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Sunday, July 29, 2012

A young Catholic British soldier......

named Michael Collins served in King's Royal Rifles and Commandos during WWII. He enlisted in 1941 at age of 17, claiming that he was 18, in order to serve his country in her hour of greatest peril. By doing this, he was following in the footsteps of his older brother, already fighting in the arena, and his father, a veteran of WWI, a holder of the Military Medal for outstanding valor, and a member of the Home Guard. Every night the Nazi air attacks took a toll on London and its outskirts where the young man and his family lived. Feeling that death might be near him and those he loved, he was inspired to compose the following prayer for his mother before he left home:

"As Thou didst walk in Galilee,
So loving Saviour, walk with him for me:
For since the years have passed and he has grown,
I cannot follow; he must walk alone.
Be Thou my feet that I have had to stay,
For Thou canst comrade him on every way.
Be Thou my voice, when sinful things allure,
Pleading with him to choose those that endure.
Be Thou my hand that would keep his in mine
All, all things that a Mother must resign.
When he was little, I could walk with him and guide
But now, I pray Thee, Thou be at his side.
And as Thy Blessed Mother folded Thee,
So, kind and loving Saviour, guard my son for me."

Many thanks to his brother, Richard Collins, for giving me the permission to publish this moving letter from his blog, "Linen on the Hedgerow." May Michael Collins, who died of TB in Pembrokshire in 1956, rest in the arms of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother.

Michael Collins, RIP


  1. Thank you so much Pearl, the family will greatly appreciate your post. Richard

  2. Pearl, I am so happy you posted Michael Collins' excellent poem. Not only is the content truly moving, the rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter are constructing with skill and grace. Here indeed was a loyal Catholic Englishman. "Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and make perpetual Light to shine upon him."

  3. You're most welcome, Richard! It was my pleaure and honor.

    As Emerald and Mack confirmed, your brother's poem is a real treasture, as a piece of poetry and a priceless keepsake.

    "Eternal rest grant unto him...."