Oh, Villa Maria, thrice favored spot,
Unclouded sunshine is still thy lot
Since first, 'neath thy mortal old,
The spouses of Christ - working out God's will,
Meekly entered, their mission high to fill
'Mid the "little ones" of His fold.
But grief's dark hour, that to all must come,
At length is on thee, and as a tomb,
Hushed, joyless, art thou to-day,
For the lofty mind that thy councils led,
To womanly sweetness so closely wed,
Has been called by death away.
"One 'mid a thousand!" no words could tell
The peerless worth that, like holy spell,
Won all souls to saintly love;
And that knowledge rare of the human heart
That, with heavenly patience and gentle art,
The coldest breast could move.
Oh! girlish natures, good blended with ill,
That she trained with such watchful, wondrous skill
To be noble women and true -
The bliss of those households whose hope you are,
Where your worth shines steady as vesper star,
Unto her is surely due.
And those chosen souls, called to holier state,
That on the Heavenly Bridegroom wait,
Their cell an Eden below,
Whom she guided safely through wile and snare,
Making virtue appear so divinely fair,
How much unto her they owe!
And many now sleeping 'neath churchyard sod,
But whose souls are reigning on high with God
Through her teachings true and blessed -
With what strains of rapture, ravishing, sweet,
Their teacher and guide did they once more meet,
As she entered on her rest.
When to Villa Maria will come again
Spring, with opening buds and gentle rain,
Though her place be vacant there,
The spirit of her teachings will ever dwell
In the earthly home she loved so well,
Treasured with sacred care.
The winds of winter, with sob and sigh,
And dirge-like voices go wailing by,
Waking echoes in every breast.
As they sweep o'er the snow-clad reaches wide,
And the cold pale shroud where, on every side,
The eyes are forced to rest.
And the stars shed their radiance pure, yet faint,
Like aureole round the brow of a saint,
As on earth they calm look down;
And raising our tearful and heavy gaze
On high, to their solemn, silvery rays,
We whisper - "Thus shines her crown."
Mother beloved, O sainted nun,
Disciple true of the Crucified One,
Thy teachings we keep for aye,
Till, our life's brief course wrought out, we meet
At our Father's glorious judgment-seat,
In realms of cloudless day!
December 23rd, 1875.