Venerable Frederic Baraga

By Patrick Cook - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - 18 August 2014



He paddles Lake Superior, brings Bread

of Life to logging camps, Ojibwa villages,

builds rude log chapels in the pines.


Canoes up Little Munuscong, Tahquamenon,

Big Two-Heart. When rivers freeze he tramps

in snowshoes, sleeps curled up between two fires.


In bitter January he stays home

in L'Anse translating prayer books, preaches

in eight languages, prays for strength.


Blackfly-bitten, hungry, lonely, cold, he suffers

brutal weather, brutal men. It takes him

thirty years to wear his body out.


He lies beneath the altar in Marquette.

After the good fight he travels no more.