Mary Lou Kownacki, OSBby Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

The four Benedictines—Anne McCarthy, Mary Ellen Plumb, Mary Miller and myself– who live on the same inner-city block gather for prayer every morning and usually read some contemporary work as part of our praise.

Following our Lenten readings, we started Love Poems from God by Daniel Ladinsky. I have so many post-notes and bended pages marking favorite poems in this book that I’m not sure I could give it away in a yard sale.

Ladinsky is a wild man, taking writings from mystics of every tradition and interpreting them in ways that give us wings. Be warned. These translations are knockout punches that freely adapt the mystics words “to a few blue grass tunes or whiskey soaked jazz.”

The first mystic in the book is Rabia of Basra, a revered Muslim poet who preceded Rumi by 500 years. She was quite young when her parents died and she was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Ladinsky writes, “Rabia may be a timely spiritual voice for women of this century who have suffered the trauma of unwanted touch and physical and sexual abuse.” Rabia was given her freedom at the age of 50 and spent her remaining years in prayer and meditation…

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