“Journals and Letters” week 3: at sea in 1840
In this week’s text we meet Mother Theodore the story teller, the teacher, the scientist, the philosopher, the woman full of faith and perseverance. We see Mother Theodore the comforter, the traveler, the patient. We see her courage, her faith, her intellect, her wit, her resilience.
Beauty and nature
As I read about Saint Mother Theodore’s adventures in this section of her journey, I am struck by what a wonderful, descriptive writer she is. You can feel and see the imagery in a sentence such as: “Mist from the waves, lit up the rays of the sun, displayed as it were thousands of pearls and all kinds of precious stones, which seemed to frolic about over a vast extent of the surface.”
Then the scientist and teacher in her come forth. I love the many instances where she studies and describes an animal for the reader. She tells of the whale’s massive head, as big as a house. The dark brown color of its back and how it spouts out water apparently by respiration as its jets are so regular. She observes the behaviors of the animals at sea, more accepting of humans because they have not been harmed by them. And her description of the porpoise (sea hog) is just phenomenal. From the sounds it makes to its taste (just like pork) to its sharp stiletto teeth (82 in the upper jaw).
Stepping back in time
For me, traveling with Saint Mother Theodore brings me to a time I never experienced. A time when you couldn’t see a video of a whale close up and couldn’t Google a porpoise to learn more about it. A time when it took 40 days of peril to travel across an ocean. A time when letter writing was the prominent mode of communication that was slow and not always reliable. And, oh how I wished they had the comfort of Dramamine available to them through their sea sickness.
I am thankful in reading this that Saint Mother Theodore took the time to record in such detail and beauty her experiences for all of us.
Your turn to share!
What about Mother Theodore’s character stood out for you in this passage?
What grabs you most about what you read in this passage?
Please leave your comments so we can keep the discussion going.
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