The Cobblers of Monrovia are a group of Maryknoll Sisters based out of the Sisters’ retirement center in Monrovia, CA who come together to share poetry, stories, concerns, laughs, and tears.

Below please enjoy a selection of poetry from this creative bunch of Sisters.

Sister Pauline Sticka

Sister Pauline spent the bulk of her mission life in Taiwan where she did parish ministry, worked at a hostel for young women (where she organized retreat days and outings and offered informal counseling), helped counsel married couples, and worked in neighborhood ministry (where she started a mini-garden which brought the neighbors over to offer suggestions, and that began a long series of rich interactions, with such things as mutual cooking lessons, English classes and group outings initiated by the people there).

[Photo caption: Sister Pauline Sticka, Hsinchu, Taiwan, Neighborhood ministry]

Miracle of the Sky

At times
A deeper blue then blue
Decorated with sweeps of fleecy clouds,
Floating here and there.
At times
Holding together castles of billowy shapes in the sky
Tainted with pinks, orange, and firey red.
At times
Rainbows colorful hues bound together like a wide ribbon.
At times
Grey misty shapes floating through the blue,
To both disappear and reappear in other shapes and sizes.
At times
Reaching the earth with showers of rain and snow
To moisten the soil,
To bring forth the richness it holds.
At times – night times –
Brilliant with trillions of lights we call stars,
Sparkling in the eternal distance of space
Creating a wonder beyond imagination-
Their lights disappearing into the brightness of the rising sun.
Oh sky, are you not a miracle?

Gifts in my Garden 

God’s gifts in my garden are many:

The mystery of life and death as dead leaves enrich
the soil to nurture a new plant and blossoms die to give way
to fruit

The mystery of weeds and wheat co-existing – teaching
me that all things are good and there is a time for
digging deep and a time for letting be

Colors, shapes and sizes bring delight in differences,
evoke awe and wonder in God’s endless creativity and
display a unity in diversity

Light and shadow play different roles, sometimes
encouraging wild growth, something causing wilt

Sun, soil, rain and seed cooperate and give witness to a
way of kingdom living

Open space expands the heart and patiently unfolds these
silent revelations of Mother Earth as I tend my garden

Sister Marie Rosso, Oahu, Hawaii, Working with women, 2002

Sister Marie Rosso

Sister Marie spent her overseas mission life in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands, first serving as a teacher and principal, and then turning to work with women in domestic violence situations.

Sister received the Oahu Unsung Hero Award in 1997 “In appreciation of her many years of exceptional service dedicated to safety and freedom for battered women of Oahu.”

[Photo caption: Sister Marie Rosso, Oahu, Hawaii, Working with women, 2002]

Sister Joyce Burch, Tanzania, with an AIDS patient, 1992

Sister Joyce Burch

Sister Joyce Burch, serving in Tanzania, focused her mission work in the medical field.  Over the course of her career, Sister served as a lab technician, a clinic supervisor, and as a head nurse.  She also taught classes in health care and gave counseling to those with HIV/AIDS.

[Photo caption: Sister Joyce Burch, Tanzania, with an AIDS patient, 1992]

Ode to the Tall Pine Trees 

Driving along the country road
Trees tall with hoods of green stood
Basking in the dazzling light
Sun rays cascading through branches with delight
How regal and proud they stand
God’s own wondrous creations of the land.

 Yet, how sad to hear these giants fall
Felled by axe and saw – one by one
Crashing down with thunderous noise
With quiet dignity and resignation
They give themselves for our human needs
And in pregnant silence, release forth new seeds.