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  • Rachel Welcher

New Faith Rising

New Faith Rising

There is, of course, Saint Hildegard of Bingen,

that renaissance woman before the renaissance

who painted, wrote, composed, and saw visions,

but I am bestowing Hildegaard Welcher of Vermillion,

that Child of the Afternoon, who finds the smallest breeze

something to revel in, and drinks her milk like manna:

Patron Saint of Morning Mercies.

Because when I look at her in the morning,

I see what it means to be beloved of God.

All she has to do is grin.

I’m not Catholic. I don’t pray to saints.

But as a Protestant I have leanings

and these leanings lead me to admire

at the least the idea of saints, looking to them

as that cloud of witnesses, a reminder of

who we are and can become. And Hilde

is the epitome of mercy; a gift we failed to

receive, delayed by cancer, death, divorce

and miscarriage. We held open our hands

to God, then closed them again, empty

Until that day.

Hildegaard Welcher of South Dakota,

Patron Saint of All That We Never Thought Could Be,

she opens and closes her hands around our fingers

and we remember what it means to pray.

She learns how to make the sound “Nnya!”

And we believe again. We believe in things

left for dead. We believe in a God of surprises,

and the saints behind us nod, humble yet knowing,

And the saints before us wait, holding their breath.

Hildegaard Welcher of Linden Avenue,

Patron Saint of New Faith Rising.

Patron Saint of All Things New.

Cover image by eze cmf.


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