One day tells its tale to another…

Here in the SEC at least, Psalm 19 was set for Morning Prayer today. I always enjoy these lines (vv2-4), letting them roll on my tongue and in my mind many times over.

One day tells its tale to another,*
and one night imparts knowledge to another.

Although they have no words or language,*
and their voices are not heard,

Their sound has gone out into all lands,*
and their message to the ends of the world.

Whilst I was at theological college, we did a lot of work on hearing people into speech. We worked hard at listening attentively to silences and to the things that were left unsaid. We looked for the voiceless characters in the Bible and allowed them to tell their stories.

As a mother I have children who never stop chattering and one child who for the longest time had no words or language that most people would recognise. At 15, he is beginning to use a few words that are essential to him, like “paper” or “tape”. I’ve worked amongst others with similarly little language and I’ve watched each and every one communicate clearly with those who truly know them and care enough to pay attention. Those who will follow the gaze of an eye, allow themselves to be led, who will exchange reassuring (chaste) kisses and listen to the tone of unarticulated sounds.

In a world so shaped by words: those we hear; those we read; those reported to us; those caught unintentionally… sometimes it’s good to let one day tell its tale to another without framing it in words. Below I offer some pictures from the last week. I invite you to sit quietly before them in God’s presence and to offer whatever responses come to you in prayer.


Pittsburgh vigil: From the Chicago Tribune


From the Independent 20/10


The Independent 27/10

Blue Tit singing.jpg

Joanne Corkill

Saint Triduana – 8th October

I hadn’t heard of Triduana until I was asked to write the libretto for an opera about her life. Here are the “pictures” telling her story in poetry that are being worked into a musical masterpiece by the amazing Hannah Hayes.


Where wells run deep
And time rolls long,
Heaven and Earth meet
With tales to be told…


Beneath blue skies, behind white rocks, once
A child was born; a baby girl
With eyes coloured as the sea
And hair of ebony.
Cherished she played and
Prayed her girlhood
Away. No
Tempt her.
A nun’s life
Found beckoning, with
Ailing ones to tend as
Tenderly as the altar.
With Regulus and her sisters
Triduana walked her holy path.

The Sea

Trailing her hand in the cool waters
Triduana prepared to leave
The waves in whose rise and fall
Prayers had been tossed with bones
Of the first-called saint,
Andrew, her charge
In the wild
Wet weeks
Sea. Where
Regulus dreamt of a land
Peopled with painted
Picts and Celtic clans whose
Lives, baptised in the Gospel
Were springing up like fresh flowing
Streams, eager to learn news of the sea.


In Forfar’s fertile fields, faithfully
Gathered sisters worked and prayed.
Growing neeps and tatties whilst
Saving souls by tending
To their sicknesses.
Tinctures, balm, Prayer
The hard
And lonely
Journeying life
Brings. Triduana’s
Daily round brought her paupers
And princes. Each in need of
Water’s healing grace. Baptism
The one true cure for all the world’s ills.


Enchanted by eyes deep as the sea
King Nechtan dedicated his
Lands to Peter and his heart
To Triduana. With
Marriage on his mind
Nechtan sent a
Page to ask
For her
She was
Not easily
Wooed. Knowing that
Nechtan loved her eyes,
Triduana gouged
Them out. Mounted on wooden
Pins, they were his. Blind, no royal
Beauty but a simple nun to be.


With blindness Triduana received
Gifts of healing. Having laid
Down her own eyes, she restored
Sight to others and led
Still more into the
New light of faith.
Took her
To bring
The Picts of
Good news and new birth.
On Papa Westray, by
A loch whose waters remind
Us of those beautiful eyes, she
Healed sight, leaving grace on the waters.


Great in years Triduana settled
Into quiet prayer at Restalrig.
All journeying done, she now
Relished inner visions
Of heaven, where mercy
And righteousness
Embrace. Drop
She breathed
Her last in
This place where grace
Sits in welled water.
Inspired in dreams the blind
Still seek Triduana’s touch
In these waters, blessed by baptism
And the daily prayer of the faithful.


Where wells run deep
And time rolls long,
Heaven and Earth meet
With tales to be told…



Today’s intercessions come in the form of  prayers for healing, which conclude the Triduana cycle:

God who
lightens for
us the darkness,
encircle our hearts,
bring stillness to our minds
as you are present with us now.
Let it be,     let it be,     Amen.
As the deer longs for running water
So, Lord, our souls long after you;
In    you   alone   will   we    find
Healing and deep, true peace.
We pray your blessing
On these waters

Here by
The story of
T r i d u a n a,
We come in weakness;
We come in hope; we come
to   receive   living   water  …
In God alone our souls will find
Rest and peace, in God our peace and joy.
As we delight in water’s cool
Forgiving, grace-filled caress,
God, take all that limits
Our vision and by
Your mercy grant
that we may

God, reach out
to   us   in   our
weakness, granting sight.
Without   easy   answers,
Without cheap grace, we may then
Bear witness to Your transforming
Energy, still working in Your world.

Gertrude – Saturday 9th December 2017


Gertrude was born on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1256. At the age of four, she entered the monastery school at the monastery of St. Mary at Helfta, where she was confided to the care of St. Mechtilde, and joined the monastic community in 1266. 

At the age of twenty-five, she experienced the first of a series of visions that continued throughout her life, and which changed the course of her life. Her priorities shifted away from secular knowledge and toward the study of Scripture and theology. Gertrude devoted herself strongly to personal prayer and meditation, and began writing spiritual treatises for the benefit of her monastic sisters. Gertrude became one of the great mystics of the 13th century. Together with her friend and teacher St. Mechtild, she practiced a spirituality called “nuptial mysticism,” that is, she came to see herself as the bride of Christ.

Gertrude produced numerous writings, though only some survive today. The longest survival is known in English today as The Herald of Divine Love or The Herald of God’s Loving-Kindness, partly written by other nuns. There also remains her collection of Spiritual Exercises. A work known as Gertrudian Prayers is a later compilation, made up partly of extracts from the writings of Gertrude and partly of prayers composed in her style.

One of the most esteemed woman saints of the Christian West, she was a notable early devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Book 2 of the Herald of Divine Love is notable within the history of Christian devotion because its vivid descriptions of Gertrude’s visions show a considerable elaboration on the long-standing but ill-defined veneration of Christ’s heart. This veneration was present in the belief that Christ’s heart poured forth a redemptive fountain through the wound in His side; an image culminating in its most famous articulation by St Bernard in his commentary on the Song of Songs. The women of Helfta—Gertrude foremost, who surely knew Bernard’s commentary, and to a somewhat lesser extent the two Mechthilds – Mechthild of Magdeburg and Mechthild of Hackeborn — made this devotion central to their mystical visions. Saint Gertrude had a vision on the feast of John the Evangelist. She was resting her head near the wound in the Savior’s side and hearing the beating of the Divine Heart. She asked Saint John if on the night of the Last Supper, he had felt these pulsations, why he had never spoken of the fact. Saint John replied that this revelation had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need of it to rekindle its love.


On this day, lift before God:

  • those who are orphaned.
  • all who experience visions and visual disturbances.
  • all mystics and those who find their work inspiring.
  • all who pray for those who have died and all who are grieving.