About Mary Ellen Smajo
Mary Ellen Smajo has been savoring and writing responses to sacred moments since early high school, when she first began to notice and reflect on God’s tangible actions in our lives. She is a (“very happy and grateful!”) member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps and serves as the music minister for IVC Chicago. Prior to joining IVC, she worked in clinical education; before that she worked as a medical physicist in the hospital setting. Her PhD is in medical physics, and she did her undergrad at Loyola University Chicago. “These poems are God’s; may they do the work for which they were sent. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.”

Breathing

While we’re often called to actively participate in God’s good work in the world, sometimes God tells us to stop for a bit and just receive. Sometimes I have a lot of trouble actually stopping. So, God makes it very clear, sending things like summer break, people who make a point of telling me to stop and recharge, and these poems. Stop Being Bound Stop being bound by the gift of time; unsnare yourself from […]

Healing and Comfort

Sometimes God heals and comforts us, like Jesus did for Jairus’s daughter, the woman with the hemorrhage, and Peter’s mother-in-law. Sometimes God heals and comforts through us, and we find that in working to heal and comfort one another we’ve also brought great comfort to God. You Heal Us in Secret You heal us in secret and silently, when we but touch Your clothes; You say our faith is the cause; how is it You […]

Dancing

Pentecost I watch Your branches dance, bathed in morning sun, and wonder at the work of Spirit’s breath between the leaves; what You have begun You will fulfill, and we who wait so deep in peace can feel so close the heart’s caress, Your touch in us to be disguised, and go to make the day begin / be done in You, breathing / breathed on Spirit’s breath, branches asked to dance. Come Dance with […]

Scars and Make Me a Mirror

Scars Some wounds take a long time to heal; some wounds never heal; sometimes there are scars, perpetual evidence of a love well-lived. You still have the wounds, evidence of Your love to-the-last and always; I’ve often wondered why the Father didn’t raise You without them, all-powerful as He is; perhaps You wanted to keep them, to help us remember that Your scars and our scars are one. Make Me a Mirror Make me a […]

Triduum Poems

Sunsong (Gethsemane prayer, Holy Thursday) sunlight pours upon the field in early autumn. wheat grows thin, nourishing the wind. soft-spoken daffodils wait for the tide, sheltered only by a song. now shall my song be lifted. poems of dawn born on spirit’s breath tremble in the darkness. winter-cold night lies deep upon us. petals torn, my heart has been rent from me. yet I will trust a little longer, clinging to this song, that you […]

We Are Such a Mix

Each year at the start of Lent, I notice again my need for God’s grace to bring me back from all the ways I’ve wandered away or gotten lost. These poems describe three of those experiences. Sometimes I Feel So Frail sometimes I feel so frail; and what does God do but win with a look my wonder, will, all; again; You have made it all as You have made it, and built us to […]

Days Hazed, When Such Winter Chill, and Light Too Bright to Behold

Days Hazed days hazed, holding their knowing, known in hope only, open too slowly, while these days filled too full quit too quickly, knowing not yet caught. yet hazed days are wonders working, slowly seen, but granting sight so that in these days our lame leave burdens behind— and carry us; and hearts fill full; and knowing catches us. When Such Winter Chill when such winter chill creeps up close so swift slow-seeping, pausing, playing, […]

The Return Home

That Christmas, when we were in love, he gave me a watercolor he’d done some years before of the Holy Family’s return from Egypt. He explained that, while he was painting it, he knew it was to be given away, but he didn’t then know to whom. As he painted, he was thinking about what it would be like to be really at home, to be in the place where you belong for all time. […]

Three Poems

Jubilee You’ve multiplied the many fruits of every gift You’ve given me: music, service, intellect, with love-begetting-love multiplied most; and now like a plant in a pot You ask me to rest; and looking up I see Your hand and feel grace shower down restoration, emancipation, readying me for Your coaxing forth the new growth, the new buds, the new fruits, the new gifts-for-the-world. At rest I receive what I need for next, what serves […]