Written at age 21 to the Virgin Mary, and dedicated with love to the priest who taught me to love her.
Hail, thou whom the Lord hath favored;
Hail, thou faithful handmaiden
Who, with joy and praise unfettered,
To God’s will thine own didst bend:
When the Spirit’s voice doth beckon
Each of us God’s call to heed,
Help our souls to magnify Him
And to follow where He leads.
Hail, thou vessel of salvation;
Hail, thou bearer of our Lord
In whose womb was knit together
Human flesh with ageless Word:
As the Earth travails in darkness
From injustice, war, and strife,
Help us each to bear within us
Christ, the source of light and life.
Hail, thou, God’s own precious Mother
Hail, thou at whose breast He fed
Thou who dried His tears and soothed Him,
Thou who kissed His tiny head:
When the pains of fear and hunger
In God’s children we observe,
Help us, Mother, in their faces,
Thine own Son to seek and serve.
Hail, thou witness to the Passion;
Hail, thou whose own heart was torn
As thy Child was whipped and beaten,
Pierced with nails and crowned with thorns:
When the weight of human violence
Makes all hope to seem absurd,
Help us always to remember
Love hath claimed the final word.
Hail, thou Queen enthroned in Heaven;
Hail, thou Mother of us all;
Looser of the knots that held us
In the bondage of the Fall;
Mary, blessed Intercessor;
Thou our ever-present Friend:
Pray for us poor humble sinners
And be with us at the end.