I’ve known theologian Karis Slattery since she was twelve. I watched her grow into a woman and a friend. She’s an artist, an athlete, and always a God-seeker. Growing up in a Vincentian parish, she became an ally to the marginalized, even as  her own Church marginalizes her for being who she is. I watch as she continues to love Jesus, the poor and her Church as she and her partner grow their life together. She is one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. She shared the Jan Richardson poem that follows on her Facebook page. I thought I’d share it and her with you on this First Sunday of Lent. Thanks Jan, who shares her art and words. Thanks Karis, who shares her Vincentian soul. Beloved.


Jan Richardson is an artist, writer, and ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. She serves as director of The Wellspring Studio, LLC, and travels widely as a retreat leader and conference speaker. Known for her distinctive intertwining of word and image, Jan’s work has attracted an international audience drawn to the welcoming and imaginative spaces that she creates in her books, online blogs, and public events. Visit her blog “PaintedPrayerBook.com



If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
Beloved,
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.

But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:

Beloved.
Beloved.
Beloved.



Jan Richardson, “Beloved Is Where We Begin” © Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com


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