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The Precious of Uvalde

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Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Mari Snyder laments and reflects on the mass shooting crisis in the U.S. through the lens of the tragedy in Uvalde.

The Precious of Uvalde  

By Mari Snyder


In the fresh spring of their lives 

They could sniff summer wafting 

Through louvered windows.  


One … twice their age … snapped

The green blades of grass growing

Under the Lone Star sun.   


Shots. Silence. Screams. Sobs. 

Nineteen. Ni-ni-ni-ni-nineteen.  

Hear the ‘Nam song anew? 


Two teachers enlist 

on this sudden battlefield, 

frantic Purple Hearts.  

Murdered martyred mothers.  

Is this what has become of

the Land of the Free? 


The Home of the Brave? 


The Elected stain him evil, 

their “out, damned spot” hands shoved 

Into their pockets…


with hollow voices, they drone

    rehearsed, indignant.   

    Greed and power star

    on a school auditorium stage.


 What’d you learn in school today?


“Women and children first”

    Onto lifeboats, but no, not

    on U.S. gun-lovin’ soil.



America …
May God shed His grace on thee,

and compel us to crown thy good with true brotherhood

in this long-overdue “Do Something!” moment. 

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Mari Snyder was introduced to the Franciscan charism that deepened her Catholic faith during her college years at St. Bonaventure University and Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Community in Western New York. A native of Scranton, Pa., Mari has lived and worked in the Washington D.C. and suburban Maryland area for more than twenty years. She began her career in sales and public relations, which grew to a global leadership role in corporate social responsibility with a focus on human trafficking prevention, sustainability, and youth employability. Most recently, Mari was in leadership with a small, dynamic nonprofit where she launched an economic empowerment program and worked directly with human trafficking survivors. She serves with FMS as a missioner on the US-Mexico border.