October 6, 2006

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Holy rosary mysteries and poetry shine

Shirley Vogler MeisterRegular readers know that poetry and my devotion to the Blessed Mother—especially Our Lady of Perpetual Help—are close to my heart.

So these readers will especially understand what a delight it was for me to discover a kindred spirit in Mary Agnes Dalrymple.

I met her via e-mail after reading a small notice about her work regarding the Blessed Mother in an issue of Poets & Writers.

I learned we have much more in common. However, I concentrate now on the two points mentioned above: poetry and the love of Christ’s mother.

Mary Agnes is a prolific poet whose work has appeared in distinguished publications. Once, she edited, illustrated and published Blue Violin, a free verse journal. Her first collection of poetry, Water Tender, is the story of her life, beginning with “Baby Girl Lastovica.”

Already a father of five,

Daddy paced the waiting room,

dangled the beads of his rosary,

apple seeds, a string of phrases—

Thy will be done.

Deliver us.

Blessed be the fruit.

Two more stanzas announce the baby’s arrival—Mary Agnes’ “first poem”—and from there significant events in her life unfold, enlightening as well as disturbing times. The second part of the book consists of poetic narratives inspired by articles, paintings and other sources.

However, it is Rosa Mystica: Poems from the Rosary and Other Poems that settled in my soul. In this, her writing is like a candle in the dark as she illuminates each decade of each mystery of the rosary—Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious.

The first poem in this book caught my breath and my heart:

If we say Yes

God grows within us,

holding us

as we hold him;

if we say No

God dwindles

within us. The World

grows, filling us


This is the first book about the rosary that spiritually “talks to me.” It also expands my appreciation of the holy rosary as well as my meditation.

Appropriate excerpts from the Bible are also included. For more information about Mary Agnes Dalrymple and her work, log on to www.maryanka.com or write to MaryAnka Press, P.O. Box 102, Huffman, Texas 77336. (Books are $10 plus $2 for shipping.)

Remember that Oct. 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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