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  • The Sorrowful Mysteries
  • Mary Therese Perez Hattori (bio)

"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit."        a church full of people        chanting in unison

"As it was in the beginning,"        losing concentration        my mind wanders

"is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."        my attention flits        across this ocean of devotion.

"The first sorrowful mystery"        focus snaps back to the rosary        dread spreads through me.

Recounting these mournful mysteries and their virtuesmy mind is tormented by parallel recollections.

The agony in the garden/righteous acceptance of God's will:        What anguish I encountered in aunty's garden        accepting it as God's will        smothered by the scent of her achiote lipstick plants        as uncle forcibly plants his lips on mine.        Where is the righteousness?

The scourging at the pillar/the honorable mortification of the senses.        The pillar between uncle's legs        forced between mine        tearing flesh        ripping skin        beads of blood.        Senses subdued by this impalement.        Where is the honor? [End Page 24]

The carrying of the cross/his patience a virtue to emulate.        Pain obscures my sight        fixated on the penetrating gaze        of the garden statue of the Blessed Virgin        as uncle penetrates my body.        Patiently I wait for the end.        Where is the virtue?

As the rosary continues, here are the mysteries I ponder:        How can my uncle sit in this church, practicing piety and communion?        How can his wife, his accomplice, be the appointed prayer leader?        What amount of penance, how many rosaries, could possibly erase this evil?

"O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy."        Where is my mercy? [End Page 25]

Mary Therese Perez Hattori

A daughter of Guåhan (Guam), Mary Therese Perez Hattori is one of nine children of Paul Mitsuo Hattori who was originally of Kalihi, Hawai'i, and Fermina Leon Guerrero Perez (familian Titang) of Chalan Pago, Guam. Dr. Hattori is the Interim Director of the Pacific Islands Development Program in the East-West Center and is an affiliate faculty for the University of Hawai'i and Chaminade University of Honolulu.