The Season of Renewal


All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.

– Attributed to Cecil F. Alexander

For now, the church has lost me. Confirmed allegations of sexual abuse from a priest in my parish makes it impossible for me to attend. Fortunately, my bond with God is intact. He is with me everywhere. I’ve claimed the outdoors as my cathedral. It’s hard not to feel the Creator’s presence in its beauty. Every bird, every tree has his signature on it. There is no dogma in nature and man never thinks of ways to improve it. All is well under the great blue dome.

Spring is a sign of hope and renewal. It’s the counterpart to the reawakening of humanity. I’m comforted that the darkness in the church is being rooted out. Pope Francis gives me grounds for believing that one day it may again feel like home to me. Until then, the wonder found in my own backyard refreshes my soul.

Click to purchase a copy of All Things Bright and Beautiful print.

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.

8 thoughts on “The Season of Renewal

  1. I know the bad news we hear about people in the church is very discouraging but there is still aot of good people in the church to nourish our spirits. There are two places where I listen to good stuff on line. You might want to check them out. You can go on these church websites and hear nourishing things. The St. Paul Cathedral, click on listen and look for Rev. Nels G (Nels is his first name).The other place is a Methodist Church in Leawood, Kansas Pastor Adam (again a first name) These two will definitely renew your faith in the church. Check them out. Take care. Love, Crystal Burns from Cannon Falls, Minnesota.


  2. Thank you for saying this out loud. I can longer attend mass myself because of this very issue and I am judged unfairly because I no longer attend church. I appreciate your words more than you know.


    • Thank you for letting me know that you appreciate my post. I was a little apprehensive about putting my truth out there but am glad I did. There is no right or wrong in our feelings. I know that priest is a sick man. The church cover-up feels as hurtful as the priest’s actions. That’s why for now my church is nature. xo


  3. Sue, I will pray for you. I am sure by now the priest who abused you has died. Our Lord surely had a long talk with him and has forgiven him. You, too, must forgive your abuser, because in the big scheme of things, he’s just another “weed in the garden of life.”

    I so enjoy your columns. I have been away for 3 months and have not kept up with my email. We have been home now for a week, and I’m ready to “face the music”.

    I hope you and yours have a very blessed Easter. God bless you, Sue.

    Aggie Sweeney


    • Hi Aggie,

      Thanks for the kind words. I wasn’t the victim of the priest. But I was disillusioned by his actions and also by how the church handled it. I know he is sick and bare him no ill will. For now I am just fine with my decision for my backyard to be my church. Who knows what the future will bring.

      Glad you are back. I hope your three months away was doing something fun.

      Love to you,



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