I am caught by surprise at how small this garment,
how worn and fragile. It brings me close to the woman who wore it:
flesh and blood,
frail, once hearty,
who wore it at the last weary, needy.
How easy to reify you
O woman of the name Catherine,
to forget the thread of your own life and story
within the fabric of Mercy.
O timeless woman it is easy to forget
how much of your own time you were,
subject to its limitations and ignorances,
as well as its promise,
its constraints as well as its freedoms.
Although not seamless, this garment
speaks of the pain and failing
of one who had sat by so many beds,
held the hand of so many dying.
Could she have dreamed this one small woman
that beyond her own final confinement
would spring not death
but the birth and burgeoning of her line ?