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Never Forget to Believe

It wasn't about green beer and parades
It was about freedom and food and a dream
It's what you do when all that you care about has to fit into a trunk
And you pretend that you'll get back someday
That you will see the hills of green and the lyric of Gaelic rhyme
But you know that you won't
And so you face your fears and let the tears flow until there aren't anymore
While you watch the homeland slip away and feel the rocking of the ship
And it's not a cruise ship...it's cold and you wonder what you were thinking
and why you believed and all you have is your dream, your memories
and your faith.

It wasn't like they said it would be on Elis IslandThe land of the free and the brave
Except that no one wants you here
and you didn't want to leave the ship where you buried one child
and your husband had cholera and so they took him away
and all you have is a scrap of paper with the name of
your husband's cousin who wrote about the promised land called South Dakota

There wasn't a parade that St Patrick's Day
But you did what they did at home
you remembered the stories of all of those who had gone before you
who thought they couldn't make it
And in the midst of searching for your husband
you found a church and it's all still a fog how the priest
somehow knew your husband's cousin, but it happened
and you learned something that day
about community
and the real meaning of Eucharist
and the meaning of the four clovers
that you promised your mother you would always remember

Never
Forget
To
Believe

And so you believe
You hold on to those four clovers
and you refuse to let go
through the hunger
the months in Chicago
ironing shirts for the rich men at the Palmer House
until you have enough for horses
because of the promise of the clover

Never
Forget
To
Believe

No parades when you finally hitch up the wagon
No one wearing green
Just the music of your heart that you sing
so that your kids will

Never
Forget
To
Believe

and they will remember
who they are and the land of green
and the hope that is our people
The promised land of South Dakota
wasn't exactly like they told you
but you survived the winter
with enough to feed the babies
and a strong heart that would never forget
to remember the gift of St. Patrick
and the four leaf clover
because you promised your mother
that you would 

Never
Forget
To
Believe

Never
Forget
To
Believe

~Bridget Bearss, RSCJ

Thanks, Mary Ann Lyons, Katie McKenna... and the women of the land that taught me to believe