‘Pope Francis cited a Midwestern poet when urging U.S. bishops to welcome Hispanic immigrants into their churches Wednesday.
“I am a native of a land which is also vast, with great open ranges, a land which, like your own, received the faith from itinerant missionaries,” he said. “I too know how hard it is to sow the Gospel among people from different worlds, with hearts often hardened by the trials of a lengthy journey.” He then argued that they should rely on the “epic struggle of the pioneers and the homely wisdom and endurance of the settlers.”
“As one of your poets has put it, ‘strong and tireless wings’ combined with the wisdom of one who ‘knows the mountains,’” he added.
The poet in question is Edgar Lee Masters, from President Obama’s home state of Illinois. An attorney and author who lived in the first part of the 20th century, Masters published 21 books of poetry, but his Spoon River Anthology, published in 1915, is considered his masterpiece.