“They Say” is a poem Meg O’Neill wrote while working in Ritsona refugee camp in central Greece.
My senior year of college, I stopped attending Mass regularly. I have not yet replaced the rituals which were such a crucial aspect in determining the essence of who I am, but I am beginning to redefine the sense of joy which was so foundational to my Mass ritual growing up. This joy was not simply elation at this thing or that, but a spiritual wellspring at the possibilities inherent in being alive.
I woke up to the sad news that Mary Oliver, poet of the natural world, had passed away. That day I took a few moments of silence to read a few of her poems and it suddenly dawned on me that her text, in many ways, could be considered sacred and spiritual. Reverting to the Catholic practices I am familiar with, I decided to apply the tools of Lectio Divina to a few different Mary Oliver poems, treating them as texts open to spiritual contemplation and personal reflection.
By the end of our JVC year, my housemates and I were a community because we stuck together through the endless flux of not always liking each other while trying to love one another.