Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, is executive director of Alliance of International Monasticism, which links 200 Benedictine and Cistercian communities in the developing world with those in the United States. She is also director of development and communications for the Benedictine sisters of Erie, PA. Her articles on nonviolence and spiritually have appeared in numerous publications including Praying, National Catholic Reporter, The Other Side, Sisters Today, and Pax Christi USA. She is the author of Between Two Souls: Conversations with Ryokan, one of our Best Spiritual Books of 2004.
The following litany, written for the arrival of the new millennium, is especially appropriate for All Saints Day. It beautifully conveys the power and the presence of the saints in our lives.
O Cosmic Christ,
and through you
and for you,
all things were created;
all things hold together
and have their being.
Through Teilhard de Chardin,
scientist of the cosmos,
you imagined a new heaven and a new earth.
Through Teresa of Avila,
you inspired a church of courage and wisdom.
Through Mahatma Gandhi,
you became nonviolent in the struggle for justice.
Through Catherine of Siena,
you forged a new path for women.
Through Meister Eckhart,
you refused to abandon the inner light.
Through Hildegard of Bingen,
greenness of God,
you poured out juicy, rich grace on all creation.
Through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
drum major of freedom,
you shattered racial barriers
and freed dreamers to dream.
Through Anne Frank,
writer and witness,
you preserved goodness in the midst of great evil.
Through Cesar Chavez,
you transformed the dignity of human labor.
Through Harriet Tubman,
prophet and pilgrim,
you led the captives into freedom.
Through Vincent Van Gogh,
artist of light,
you revealed the sacredness
and in starry nights.
Through Thea Bowman,
you danced the African-American culture
into the Church.
Through Pope John XXIII,
window to the world,
you awakened awareness to the signs of the times.
Through Mother Teresa of Calcutta,
guardian of the unwanted,
you enfleshed a reverence for all life.
Through Thomas Merton,
you explored the sanctity of every human search.
Through Mary Magdalene,
apostle to the apostles,
you ordained women to proclaim the good news.
Through Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
musician of Holy Mystery,
you bathed the world in beauty.
Through Julian of Norwich,
anchoress and seer,
you showed the Mother image of God.
Through Dom Bede Griffiths,
marriage of East and West,
you unveiled the divine face
at the heart of the world.
Through Joan of Arc,
defender and protector,
you remained true to personal conscience
over institutional law.
poet in ecstasy,
you illuminated friendship as mystical union.
Through Maura Clarke and Companions,
martyrs of El Salvador,
you rise again in the hopes of the dispossessed.
Through Rabbi Abraham Heschel,
you answered our search for meaning
with wonder, pathos for the poor, and Sabbath rest.
Through Dorothy Day,
pillar of the poor,
you recognized holiness as bread for the hungry.
O Cosmic Christ,
in your heart
all history finds meaning and purpose.
In the new millennium,
in the celebration of jubilee
help us find that which we all seek:
a communion of love
with each other
and with you, the Alpha and Omega,
the first and last,
the yesterday, today, and tomorrow,
the beginning without end.