Posts Tagged ‘Sidney Poitier’

I plucked The Lilies of the Field off of  a public library shelf back in March. It’s dust cover attracted me, then the memory of the movie by the same name that starred Sidney Poitier. The movie is a classic that I enjoy anew each time I see it. It never occurred to me that it was adapted from a book. The book followed me  home and then languished in my book bag, on my night stand, atop a coffee table and on the front seat of the car. I renewed it online (isn’t it wonderful to be able to do that?) and I brought it with up to Minnesota last week.

What better weekend to read Lilies of the Field than Easter weekend?

William E. Barrett’s book, a novella, tells the story of a black itinerant worker, traveling across the southwest in his station wagon. He  comes across a small group of women putting up fence posts and soon discovers that they are German Catholic nuns who immigrated from Communist Germany. The Mother Superior, Mother Maria Marthe, believes that Homer Smith (Schmidt  in her German accent) was sent by God to build a chapel in the desert. Schmidt is the answer to their prayers.

Homer agrees to repair the convent roof. He has no intention of building a chapel. Mother Marthe has her own intentions, however, and Schmidt soon finds himself taking the nuns into town for Sunday mass, excavating a burned out home site, and building a chapel. He is never paid for his work but is fed, eating his meals with the small group of nuns. He helps them learn English and they sing in the evening as he plays his guitar. The music, always a great stabilizer of differences, is sung in English and Latin and Spanish. Together, they sing Catholic and Baptist hymns along with Negro spirituals and  they find a common bond in a mix of cultures and religions.

The townspeople slowly come to help as well, donating bricks and slowly working alongside Homer as he builds a chapel in the desert. He makes some money at a side job and is able to buy materials and food to share with the sisters. He even buys them a scavenged bathtub. They, in turn, share the crops they harvest.

At fifty years, this tender story touches gently upon issues of race and religion that remain in our culture today. It also touches upon the power of faith in the impossibilities of life.

The title comes from Gospel, the Book of Matthew:

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?’ (Matthew 6:28-30)

Reading this short book of about 170 pages was like picking a lily out of the fields.


Read Full Post »

Poesy plus Polemics

Words of Wonder, Worry and Whimsy

Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


God didn't go anywhere!


Barnstorming: Seeking Sanctuary in the Seasons of a Rural Life

Mike McCurry's Daily Blog

Creative information about Real Estate and Life in the Western Suburbs of Chicago


Chicago Nature Information & News

Interrupting the Silence

An Episcopal Priest's Sermons, Prayers, and Reflections on Life, Becoming Human, and Discovering Our Divinity

The Pioneer Girl Project

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pioneer Girl

Juliet Batten

Author, artist, speaker, teacher and psychotherapist

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

Thoughts about writing and life

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry


Your Guide to a Stylish Life

Apple Pie and Napalm

music lover, truth teller, homey philosophy

Petals. Paper. Simple Thymes

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth

My Chicago Botanic Garden

A blog for visitors to the Garden.

Living Designs

Circles of Life: My professional background in Foods and Nutrition (MS, Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, RDN, LDN) provides the background for my personal interests in nutrition, foods and cooking; health and wellness; environment and sustainability.

Women Making Strides

Be a Leader in Your Own Life

Middlemay Farm

Katahdin Sheep, Chickens, Ducks, Dogs and Novelist Adrienne Morris live here (with humans).

Book Snob


teacups & buttercups

An old fashioned heart

Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Begun in 2010, this blog offers analysis and reflection by Susan Bailey on the life, works and legacy of Louisa May Alcott and her family. Susan is an active member and supporter of the Louisa May Alcott Society, the Fruitlands Museum and Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House.


Reducing stress one exhale at a time ...exploring Southern California and beyond

Kate Shrewsday

A thousand thousand stories

Blogging from the Bog

musings from and about our cottage in the West of Ireland