with a hand specialist at the British Hospital, so we drove back home with them and Alvaro took Lu, Ro and Yaya to the hospital. Ig played chess with Paco and I read until they came home. Rocio had a new splint and waxed eloquent about the specialist, who had been very nice to her, refused to take a cent from Tio Alvaro for his work, and told her to come to his own clinic on Monday. That night we saw the last act of "Pia di Tolomei" on TV, but we didn't see who sang because that had been in the opening credits. It was rather annoying!

Thursday afternoon Ig and I walked out to the "Monumental", River Plate's stadium (and no, I'm not a River fan, though Ig is), to watch Gaspar (Tio Claudio's son) practice. Today we walked to San Telmo and saw the Museo Historico Nacional, the Parque Lezama, and the beautiful parish church of St. Pedro Telmo, after whom the barrio is named.

This week won't be really over till tomorrow, but all that's going to happen then as far as I remember, is that we're going to Tio Gustavo's for an asado. It should be fun, anyway!

Friday, June 27, 2008

To St. Thomas Aquinas

My grandfather was talking, the other day, about how few people realize how many great and wonderful people came out of the Church. This sonnet to one of them blossomed from that conversation.

O Thomas, you did never doubt at all
The truths God gave to you to understand;
You wrote with skill and wisdom at His call
And He did guide your never-faltering hand.
You spoke but seldom, so men called you dumb -
Not one to waste your breath on useless speech;
But when at need you spoke with great wisdom,
Albert did say your words all men would reach!
You wrote of God, Whom you did love so well;
You wrote for God, and thus so well did write,
Since He gave you the grace His truths to tell,
And made you wise enough to choose aright -
So when He asked, "What wouldst thou have of Me?"
You answered, bold and wise - "Lord, only Thee!"

--June 25, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Second and Third Adventures

On Thursday we walked out to the Recoleta cemetery. It is a city of the dead - there is no other word for it; a city that, in Lu's clever phrase, will be very busy at the Last Judgment! - six acres of monumental mausoleums, once an orchard belonging to the Padres Recoletos (we couldn't figure out what order that translates to!) We also visited the church beside it, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, which is very beautiful. Then we wandered out toward the Museo de las Bellas Artes, but ended up backtracking to a restaurant Tata had recommended for lunch and then walking back toward home, leaving the museum for another day and visiting one more church, San Agustin, on the way.

Today was very busy in terms of walking! Lucia, Rocio and I walked over to pick up Ignacio and Francisco, and we all took the Subte up to Congress, a beautiful building (which we only admired from the outside.) In the plaza everything was chaos because two opposing groups have been camping out in it to protest. What I gathered is that one group is the people from the farms, who are opposing the government's taking almost half their profits; and the others are for the government. So it was all big tents and microphones blaring and crowds of people from both groups and the media. We moved away down the Avenida de Mayo to the Avenida 9 de Julio, where we visited the Obelisk that is set up where the flag was first raised. From there, after eating some hot dogs by a fountain, we went to the Teatro Colon, which unfortunately is under intensive restoration so we couldn't go in. But we did visit the museum downstairs and saw the tiny models of the sets for previous operas, and the magnificent costumes and props, as well as a short video detailing some history and behind-the-scenes views.

From here we walked up to the Cathedral, where we scattered for a bit. I looked at the side altars and paused to say hello to Our Lord, and then we all went out and walked all the way around the Pink House. Francisco pointed out the President's office, and we saw the changing of the guard. Back where we had started, we crossed the Plaza to the Cabildo (the old government house), where a guided tour was just starting, so we attached ourselves to it. The guide took us up into the conference room and showed us a big painting of the open session in which Argentina decided to break away from Spain, because Napoleon had taken over and the last thing they wanted was to be under the French. The tour done, we boarded the Subte for home and tea. Tata is coming over in a while for dinner.

Tomorrow we are going to Tia Emi's house, and then Sunday we move to the de Erausquin side of the family, beginning with Alba's birthday party, and Week One will be over! Tempus fugit...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The First Adventures!

Well, my friends, now we've actually done some stuff I can tell about.

On the 23rd we landed and had a day of rest, basically, no real action. On the 24th, however, we walked down to the Abasto. This big building used to be the public market and it was nearby that the great tango singer Carlos Gardel grew up, the reason he got the nickname "el morocho del Abasto". When Buenos AIres grew bigger the place was shut down, but when there was a threat of tearing it down the city decided to turn it into a shopping mall. The ornate exterior was cleaned and the inside was completely gutted and rebuilt into a huge, modern mall. We saw some of the outside and went in to see an exposition called "DaVinci: The Genius". There were models of many of his inventions. Some you couldn't touch, but some actually worked and you could play with them. There were complicated systems of levers and pulleys to lift heavy weights, ball-bearings to reduce stress on wheels, and a room with mirror walls that reflects you infinitely, as well as musical instruments of all kinds. There were also a couple of videos, one on his life and one on the Last Supper.

Last but most impressive to me was the series of digital photographs of the Mona Lisa taken by a French photographer, which range from ultraviolet to infrared. He digitally peeled away layers of old varnish and paint to disclose the original colors Leonardo used. There were huge enlargements of sections in infrared, ultraviolet, current color, and true color, and finally a wall with the picture in real size, in the same series of color. The Mona Lisa now seems almost monochromatic - greens and yellows predominate. It wasn't always so. The sky, painted with lapis lazuli, is a gorgeous blue; her dress is a vibrant red with gold undersleeves; her hair, too, is shining dark red, which surprised me. Her face is rosy and fair, not the rather yellowish tinge it has now. If you think the Mona Lisa's beautiful as is, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Hopefully this exhibition, which is traveling the world, will come to St. Louis. It would be great to have it at home for a while. It was well worth the thirty pesos each (about ten or twelve dollars) for the Mona Lisa pictures alone, if you ask me.

Then today we walked to the Botanical Garden - pretty, but very small; the Zoo, with ducks, geese and things that looked like big rabbits wandering everywhere; the Planetarium, which we didn't go into; the beautiful Rosedal, which simply means rose garden, with a profusion of different roses and a nice big lake with boats (we considered renting one, but decided not to in the end); and last, the lovely Japanese Garden, with streams and waterfalls and curvy bridges. In the middle we stopped for lunch at what would be a hot dog stand in the US, but here we had the most delicious bratwurst, or chorizo in our terms, for little over a dollar apiece and well worth more. We have another path all planned out with the Cathedral, the Pink House (Argentina's Presidential Palace), and some other buildings nearby, but I think that's for Friday; so we shall see what we'll do tomorrow!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Adventure Begins...

not very adventurously, I have to say.

Ignacio, Lucia, Rocio and I were in plenty of time for our plane from St. Louis to Washington, D.C. The thing was (and well we knew this!) that we had only a forty-minute margin between the landing in D.C. and takeoff for Buenos Aires. We had no problem with that; we have eight perfectly good legs between the four of us, and we could have made it easily, despite the fact that the plane was already twenty minutes behind schedule when we checked in.

Twenty minutes became forty. I began to pray that our flight to Argentina would be late taking off.

Forty minutes became an hour and no sign of the plane. I still thought, "Well, we might be incredibly lucky..." but I didn't really think so any more. I went to sit by Lu and Ro, who were talking to a gentleman from Korea who is a professor at one of the universities in D.C. He was really sweet and funny. He said to Rocio, "You so beautiful, like an angel. An angel from Argentina, Buenos Aires," and went off into chuckles. Before we boarded he gave us his card and said, "You come to Washington, you call me. I give you free guided tour." We bade him a cheerful goodbye and went to get in line.

Two hours and twenty minutes late we took off at last, and landed in D.C. about half-past eleven. We went to get rebooked, and found United had already done it for us. The gentleman at the desk treated us royally, giving us seats together in a row near the front where there is lots of room. Silvio, Dad's friend, called and told us where to meet him, and we got home about half-past midnight, had dinner (we were starved!) washed up and went to bed.

Today we got up, went to Mass, got lost on the way home, and napped or read; not much done. Silvio went to an archery tournament early, and won first prize; when he came back he showed us his bows, and soon we will have dinner and be on our way. The flight leaves at 9:45, but though we have no luggage to check, we are taking no chances!

When we get to Argentina maybe there will be something more fun to post. Meanwhile, God bless all readers!

The Argentinian Adventuress, A.R.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An Unsolvable Mystery...

A man walking on the beach one day found a bottle washed up by the waves. Curious, he opened it, and out popped a genie.
"You have freed me, master! Now I will grant you three wishes, whatever your heart desires."
The delighted man said, "Well, I want to have all the money in the world," and it was done.
"And I would like to be the President of the United States."
And it was done.
"Now... there's one other thing. I would really love to go to Hawaii. But I'm afraid of flying, and boats make me seasick. So can you build me a highway from California to Hawaii?"
The genie looked dismayed. "That's a lot of work. You can't think of anything else?"
The man looked thoughtful. "Well... I have always wanted to understand women."
"Two lanes or four?" gasped the genie.
Inspired by this joke my brother told me, I wrote the following poem.
An Unsolvable Mystery

There's something about women
That the men will never get;
Although their brains they cudgel
They haven't got it yet;
The mystery of woman,
The answer none can find,
That makes them both the plague
And the delight of all mankind.
They cannot understand us -
Our ways, our trains of thought,
Our passions and emotions,
Men comprehend them not.
And though the wisest teachers
And doctors of the land
Have studied and have lectured,
They cannot understand;
And though to fathom women
They try and try again,
We will remain forever
A mystery to men.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Indeed, I do wonder... how do people not believe in God?

Who looks upon the sunset sky
Aflame with violet, rose and gold
And, as he gazes, can deny
The One Who made this sight unfold?

Who looks upon the rushing flood,
The glory of the waterfall,
And says that no Creator could
Exist? How else could it befall?

What fools - what fools these mortals be
That gaze on all these things displayed
And say they "happened" randomly,
When only God could such have made

So wondrous, and so wondrously?
O mad men, creatures of the sod,
How can ye see eternity
And yet exclaim, "There is no God?"

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Two Sonnets to Our Lady

One is an acrostic. One is not. The first was written two or three days ago, the second tonight, for the Queenship of Mary. May her name be praised!

Virgo Maria, Audi

Virgin above all Virgins far most fair
In anguish now we cry and call on thee,
Repeating, "Mary, aid us, hear our plea;
God will forgive, if thou dost join our prayer."
Over the mists of years dissolved in air,
Many the soul that cries in agony
And, saved by its recourse, O Queen, to thee,
Repeats its praises unto thee fore'er.
Iniquity and sin our souls o'er-stain
And in this valley dark of tears and pain
All men, here born to weep, cry in their fear,
"Unless thou aid us, Mother, we must burn;
Defend us from the ire we well did earn,
In mercy, Mother, Virgin Mary, hear!"

Mariae Reginae
O Queen of earth, upon this earth wast made
To grace it with a presence half-divine,
To bring to us the Son of God and thine,
And being Mother, still remained a Maid.
O Queen of heaven, see, we are afraid,
For we deserve all pain, by just design;
But, Mary, by thy plea our prayers refine
That God's great wrath in mercy may be stayed.
O Queen that rises as the rising dawn,
More fair than sun or moon to look upon,
Terrible as an army in array,
Be unto us a Queen, but Mother, too;
And while thy foemen fade as morning dew,
Lead us, thy children, to the light of day.

Monday, May 26, 2008


This is posted under my name, but it is not mine: it is the work of CECILIA!!!!


The weasel is tall and thin
And you must not let it get in
To your house, and if it does, beware,
For it can hide 'most anywhere!
It eats your chickens and roosters too,
And it must be very close to you
For you to catch this animal,
Who can be as furious as a bull!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Corpus Christi Eve

This was written yesterday after we made the usual huge sawdust paintings on the sidewalk. The vibrant colors fairly shimmered even under the street-lamps and this evening's procession was lovely. If I can get Father Young to send me the pictures I will post some.

The Sidewalk-Painters' Ballad

The afternoon is sunny,
No cloud is in the sky,
And underneath the heavens
Bright colors catch the eye,

Scarlet and green and azure,
Gay gold and creamy white
Are spread across the sidewalk
In bands of rainbow light.

The Host and Chalice form there
Between the grapes and wheat,
The fleur-de-lys is shining
Beside the lambkin sweet,

And all the pictures shimmer
In colors bright and gay
To do the Master honor
On Corpus Christi Day.

Tomorrow is the feastday
When every knee is bent
To honor Christ our Savior,
The Holy Sacrament,

And so for Him to tread on
We make the sidewalk fair
And for the great procession
A carpet we prepare;

In honor of our Jesus,
With song and laughter gay,
We make our sawdust paintings
For Corpus Christi Day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Be Prepared!

Anyone who is a fan of Tom Lehrer, with his extremely pointed wit and knack for hilarious songs (although some you have to look out for), will know what this is a parody of, and therefore what tune belongs to it. Anyone who isn't has to look him up.

Be prepared!
That's the trad-cat's marching song,
Be prepared
As through life you march along;
Be prepared to fight to prove the Faith is true,
Don't forget to pray and give Our Lord His due;
Be prepared
And behave extremely well,
To be sure
That you won't end up in hell,
If a devil comes to tempt you on a jolly summer day
Sign the Cross and say "Begone!" and he will scream and run away,
And you'll laugh to just remember how he stared...
Be prepared!

Be prepared!
That's the trad-cat's solemn creed,
Be prepared
And be clean in word and deed,
Go to Mass and say your Rosary each day,
So after death you'll have no stops along the way!
Be prepared
To be called for any time,
Be prepared,
Keep your soul all free of grime,
So that when the Master calls you on the final Judgment Day
You can dash right up to meet Him with a smile bright and gay, --
Won't be nervous, won't be flustered, won't be scared --
Be prepared!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Prayer to the Holy Family

This one is very old indeed; one of the oldest I actually kept. I was probably nine or ten at the oldest when I wrote it.

Prayer to the Holy Family

Jesus Christ, my loving Lord,
Son of Mary, Joseph's Ward,
Lead me, Truth and Way and Light,
All the day and all the night.

Mary, Mother of my God,
Help my soul in its onward plod
Towards thy heaven from my earth,
From the world of thy Son's birth.

Joseph, Mary's holy spouse,
Protect my family and my house;
Spouse of the Virgin ever pure,
Lead my soul on the path all-sure

Which leads to heaven ever bright,
Where angels dwell in eternal light;
Where Jesus and Mary dwell, so dear,
Enthroned with thee in eternal cheer.

Of Rabbits

Michelle discovered an adorable baby bunny in the parking lot of Walgreens the other day and, seeing him nearly run over by a car, determined to save him from an inevitable fate. The poor little guy wasn't even big enough to jump up on the curb, so she scooped him up and carried him with her to Mass at school; where, as he could not be in the chapel, she put him in one of Gloria's cleaning buckets, under the pew in the hall. Thence came his name, and this poem.

Bucket Underpew

O hear and I will sing to you
The Bunny Bucket Underpew,
A little rabbit brave and bold,
Who, being but a few weeks old,
Did from his great ancestral home
Into a Walgreens parking roam,
And there, where many dangers are,
Was nearly flattened by a car,
But (as I do to you relate,)
Was rescued from that dreadful fate,
For pity in the heart did swell
Of Miss Michelle-y Mik-e-sell,
And so this rabbit that did roam
Was picked right up and carried home;
And as to Mass she went her way
She hid him 'neath a pew, they say,
And so she named him, it is true,
The Bunny Bucket Underpew.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sanctity + Attitude =...?

So, Michelle and I were having lunch together the other day, and we were talking about martyrdom. Michelle remarked cheerfully, "You know, I wouldn't mind being martyred, but I don't want to be all scared and meek; I want to go out with a 'tude!" I had to laugh at her idea, and laughed even more when she said, "Yeah, I want to tell the Communists "One-way ticket to heaven? Bring it on! No layovers!"

The idea brought a rhyme into my head at once and as we walked back to school I started spouting off lines that made her choke with laughter. When we reached the school I sat down and wrote this poem, with all Michelle's lively Californian flavor.
Note that "sick", in Michelle's California-verse, is equivalent to "cool..."

Sanctity + Attitude =...

Oh, I will sing to you today
A girl from Cali-for-ni-ay,
Who with her wit and humor great
Made all the Commies quite irate.
Her name, my friend, to you I'll tell,
As I've been told, it was Michelle.
She mocked the mindless modernists,
She mocked the evolutionists,
And when it came to Communists
She laughed and made all sorts of jists...
Her hair was long, her eyes were blue,
Her cheeks were pink as rose in dew,
And sure she was a lovely lass,
Who loved her prayers and Holy Mass.
The Commies watched her every day
With wrathful eye as she would pray
For every Commie to convert,
And oh, they swore they'd make her hurt!
They called her into court one day,
And unto her these words did say:
"You, girl, are very vehement
Against the people's government;
Are you a Catholic, Michelle?"
She answered coolly, "Can't ya tell?"
With rage they smacked her in the head,
She smiled, though her cheek was red,
But when her life they swore to snatch,
Grinned, "Throw me in that brier patch!"
"Your death," they warned, "will not be quick!"
"Slow martyrdom?" she chuckled."Sick!
A one-way pass to heaven's gate?
Bring it on, homie, I can't wait!"
They pulled her hair and beat her hard,
But never was she off her guard;
She laughed and teased and never feared,
And firmly thus she persevered.
At last they said, "You must be shot!"
She crossed herself and saddened not;
But as they signalled with a drum,
She called out, "Yo Lord -- here I come!"
And so to heaven she flew away,
So to Michelle now let us pray;
The Commies thought her very rude,
But I would call it -- sancti-'tude.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Acrostic of the Name of Mary

Mary, what can I say in praise of thee?
All words fail to describe thy holiness;
Royal scion of David's noble tree,
Your beauty doth surpass all loveliness.

Many have sought to praise thee worthily
And better poets than I have fallen short;
Repeatedly I fail to praise enough,
Yet still I strive to praise thee as I ought.

Mother above all Mothers loving, sweet,
Above the Angels brilliant white in grace,
Rose of the world, Lily of purity,
Your glory glorifies the human race!

Mary, O hear my prayer, my Mother dear,
As thou art pure, help me to stay unstained,
Remember me, help me, till by thy aid
Your side, and your Son's footstool, I have gained.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Good morning, all ye posters and readers,

Here is a great joke to brighten up your day!

A man and his wife were sitting in the living room discussing a"Living Will"

The husband after reflecting sincerely on the matter, told his wife,
"Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

His most faithful wife, wanting to comply with his wishes, reflected a moment as well.
Then she got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all the beer.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy Ascension!

And here is the Introit, versified in a record minute (not counting the time it took me to look up the Introit online because I didn't remember it all!) :)

Why stand ye looking upward thus,
O men of Galilee?
As ye have seen the Lord ascend,
Returning ye will see.
O nations, clap your hands, and cry
With joyful voice to God on high!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Victimae Paschali Laudes

Here is a translation of the sequence of Easter. I tried to keep the rhyme-scheme and rhythm of the original Latin; be you the judges of how well I managed.

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Immolate your praises bright!
Now the Lamb his sheep doth buy;
Christ unto the Father high,
Unstainéd, sinners all doth reunite.
Death and life most wondrously
Battled for the victory;
The Lord of Life once slain,
Living doth reign!
O Mary! tell us, pray,
What saw you on the way?
The grave of Christ, God's living Son,
The glory of the arising One,
The angels from on high,
The shroud and cloth saw I.
Christ my hope has risen, He
Precedes you into Galilee!
We know that Christ has risen
From death, verily;
To us, O Victor-King,
Show thy mercy!
Amen. Alleluia.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Regina Caeli, Jubila

Call it late, but I say "Hey, we're still in Paschaltide." Wherefore, in a new translation, here you have it.

O Queen of Heaven, joyful be;
Rejoice, O Mary!
The clouds defeated break and flee,
Rejoice! rejoice, O Mary!

The One thou didst deserve to bear,
Rejoice, O Mary!
Arises now from Death's dark snare,
Rejoice! rejoice, O Mary!

The darts of death are snapped in twain,
Rejoice, O Mary!
And Death by Jesus now lies slain,
Rejoice! rejoice, O Mary!

Now comfort conquers bitterness,
Rejoice, O Mary!
Mourning gives place to happiness,
Rejoice! rejoice, O Mary!

--Inés de Erausquin
April 20, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Name Decoder!

I discovered a fun name decoder! I discovered I have a few interesting qualities I didn't know about! At least secundum this....

p align="center">Intelligent Networked Exploration Soldier

Cybernetic Operational Neohuman Calibrated for Efficient Peacekeeping, Ceaseless Infiltration and Online Nullification

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Only a Child

When I was twelve or so, I wrote this, inspired by the Gospel incident.

Once Jesus said to his disciples,
“Ye all must be gentle and mild,
For ye may not enter my kingdom,
Unless ye be like to a child.”

He took a small boy that was near him,
Saying “Be like this lad, be not wild,
For none enters Heaven’s fair kingdom
If he be not as only a child.

“A child both in heart and in spirit,
An infant in love and in mind,
For it is from infants and babes that
We hear God’s praise, loving and kind.”

He blessed the young boy and caressed him
And sent him away, and then smiled;
“Ye cannot enter heaven,” he told them,
“If ye be not as only a child.”

Friday, April 4, 2008

Waiting on Summer

My last and final post for today, is simply to say that I would be bringing you another post of my travels over the Easter Break except for the fact that I did not travel over this break. For this report, you will have to look to Colleen. I had planned to meet her in Paris or Nevers and travel around France by train with her and another friend, Ally. There was a miscommunication between me and the computer and my Rail Pass failed to be directed as it should have been. Since I had already spent money to buy it I couldnt well afford to buy more train tickets. At any rate, Colleen and Ally have traveled to Nevers, Lyon, La Salette and Marseille or St.Baume. You will have to ask them for the details. I am holdiong down the fort, er, convent in St. Macaire and doing my best to break out of the hermitage and learn French. I have 3 months left and Colleen has 4 unless someone springs about 200 US Dollars for one of us to change our plane ticket: either I change to July 30th and keep her company or she changes to June 30th and flies home with me. Otherwise we are both set in our current plans. Keep us in your prayers abd we will do the same for you. Happy Easter Season! Look forward to a post on Chartres Pilgrimage sometime in the far distant future. I sent my registration form in this week. Colleen plans to travel otherwise during that break, so alas we will still not be together in France.

March 14th

The last Friday in Lent before Good Friday this year saw me on another field trip of sorts. A group of students, nuns and my hermitess-self went to the nearby village of Verdalais to make the Stations of the Cross, here known as Chemin de Croix. There is a beautiful church there with a gleaming GOLD statue upon the spire. It used to be a great pilgrimage sight in medevial times and there were a great number of plaques on the wall testifying to the many miracles Our Lady has performed for the pilgrims. (There is a Latin name for these plaques, but I cannot recall it at present.) Next to the church is a great hill and a cemetary on the hill. As you climb the hill, about half way up there is a small chapel and the outdoor way of the cross begins. It ends with a crucifiction scene on top of the large hill overlooking a lot of the region of Bordeaux. It was very impressive and helpful for meditation, in fact I did it again yesterday as I found myself out and walking around that area. But that is another story.

Adventures in France 2

March 7th
The Patron of Catholic schools and the greatest glory of the Dominican order, yes, you guessed him, St. Thomas Aquinas feast day was celebrated on March 7th by what I can only describe as a field day. The whole school was removed to the nearby village of Cadillac for the day. A High Mass complete with organ music, a rare thing for us, was celebrated in the beautiful village church and then there was a seperating of the students into groups for a sort of scavenger hunt. We went all around the town and stopped at local historical sights or places of note. We saw a pilgram house for those on the way to Compostella, which also served as a sick house for the poor, which as far as I was able to gather is still in use today. We saw 2 city portes or gates and a plaza of sortes, the chateau exterior and ramparts, the church of course. The children learned about the towns history etc, but since I, the turtle brain that I am, can still not understand French, I could only pick up bits and pieces. Yes, they are dissapointed in me and dismayed as the normal foreigner implanted in this environment can usually pick it up in about 3 months. What gives? I, the hermitess, have not the gift for languages. Help me, Holy Ghost, with your gift of the tongues!
back to the blog:
We had our picnic lunch in a parking lot of sorts. I think we were supposed to be in a park, but it was inaccessible or else not big enough for everyone. The students had to answer a series of questions after lunch. I suppose they were fairly challenging as it seemed to absorb them for quite a time. Meanwhile the younger children were running around and one of the girls in our group bloodied her knee, but I digress. We ended the day with the rosary inside the church and chocolate and bread, just like every other day, but the chocolate was a sort of truffle and the bread was sweet. The children returned with their parents many of who came out for the Mass and later for the Rosary, I and one other American student returned to the school for a nice, quiet weekend, cloister style! oh ya

Adventures in Ireland?

Before Lent, (Yes, I know that was a while back as I am posting this after Easter or Paque as they say here in France) Anna-Marie and I spent a week in Ireland on the pre-Lenten vacation of our Dominican schools.
By train from our respective schools to Cherbourg, France,
by Ferry from Cherbourg to Rosslare Harbour, Ireland. We were both very sea sick as the sea was choppy, it being winter;
We picked up a rental car in RH, Ireland.
The goal was to drive to Tralee for free room and board with my cousin; we stopped along the way to view scenery, Anna-Marie has the eyes of a hawk and she spotted a waterfall far off the road, we found it: She also led us to an abbey, Mount Melleray.
We stopped at a take away and had a burger and chips. Upon the sky growing dark, we found a bed and breakfast near New Ross or Waterford and luckily they took us in. We went over to a pub recommended by our hostess and Anna-Marie had her first Guiness. Also we were "priveleged" to hear some local patrons singing drinking songs. We discussed the causes of the Civil War, admired their small coal fire, went "home" and crashed, slept, that is.
The next day, we saw Waterford Crystal, world famous, and Christ Church exterior, where William Wallace is said to have been baptized. Drove on to Tralee. Small island, smaller than all of Missouri.
We spent one day driving around Dingle Peninsula. It was beautiful, sky kept changing; we saw several rainbows, many sheep grazing, stopped in a couple of churches; the Irish seem to love St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes, they were often seen depicted at the Grotto...
Back at my cousins we mostly vegged out, caught up on movies, and ate non-French food! We also watched the Presidential nomination updates, foreigners are very interested in our political system... and we discussed with my cousin the god of organized religion and the god of nature: I dont know if we really approached the Triune God of the Catholic Faith; she was a bit skittish and I am sorry to report that I got a bit hot under the collar and went to bed. Anna-Marie with less of a temper fared better. Next day walked and drove around downtown Tralee and had pub fare, saw a church, bookstore, etc. It was raining on and off and so we were ducking in places.
y cousin drove us out to see a ruined castle at twilight, unfortunately it gets dark in Ireland early in the winter, 4-ish and cut our sightseeing short. She drove us around a bit more, we just couldnt see much by the headlights. We headed out the next day for Dublin by way of Cohb so that Anna-Marie could see the port where her Grandmother last saw Ireland on her way to America. Another last minute B&B rescue and we made it the rest of the way to Dublin the next morning. We went right to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. That was my second time in Dublin and it was well worth it to see this amazing book. We attempted to see St. Patricks and another church but as they were all taken over by Protestants, they were charging an entrance fee and we refused to pay it: You rarely encounter fees at churches in France and not at all at current Catholic churches. So I made my peace with Dublin and discovered that it is a relatively small city. There was an accident on the way to the Harbour that evening and it took us much longer than it shouldve but we finally made it. We had bought sea sickness pills in Dublin and took them. We were so tired and releived to be there that the combination brought on a case of the giggles (slap-happiness brought on by fatigue) that I probably havent had since I was 10 or 12. We survuved another night on board that vessel, the Oscar Wilde, abd the next day we met a traveling piano man from CA who provided us with conversation, although he was loathe to play for us, we got him to play a little in an empty lounge, and he got us an emergency ride to the train station when our tardy ferry finally pulled into Cherbourg Harbour. Did I mention it was late on the way over also? Not a mode of transportation I recomend, at least not in the winter.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Child, to Mary

This one was written not-quite-so-long ago... as the date tells, it's about three years old. Enjoy.

Mary, you were little once,
A child, as I today;
Mary, you were little once,
Hear me while I pray!
Dearest Mother, dressed in blue,
With your veil so white,
Let me be your little child,
Give me grace’s light.

Mary, you are innocent,
Guard my innocence;
To be a Mother you were meant,
Be then my defense.
Lady in your robe of white,
With your sash of blue,
Teach me how to do what’s right;
Let me come to you.

Mary, you were sorrowful,
Comfort me I pray,
I am sad and sinful,
Help me on my way.
Mary, in your gown of black,
Weeping for your Son,
Lead my soul and take me back
To the Holy One.

Mary, you are Heaven’s queen,
Rule me also then,
Teach me how to take the road
Back to grace again.
Mary with your starry crown,
Fair as moon and sun,
Help me always, up and down,
Till my life is done.
---Inés de Erausquin
April 16, 2005

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another oldie!...

This Sailor's Song was written the year I studied the Sea in literature... we read everything from The Odyssey to Two Years Before the Mast to Moby Dick. I was around fourteen and loved it. A tinge of inspiration comes also from my dear Tolkien -- remember Legolas' Song of the Sea?

A Sailor’s Song

To the sea! To the sea! Fly away on the gales,
With white seagulls darting high over the sails;
I must go, for the seagulls are singing to me,
And this is their song, “To the sea, to the sea!”

To the waves! for the song of the gulls in the sky
Is a call that no sailor can ever deny;
The albatross soars through the air high above,
And I come, O ye gulls, to the sea that I love.

To your ships! They are waiting to sail on the wave,
To faraway lands, with crews gallant and brave;
They climb in the rigging, they jump to the mast,
Till back in their haven they land – home at last.

I’ll sing to Poseidon, the lord of the ocean,
Whose every whim swift sets the waters in motion;
I’ll doze in my hammock, and there I’ll lie deep
In slumber while Neptune’s waves rock me to sleep.

Come away! to the sea! to the waves, for they call,
And high on the mast I’ll have no cares at all;
For I feel that the seagulls still sing unto me
That high mirthful call, “To the sea, to the sea!”

Friday, March 14, 2008

An Older Poem

This one, in a much lighter vein than most I've posted before, I wrote when I was maybe twelve or thirteen, inspired by a delightful dream. (Who hasn't had that longing at least once?)

I Can Fly!

This morning when I woke up,
I had a funny feeling;
I jumped from bed and suddenly
I floated toward the ceiling;
And then I realized what was up
And felt quite queer – oh my!
Because, you see, peculiarly,
I found that I can fly!

Oh boy, but I was happy!
Quick as you blink an eye,
I soared right out the window,
Into the sunlit sky.
I spun about among the trees
So high above the ground,
I felt that I could clear the sun
And moon with just one bound!

I soared into a cloud of fog
And whizzed back down again;
I flew back in my window then,
And dressed and flew again.
I had my breakfast in a flash,
And then away I flew,
And all the people that saw me
Were startled this to view.

I flew about the town all day,
But got home to have meals,
And then I went back to the clouds
And danced Virginia reels.
And as I fall asleep tonight,
I’ll think with mirth so high,
“Tomorrow I can start once more,

For – golly! – I can fly!”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

FlyLady and the Spiritual life

FlyLady is a website run by a lady with a mission to help distraught "SHEs," (Sidetracked Home Executives) organize their homes and their lives. As I was finishing the dishes tonight and thinking about shining it, the idea suddenly hit me that she works in very much the same way as a traditional spiritual director.
Well, look:
Shining your sink and keeping it that way is the first step every Flybaby takes. This means empty, clean, and dry it every night, noon, and morning, and this one bright spot in the heart of your home immediately gives you the part of virtue that is perhaps hardest to attain--happiness in doing good consistently. This is something you can keep doing every day, and seeing your shiny sink in the morning makes you smile. Then, too, its beauty spreads throughout the kitchen--after all, if you put the dishes in the washer instead of the sink, you might as well run it, and wipe down the countertops, etc. But this only comes later. In the spiritual life, your sink is of course your dominant fault, which St. Ignacio says to check on when? Morning, noon and night! And St. Thomas Aquinas says that any virtue practiced to perfection brings with it all the other virtues, so it spreads just like the sink.
Progress, not perfection, is one of Flylady's biggest mottos, and Babysteps are the way to go. In the spiritual life, I think the application is obvious--it's St. Therese's "Little Way" in fact. We are going towards perfection, naturally, but we can't expect any one day or action to be perfect, and perfectionism only slows us down. "Even the just man sins seven times a day." So the idea is to do what you can, say your confiteor at the end of the day, and don't waste sleeping time at night agonizing over how much time you wasted or how many people you yelled at. Just count 'em up once, say you're sorry and will do better tomorrow, and forget about it.
FLYing is a funny one; it means Finally Loving Yourself and I've seen a fundamentalist saying this is one of the bad points of Flylady, since we're supposed to be worrying about loving God, not ourselves. However, in the Latin Mass article on melancholics, someone made the very good point that "love thy neighbor as thyself" has no meaning unless you do love yourself very much, and this is something that melancholics have trouble with, apparently. Flylady is always saying that you can't take good care of your family if you don't take care of yourself (in fact she has weekly pamper missions) and she definitely has the right idea. Yes, the great saints always had a double standard--tough on themselves and pampering everyone else--but they had no trouble loving themselves or other people (they did penance out of love for themselves, in fact). And look at what it led to for St. Bernard--he got sick and wasn't allowed to follow the community life for I forget how long!
Declutter--very important. "Our stuff drags us down and keeps us from flying!" I think any Christian can see the application of this one, without my help, but let me just say that Flylady applies it to mental clutter as well, and this is important.