Church Mouse: Saint Pius V Catholic Cemetery

Saint Pius V Catholic Cemetery, Cannon Falls. Kate Josephson / Contributor

The word “gaze” has been popping up on my personal radar with some regularity recently. My husband remembers me bringing that up in conversation — but neither of us recalls what articles I’d been reading. I asked him if he knew whether it was becoming a thing. (When did “a thing” become a thing?) I was having ‘a moment‘ with it.

On Sunday morning I gazed into the cupboard to choose a coffee mug. Since I was staying at our rural property nursing an old cat, the cup with the stout blue impressionistic feline — who appeared to be gazing back at me from beside its correspondingly large ball of yarn — seemed appropriate. A couple friends I grew up with both had that memorable mug. One of them gave it to me as a souvenir after I’d had multiple cups of coffee out of it at her sunny kitchen table. She was big on those little pink packets of sweetener deftly dispensed after a few fast preparatory shakes while held at the very top edge. I can still see it all now, as well as hear the sound of that little ritual and of the coffee pot being put back on the warmer.

A guy I used to go out to breakfast with who didn’t drink coffee always had to “avert his gaze” when I broke the egg yolks into my hash browns. Another ritual of sorts.

As much as I like crosses, I believe I’ve often averted my gaze from crucifixes.

This week I was impressed with the statement: “Those who ‘gaze upon’ the crucified Jesus (John 19:37) long enough— with contemplative eyes — are always healed at deep levels of pain, unforgiveness, aggression, and victimhood.” Wow. I might want some of that.

The big black cross of the crucifixion that I’ve seen many times as I’ve driven past the Catholic cemetery in Cannon Falls came to mind. I was partly curious because I was sure I saw an alabaster white Jesus on the cross around Easter time but not later. I had to check.

The light cast by the setting sun made climbing the steps to the statue of William Colvill and the “must have” cannon a must do after first walking the opposite direction in the lovely sacred place to the foot of the cross. It was indeed empty — however, I did gaze up on the visible highlights where his image had hung on high in human form once upon a time in eternity.

Kate Josephson worked as a church secretary in Red Wing. She seeks out religious experiences wherever she goes.

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