One afternoon in April 2012 the two of us—Sue Schardt and I—visited Mission Church in Roxbury, Mass.  We were surprised it was open for a noon Mass during the pandemic.  There was hardly anyone there in any case and yellow ribbons marked off safe sections from empty pews. It was here, decades before that I formally became Catholic with the poet Jean Valentine as my sponsor beside me.  Now Sue noticed a man in the back holding a flute.  Throughout the liturgy he played on it, improvising subtly. softly.  When Mass ended, a few people drifted to the side nave, dedicated to a 15th century ikon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  They prayed the rosary, which is the sound of voices on this recording.  This experience became the first of a few that followed through visits to Mission and the Stations of the Cross, and the completion of my book Manimal Woe.  All seemed of a piece and improvised coincidental.

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Fanny Howe and Sue Schardt