The Woodpigeaon Mother

The Woodpigeaon Mother

by Sr. Joanne Kelly MMM                      Ireland                                22.06.2024

These lovely summer mornings I like to take my breakfast tea to the big window to look out to our lovely garden, with its lush foliage, variety of beautiful trees, and wild patches where there are blooms from all kinds of flowers and grasses. Right opposite are stately pine trees. I watched a woodpigeon. I first saw her as she alighted on a lamppost opposite the window. From there she swooped down into the garden and went round picking, picking, and picking. What she was finding to pick I don’t know!

Then she flew back up to a particular place in the pine tree, landed on a flimsy branch and walked into the tree. In seconds she was out onto the lamppost and started the whole process again. Watching for some time I realised she must be feeding her young chicks. I wonder what size of family she had but there was certainly no quick way to feed them- no fast food there! I am somehow reminded of summer days at home when I was a child when we could roam around the country, finding birds’ nests, watching them carefully without disturbing them, and later being in the fields especially at haymaking time.

The weather was always unpredictable. At the time of saving the hay any fine day was precious. My father and the boys would stay in the field all day, literally “making hay while the sun shone” It was the job of my sister and I to help our mother keep them well fed. It was the time of World War 11, and everything was scarce, nothing much available. We had what we could grow and were blessed with that. So, about every two hours we brought food to the field. We made sandwiches, buttered lots of homemade soda bread (brought some jam too) and a big tight – lidded can of hot tea with milk and sugar already in it.

When the menfolk saw us coming, they moved to the shade of the nearest tree and sat down ready for their break. We always got a great welcome and there were lots of stories and fun as they enjoyed their big mugs of tea. As soon as the “workers” got what they wanted we had our own share and it tasted so special out there in the fresh air with the smell of the hay, butterflies flitting around and often a bee or a wasp buzzing about attracted by the jam.

There were no holidays abroad then or fast food either, but we enjoyed our summers. Our nearest phone was in the post office two miles away and only used for emergencies.
In recent years technology has made wonderful advances in everything in the world but I think some beautiful wholesome things are in danger of being lost on the way.

I am reminded of the Gospel when Jesus, surrounded by crowds, had been casting out demons, healing and preaching about love and forgiveness and they thought he was out of His mind. One commentator noted that it was world which was out of its mind and Jesus the only one who could bring the message of true love and healing.

Today it would seem the world is still out of its mind, running into destruction, and Jesus is still the only one who can save us. We know He has promised that evil can never overcome. But the task to prevent it is enormous and we can feel helpless.

I am reminded of advice our Foundress Mother Mary Martin was given in the early days when she felt the task was beyond her.
“Never fear when you feel weak before the task. We know well enough that it is God, not ourselves, who will do the work. Keep full confidence in God, do what you can and be as good an instrument as you can be in God’s holy hands “

So, like that little woodpigeon mother, we can continue searching and caring, spreading precious titbits of love, kindness and acceptance wherever we are, with all whom we meet and for as long as we can.