Tuesday, September 15, 2015

holy cards: st. justa and st. rufina by Penny-Anne Beaudoin

Saint Justa and Saint Rufina by Francisco De Goya

Third century saints and sisters, Seville, Spain.  According to legend, the sisters made pottery for a living, but one day they refused to sell to the townspeople for a celebration honouring the goddess Venus.  This so enraged the mob that they smashed all their wares, whereupon the sisters destroyed the idol of Venus.  They were brought before the city prefect and ordered to renounce their faith.  When they refused, they were tortured and executed.  Justa died first on the rack.  Rufina was later strangled to death.  A painting of the saints shows them holding an image of the church between them.

your spirit still sings to me
sweet sister
from the pools of your blood on the floor
the spatters on the cold stone walls
i feel your presence
like the pain of a phantom limb

why do you linger here?
is your heavenly mansion not quite ready for you
or have you come back
to save me?

let me guess

death has bestowed on you
the gift of omniscience
and now you know of your sister’s
secret sacrilegious sentiments

i have doubts
do you shudder to hear me speak of it?
does it offend you, dear sister
you of the unassailable certitude?

i trembled when you smashed their little idol
nearly wept when you ordered me
to trample it underfoot
stomp her into the ground

a god
who looks like us, justa!
such a wonder
i wanted to kneel
to kiss
though that would be
an unforgiveable sin

like eve
naked and unashamed
i had hoped
such a god would understand
the troubles of women

no scowl of reproach on her countenance
no darkened brow
no lightning bolts at the ready
her hands were open
wide and friendly

she would not demand the blood sacrifice of her followers
would not insist her children
stretch themselves on crosses
and embrace suffering as though it were salvation

goddess of love, justa!
and pleasure
and why shouldn’t love
be pleasurable
why shouldn’t the feminine
be divine?

oh don’t worry, sister
tomorrow i die for christ
and as they crush my throat
i promise i’ll make you proud
not a single hiss of heresy
will escape my obedient lips

when my passion is done
and i am closing my eyes for the last time in this world
i will offer a silent prayer
though it damn me for eternity
that when i open them again
it will be in her arms

by  Penny-Anne Beaudoin

An excerpt from the upcoming Girl God Anthology: Jesus, Muhammad and The Goddess.

(From holy cards: dead women talking.  © Penny-Anne Beaudoin.  Black Moss Press.  2009)


Penny-Anne Beaudoin earned a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry in 1997 and has published articles pertaining to religion and spirituality in several Canadian and American journals.  She was nominated for the Canadian Church Press Award in 2000.  Her fiction has been published in Lorraine and James, Writers On Line, Ascent Aspirations, Flash Me, FreeFall Magazine, The Rose & Thorn, Skive Magazine, The Canadian Writers’ Journal, and flashquake.  She was nominated for the Push Cart Prize in 2005.  Her poetry has appeared in The Windsor Review, On Spec Magazine, Quantum Muse, Room of One’s Own, Les Bonnes Fees, Membra Disjecta, Offside, and Doorways Magazine.  She was nominated for the Rhysling Award for the year’s best speculative poetry in 2009.  Both her short stories and poems have won or placed in a variety of competitions.  holy cards: dead women talking is her first book publication.  She is finishing her second poetry manuscript entitled The Magdalene Poems, a collection about, well, you can probably guess.  Penny-Anne lives in south western Ontario, Canada, with her husband Tony and various figments of her imagination.  She sings, has been known to preach on occasion, blogs about writing and life at www.pennyannebeaudoin.com/news-blog/ and tries not to think about the unfinished novel languishing in her desk drawer.


  1. Thank you so much for this, Trista. It's beautiful.

  2. Loved this. Penny-Anne Beaudoion is so talented and has such a unique way of looking at things and making you take a step back and think again.