Tuesday, April 6, 2010

St. Olga

My great-grandmother, Olga Halko, came to America and worshipped in Russian. Olga, I want to ask you if it was confusing—a Polish immigrant landing in an English-speaking country and having to talk to God in a new tongue. Her fierce namesake, Olga of Kiev, sent a band of Drevlians to their death, burying them alive in a ship grave, to avenge her husband’s death. Later, she worshipped with the same fierceness, spreading her faith without apology, being named for her work, “Equal-to-the-Apostles.” Great-grandmother, I write your name on the prayer roster, so you can pass through a Priest's lips toward humble assurance you will lift to the new life. I’d like to meet you there. Show me the way. Will you lend me your name—I will wear it, a loose garment, the scarf I wrap over my hair, before I am plunged into the baptismal water.

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