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Sage Sacraments for the Osage

Les Sages Sacrements pour les Osages (Sage Sacraments for the Osages)

Confluence of the Ohio River and the Mississippi where the next leg approximately began

La barque Catholique en Amérique
Ce que le portage de la France.
Sans elle, il n’aurait jamais la croyance
Mais le naufrage parmi les Osages;
Marquette sans navette
Le cendre d’encens.

Mes amis,
I have no voice of Paul Claudel
Nor the canopy-arched mind
Of Baudelaire
But limp along to toil through these words
And hope to heaven catapult
A prayer for our faith.

To triumph in French verse
Is tougher than a horse’s hoof;
I’ll stem the flow of my intent
And show-me shame
The Know-me state.
Upon these riverbanks
Be not aloof,
Embark and share adventure.

Go the distance in the past,
Reverse the rhythm,
Before the paddle wheel and the jazz.
Stroke slowly the oar of history
Ripple the viscous river barely,
And recall the dawn
And draw the veil:

From the French Colonial Museum in St. Genevieve. Note the English charting of Lousiana show areas west of the Mississippi as “Rich with mines” and “meadows full of buffaloes”

In that fog-phenomenon,
A slow log boat drifts from Michigan
With artful art and girded loin
To fur purloin
On smiling beaches
Along the brown and pewter artery
The eddies of trade:
An otter-pelt for an altar-knelt.

Une peau de loutre pour
Un peu de l’outre.

A French creole style home from the 18th century in Ste. Genevieve, MO

Keels of St. Ignace scrape
Sand bars
Black-robes kneel
Hand chart stars
Such Society of Jesus
To make heaven from
Mackinac to Mississipp’
And further along the full spine
From Guadalupe to Guarani.

These explore peace with pipe
And a breviary Brebeuf.
These make mud-friends with feline-fish
Sleep in in the dogwoods,
Veil white blossoms twirl
A da Vinci ballet of thought.
Offering to the Mother of Our Sorrows
Hidden better in little flowers
Like the flotsam seeds
Of the Cottonwoods
Pretty Poplars altar rails
In a meadow row
And Algonquin arrow.

On the eastern side of the Mississippi where the areas that were French can be explored

If Paris is worth a mass
Why ought we offer worse
For better
Or for broader
The Kingdom of Christ
In a myriad national masses
For a new church daughter?

It is a sin to muckrake martyrs
And make myth of truth.
America owes more faith to France
Than freedom Lafayette
Or fur traders from Duluth.

It seems all a Shrine here,
When you swim-swum
Downstream from the wigwam
Along the bottom sludge
And dredges. And come up for air
In a swirl with
Our Lady of the Middle Mississippi
As the Virgin Duchess of Illinois,
Missouri and Kentucky.
Doesn’t Mary mend
Worn habits?

Shrine to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, St. Catherine Laboure and the Vincentians in Perryville, MO

Listen to the American Litany of St. Joan d’Arc

Salesians pray for us
Vincentians pray for us
Sulpicians pray for us
Jesuits pray for us
Franciscan Recollects pray for us

Fathers Faber, Jogues and Brebeuf died for us.
Fathers Hennepin, Les Clerq, Caron, Sagard, Dolbeau recollect for us.
Bishops named Flaget, DuBourg convey to us.
Badin, Menard and Allouez confess for us.

With saddle sores or callouses
Lift the Word made flesh for us.
With Sacrament declare
American freedom for us.
To remake a nation Catholic
Not in revolution
But in revelation.

Donc voici Seigneur la prière pour prêtres:

Mon oraison et que ça soit sage
Sur les os des Osages
Autel sauvé sous des orages
De la nouvelle France ;
Plaidons-nous pour haut-prêtres
De la rocher a la clocher
L’angelus Américaine disons
Une prière de la prairie bisons
Renouveler et renouer
Notre foi des racines Françaises ;

Lord, from these prairie rocks and limestone bluffs
From furrowed flood made meadows plain;
From Ozark by Ozanam rebuff,
Supply a kind-cascade of clerics for Kaskaskia
To the wards of Wichita in Kansas.

Hills and forest of Missouri

Show the Lord and tumble down,
The creaking Palisades of forts
From Frontenac to Mackinac
To make the boulevards of faith.

With fervor find the priests to churn and turn
The hearts of a more savage beast
A cavalcade of counterculture
Innovate and demonstrate with faith.
Call, Lord
Similar priests of courage that
Chipped the birch of Chippewa
And stood with iron face against the Iroquois.

Not all the old red barns here in the Midwest
Are rickety and rotten.
So let our Mother Mary
In their hearts begotten.

Old barn in Missouri

A special thanks to the Diocese of Cape Girardeau-Springfield and the warm reception by Bishop Rice and Father Allen

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