A Gift of Grace

Last night, a gift of grace!
"Merici" came to die
From nearby nursing home

Our doctors did their best
Her heart and lungs were spent
With ninety-four long years

Merici’s hour drew near
Without a single kin
No family / friend appeared

An echo from the past
“My God! My God! Oh, why
Have You forsaken me?!”

I whisper in hear ear
I stroke her clammy hand
My sacred space, beside her

Heart rate first read sixty
The monitor’s slow descent…
To forty…down…to…naught

Merici’s voyage to God
Unseen, unshared, unmourned
Except for privileged me

“Be kind, accepting, Lord!
Forgive her any fault!
Embrace her! Again! For me!”

I voice a hope-filled prayer:
Our middle name is “Weakness”
But Thine is truly “Mercy!”
Fr. Frank Keenan, C.P.

After more than sixty years of priesthood, forty-two spent at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, Father Frank Keenan, C.P. retired from active ministry a couple of years ago and now resides in a local nursing home where he writes poetry and gladly shares stories of his life as a Passionist.