Beatrice


Introduction

Beatrice is a young suffragette who is incarcerated in the early 1900's in New York City.  One night, she is visited by a spirit to aid her in a quest for her true self.  This intrigues her to uncover the hidden secrets of her Mother's childhood as an orphan, in the Loire Valley, France. 

Her mysterious findings takes her on a journey that will unravel information about the time her mother spent in a convent with a powerful spiritual woman and to investigate one of the first historical witch trials in Tuscany, Italy in 1428.

The short story is a blend of poetic verse and historical fiction.  It includes some real life characters and events that bridge the spirit world with the living. It recaptures lessons that we often forget about ourselves, the ones we love and the world as we know it. 


Chapter One 

Beatrice

Time seemed to have stopped in the deepest of twilight intermixed with energy and light and through the veil your prayers have brought me here. Although some of your prayers once seemed rather repetitive and empty, this time your meditation spoke of truth.

My dear Beatrice your intentions are strong and benevolent but somewhat horrific.  I have seen your life thus far and you have not always made the wisest choices.

First, we must take a closer look at your heart, because your soul is suppressed by your emotions and childish anger. 

Your ancestors in spirit feel that it is time for you to journey further with me. They will be summoned to work on answering your intentions and perhaps help you with future decisions you make in this lifetime.

Sitting in the dark on a filthy jail cell floor, Beatrice did not know what to make of this voice. She began fidgeting with her tangled raven blue hair and replied to the voice, OH--I have prayed fiercely and my prayers have gone unanswered.

I have prayed in native lodges with ancient pipes and grandfather stones and also for days at Sundance. I have spent hours within grand cathedrals and with Voodoo priestesses in the quarters in New Orleans. I am always looking for truth and wanting to be of higher self. I am searching to become the center of all things that we are all created to be but my disappointments leave me senseless, I am numb.

I have suffered the wars and illness and many that I loved have gone before me.  The challenges l faced with all my good effort and prayers have left me empty.

My faith is broken. I have nothing left and I will surrender to everything you have planned for me. And within the nothingness that I have please show me everything.

The cell is cold and I am very tired said Beatrice. It seems this is the only way I can communicate with your spirit is with my own energy and I am exhausted. Beatrice was struggling to keep awake and began falling asleep. 

Her drowsy dream state brought her back to a time she spent with her Lakota friend, Zintka Little Bird, at a ceremonial lodge.  All she could remember where the words that grandmother spirit gave her:

Swallow the spider in the native lodge Grandmother Iktomi at the North gate dislodged between the tongue and cheek of earth the inipi fire spoke to grandfather smoke. The dark is rising and her web has broke. Humanity hangs by the throat one birth four directions

BEATRICE! Are you awake?  Said the spirit.

Beatrice awoke abruptly and groaned, so tell me, who are you?  I don’t know you? I have a tingling feeling all around me and it feels like butterflies kissing me.

I am your Spirit Guide said the voice. I would like to hear your last intention.

Beatrice replied in a faint whisper, well, I have forgotten how to love. I don’t feel anything so I cannot love. And I wonder if will I ever be able to love again.

I feel broken but I am on fire. I want to love again in its purest form.

The deepest of intentions of my soul is to be free and to give and receive love without any judgement regardless of race, gender or religiosity.  Can this world really exist?

As for the human condition, and I am sure you already know this, my husband of only six months is in Assisi on a vision quest. He believes he may need to lead a life in prayer without me. I feel trapped and uncertain.

I also must know if death is an extension of life?  My mother is ill and I may lose her soon.

Forgive my babbling, I gave more than one prayer. I guess my compulsiveness has led me to this jail cell. 

Beatrice looked concerned that she was unworthy of her intentions and her big hazel eyes filled with tears. She looked down in shame and then she just started laughing out loud hysterically. Her laugh echoed among the walls as if she roared, it sounded like shear madness. She did not stop and other inmates told her to shut up and threatened to beat her if they could.

She suddenly got quiet and said under her breath, I am cracking. She folded her little hands as if she was going to pray and muttered, please help me.

She looked down at her ripped white suffragette dress and began thinking out loud how she was going to get out of this jail without serving time. This had been her first women’s suffrage parade and she was not surprised at being arrested.

All she could think of were those fowl -thinking men who threw eggs at her. She had stains all over her dress.  Beatrice hated marching but felt it was needed to fight for women so they would not   be silenced any more.  The streets reeked like urine and she was certain her shoes did too. I am so disgraceful she said out loud.

The spirit guide aura lingered in Beatrice’s cell for awhile and told her to calm down. It specified that in order for her intentions to manifest it would help her to read the journals of her Mother from when she was an orphan in Moulin, France. The journals hold the key to her own purpose in life and would reveal answers of the past that can empower her in the present.

The spirit’s voice started fading and the room seemed very florescent for some time with orbs of light floating around. Suddenly it got quiet and dark again with an odor of roses that gradually dissipated.

Beatrice rubbed her eyes and finally calmed herself. She disrobed from her marching regalia from earlier that day and settled into a corner of the jail cell with a blanket wrapped around her.

Lighting a cigarette, she felt something scratching her on the blanket and noticed a piece of paper was tucked into a crack in the wall. She turned the paper over and noticed it was a poem.  She took several drags out of her cigarette and waited awhile before she read the poem. In her deeper thought she wondered if it was the spirit who left her this paper because it answered a question she had asked.  And it is beautiful dear spirit.

I will reach you for language is gone and all senses defused

But now my love is filtered through light and is now my only source. 

The breath endless without air for it is comforting

My sight dimensional and clear even in the darkest night,

I am everywhere

The apple is sweeter and earliest of springs eternal 

The weight of continuous life Lighter....

You will recognize me.

I am everywhere

Beatrice was finally released from prison the next day and was given a pending court date the following year for protesting.  When she arrived home she directly went to the basement to retrieve her Mother’s old chest that had several journals in it. The chest sat full of mold and cobwebs on the floor and the journals were almost falling apart but she had to ask her Mother a few questions first. Scrambling through the artifacts of her life.  She could see her Mother looked nervous as to what she might find was but also excited at the same time.

Mother seemed so weak sitting in her chair with her faded robe. I could smell the burnt toast in the air knowing she had forgotten it because she was too busy staring at me.  Oh dear, Mother said, stumbling to get the burnt toast out of the toaster.  Beatrice what adventures are up to today? Is it another march or are you going on travel to see your husband? I see your suitcase sitting on the floor. And what is it that you want from my journals?  You want to get to know me better, she said in a laughing tone. 

Mother, I need to find answers about myself and I was told in a dream that you are connected to what I am looking for, said Beatrice.

Of course, you are connected, I am your Mother, she replied.  But I think I know what your dream is trying to interpret.

You know I was an orphan in Moulin, I spent time at this place and at this convent with a young nun who they are investigating. I read an article in the newspaper yesterday, the investigation is coming to a head.

Investigating, Beatrice said.  For what?  Is she on trial?

Well sort of but not really. She is dead, Mother said.

So how are they investigating her? Beatrice asked.

Mother replied softly, she is being investigated for miracles that occurred and they plan on exhuming her body next year.

Beatrice looked intrigued and started blinking nervously, 

Mother, you mean to tell me you spent time with this woman in Moulin?

With adoration in her voice she said—Yes! I spent some time with her and she is in my heart. She was very kind to me when I was abandoned in so many ways, particularly emotionally.

You have to read my journal Beatrice to get more details. Better yet, if you go to France they plan on conducting the exhumation next year. Maybe you can go and help them prove she was indeed someone extraordinary.

I would love to Beatrice responded.  Mother, why are you sad all of a sudden?

 When you go there it will not be just for travel. It will be an experience that you will later understand, said her Mother. But please don’t read the journal until you arrive on site.  I want you to have no assumptions or preconceived ideas. I want you to feel from the heart and not the mind.


 

Chapter 2

Bernarda

The year is 1909 and much of the world is transfixed on new inventions and expeditions.  Nine months have passed since I found my Mother’s journal which leads to my personal expedition to the Loire Valley, France.

I have been feeling very alone since my journey began. A loneliness that is deep like the crypt that is going to be unearthed here today. I left my family behind in America with much guilt because my Mother’s illness only got worse. And I am wondering if she feels a sense of abandonment since I left weeks ago. But today marks the first day of the rest of my life.

When I arrived here this morning, it was obvious that my journey had just began and it hast taken me to the center of the earth where I believe miracles happen. A place of un- imagined peace and profound love that is only felt in another dimension. I set foot here and my emptiness disappears without struggle like the sinking fog at sunrise.    

The crypt sits on top of a hill in a convent where remains of a beloved mentor of my Mother is being exhumed to be inspected for sainthood. Mother actually is a quiet woman she never spoke much about her life in France but she had stayed here as an orphan in Moulin. She never knew her family but had spent time with Bernarda when she visited the convent.

My anticipation grew as I could hear in the distance a loud grinding sound and constant hammering. The digging was relentless and soon the vault of a crypt was about to be opened. I sat down shaking. I had a little bit of tea but it got cold so I began to read my Mother’s journal about this woman which I found mystical. It made me wonder ----who was she?

Journal entry May 1,1876

My feet hurt today from the trip we made from Moulin. It was May and all the girls believed on the first of this month one was to find their true love. The fields where filled with flowers and the sky was turquoise. The spring finally chased the winter away but the chill of winter left my soul frozen.  Today we traveled outside of Moulin and the order from the orphanage was to spend time at the convent to learn overtures of obedience which was difficult for me and for others as well.  I put on my pink scarf and wrapped it around my head for this was the mood I was in.

At last we can get out from this empty, dirty place they call home.  I need a new home, maybe if they see my scarf they will notice me and a loving family will take me in?

I arrived and not far from there on the hill was this lovely place, with gardens and majestic buildings I felt peace radiating from there, I was curious.  All the girls are running around acting silly and I am pulled away to the garden where I see lovely wildflowers that would match my scarf. I heard whispering and I saw a lady sitting in the chapel, as if she was having a conversation with herself. I kept silent and was wondering what she was doing. I lay on the ground and I got my fancy hose dirty but didn't care this time because I was interested and wanted to hear what she was saying, she seemed enlightened yet frail.

How can I spend every moment loving, she said, love is within us like when we are born with no judgment? But there is so much adversity in the world; poverty, plague war and hunger? She paused and said yes, I will pray with you.

Atom of peace 

There holds promise within an atom of peace that does not evade us

A peace that moves our soul and anchors there within every particle of our being It becomes all of me

There holds compassion within one's heart that is nursed by the nebulas womb for all of humanity A compassion that from the beginning that holds no structure, ego, politics or religion, It becomes all of me

There holds fortitude within love the rests within the quasars like shooting stars, A fortitude that is infinite It becomes the light of me

There holds intention within beautiful speech that harnesses clarity An intention which is the breath of life It becomes the light of me

There holds promise within an atom of peace that transmutes fear beyond courage It becomes the grace of me A peace that rests at the seat of our soul and shapes our destiny

It becomes the Truth of me

Time must of have passed for I was late for my first prayer class. I fell asleep in the garden and the priest and our principal shook me awake—and then she started spanking me.

We looked all over for you, God will punish you for this, are you trying to play games with

us? Everyone is waiting and you decided take a nap you idiot!  Always slow from the start, I don't know why you even exist, said the principal.

Father Peirce stepped in and said, isn't that a bit harsh, she is only a child?  

I began to cry but deep down I remembered those words that cradled me to sleep and felt peace within which stopped me from crying. I looked at the chapel and the lady was gone.  The priest took my hand and led me to the main building.   The principal whispered in my ear, no dinner for you tonight and tomorrow.

The children all gathered as father Peirce walked swiftly into the prayer class. All the girls laughed at me and I sat at attention once the principal screamed Silence! I was so embarrassed and was made fun of all day. I was trying to pray the words of our father but all I could hear where the words of the lady in the garden. The words which I believe felt what love was supposed to feel like.  I wanted to see her but she was not around. I was so distracted watching out for her throughout the entire day I was worried the principal would notice.

Finally, the class was over, and I walked around the dark hallways, but nobody was there.  It was time for dinner and I was sent back to my room. My stomach was growling because I didn’t eat much that day and I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage not eating much for two more days.  I was feeling sick.

As I walked towards my room across hall, I noticed a dimly lit room. As I approached it I could see somebody sewing in the chair by the the fireplace and I realized it was the lady who was praying at the chapel garden.

My heart was beating so fast I leaned on the door to take a peek and it squeaked loudly giving myself away.

She smiled and asked me can I help you?

Foolishly, I said NO!  I couldn't speak   --- I saw the light from the fire it made the room look warm and inviting which seemed to have calmed me down and then I said shyly—Yes!

 Aren't you supposed to be at dinner right now, she asked?

 Ugh, No, I was punished so I don't eat.

 What? don't eat! That’s, not right? Who said?  

 The principal said I am not to eat dinner for two days, I answered.

 Come in dear, I have some bread and milk, I will warm it up for you.

 Oh no, I will be punished more.

 Don't worry, she replied, I will have a chat with anyone who disputes feeding a young growing woman.

She gathered the bread and milk with her little hands. I could see she was frail and needed the fire to keep her warm due to illness. But something about her hypnotized me. Her beauty, her peace and those words, took me back to that moment in the garden.

 In the marvels and meditations of my heart that it be stills, I have become silent within myself and feel what is said to be love at last. But not in a human form but in spirit. Much like the deepest root of the tree, you do not see or hear it but you feel the love emanating from it; like the umbilical cord of our earth mother that nourishes all the flowers and saplings on the trees become born. I believe beauty resides in each of us if given a chance to feel loved. -- I am beginning to understand things more clearly now.

After I finished my meal she asked me to come back tomorrow knowing I was to have no dinner for another night.  She said, I will have honey and cheese tomorrow so please come.  I accepted her invitation and she was pleased.

The next night, I got there a little late because I was looking for a journal to write down my experience at the convent before I was to return to the orphanage from hell. I fetched a journal that was somewhat flimsy with torn seams but it did the trick I was able to write in it to remind myself that there is love that exists in this world and I will do everything I can to obtain it.

The lady prepared a lovely dish with cheese honey and bread. I slouched down into the plate chewing ever so slowly as I didn’t want the moment to end.  It was wonderful. It tasted so good I enjoyed every bite and wanted to be a proper dinner guest and not look sloppy.

She asked me, you seem to be enjoying it, but why do you look sad?

I replied, because I don’t want to leave I never had a family and I am happy here. I always wondered who was my family and If I would ever possess the qualities to become someone special in this lifetime.

She said, you are part of God and you are special.  To God we belong, our hearts we rent.

Really?  I said.  I want to know who my family is and if I will ever have a new family?

I can pray and ask the lady I was speaking to in the garden, maybe she can help?

OH YES! I said enthusiastically.

As I finished my meal, she kneeled toward the window looking at the sky and began praying.

It took some time that I fell asleep in her room.

Later that night she woke me up and said, I have some answers for you.

I jumped up from the blanket and said, please tell me.

Your family comes from a bloodline in Italy who moved to France during some terrible times of the earliest witch trials that have been recorded, she said.

So, I am bad, I have witches in my bloodline?

No, she replied. A witch was put to death called Matteuccia and one of our ancestors was wrongly persecuted and died the same day she was put to death. That day many things happened to the town and her descendants have information that may help her. She was a powerful young woman.

Really?  I have to find out someday so I can help in the future?

Well it may take some time, Bernarda said.  If you do not find out, someone else will and reveal its miracle to you in the future.

Thank you so much.  I feel like a have an identity and there is a missing link to fill my heart.

One last thing Bernarda, before I return to my room.

Yes, she said?

Will I ever find a permanent home with a loving family?

Yes, you will soon have a home and one day a family of your own and you will be happy.

Bernarda, seemed very tired from praying and I went back to my room. I gave her a big hug and she smiled. I felt so loved and I didn’t want to leave but I had to part with her.  I feel she was blessing me and it was an incredible feeling I will never forget.  END of journal - - - -

Beatrice said out loud THAT’S IT? There has to be more? Maybe I picked up the wrong journal?

Beatrice was left with more questions and was beginning to wonder--How did the nun know so much and did she have conversations with a higher source? She felt that through these conversations there was the answer to who her true family was in physical form but in spirit I believe she found her here in the valley.

She turned to the back of the last page of the Journal and it was stuck to the previous page.  She had to tear it open gently so she didn’t ruin it and there was an entry dated twenty years later.

February 10,1896

Later that year, I did find a permanent home. The family was nice struggled with money but I was able to finish school, fall in love and have a beautiful daughter Beatrice.  I never returned to this journal after that day. Bernarda passed away a few years later from pneumonia which had my heart broken forever. It took me a long time to manage life without her.  I also believe my daughter will pick-up the story from which I left off.  Beatrice, you are probably reading this right now and you are the miracle she is talking about.

Beatrice read the last note of the journal and was bewildered but also inspired to go immediately to Italy. First to speak to the town’s people about any information she can find regarding the trial of Matteuccia and secondly any information she could gather about the ancestor she may be connected to. But she also needed to write a letter to her husband that she would meet him in Assisi at one point but was delayed because of her adventure.

 


 

  

Chapter 3

Veronica 

Letter to Husband on his journey to Assisi

I am in France and discovered that my Mother’s heritage is also in Italy—I think our ancestor was a witch in one of the first witch trials in Italy and I will be delayed.  I am not sure if we will be able to meet until we are back in New York.  I plan on having my answer to Mother when I am back in the US but I must have her questions answered and mine too.

My dear husband I know your pilgrimage in Assisi will find your heart’s desire. Each step you take and breath you exhale will summit you to the peak of the majestic mountains that you long for.  The light rays will open your eyes and bring peace to your mind as did Francis and you will hear the voice of God in the air and see the brilliant shapes of the clouds. The perfumed sap of the trees will remain in your memory and guide you through the journey we call life.  While bringing clarity to your eager, loving soul.

I know you feel that you have a higher calling in this particular journey which will intoxicate you and I cannot wait to see you again. Love, Beatrice

After ten days, Beatrice settled into the Umbria region in Italy in a town called Todi.  It took her days to get to the municipal building to gain access to public records because they date back to so long ago.  There really wasn’t much left, but she was able to talk to some towns people who knew of the first Witch trail in Italy. 

A story has been told for generations, that one of the family decedents of a young guardsman at the town jail claims to have known the young girl who died around the time of the Todi witch trail. And that he wrote down the experience he shared with the girl named Veronica who died a day after the Todi witch was executed.

There are many towns folk who believe she was innocent and her ghost was seen throughout the years since her death and strange things have occurred since that time.

This information sparked Beatrice’s interest like no other and she knew she it would take her years to investigate further and this was only the beginning.

Days went by and she interviewed various people. She was invited into town to families’ homes for dinner and engaged in many different conversations with them, including ghost stories about Veronica. She felt that she needed to clarify what was fact or fiction so that in the future she can present the proper evidence about the historical witch trial.

Beatrice asked for special permission to read any documents relating to the case with the limited time she had. The townspeople where very happy to hand over what they had for her to review. They were also pleased someone came forward to do so after so many years.  It took some time but she finally was given the permission she needed to further the investigation. 

A lot of information was gathered she had to sift through the documents quickly in a very limited amount of time. She was also running out of money and had to return the documents in a week.

One of the families whom she befriended offered her a room and food to help her get by and she immediately accepted the offer.

Later that evening, after eating a generous bistecca, she settled into the room.  It was warm and had dim lit rock face walls and ceilings high with wood beams and ancient floors but it was good enough for her to take her time reading the details of the trial. She felt a similar presence to the time she spent in the jail cell and she knew her spirit guide was there with her. This was an indication that she may find what she is looking for.

After eating some fruit to give her energy she settled into her nightgown, unraveled her hair and grabbed her blanket and began to read page after page. Over one hundred pages later she came across what appeared to be what she was looking for from the guardsman who was present at the trail and it read:

1428, Domenico Ruggerio

 The sheltered chasm of this community no better than mule or mute was the basis of municipal courts decision regarding the trail of Matteuccia Francisci burned for witchcraft in 1428, Tuscany, Italy. She was alleged to use magic, charged with diabolism and killing children and having inappropriate affairs with both genders. The trail was one of the first witchcraft trails in European history that must be noted.

Matteuccia did not fight that day, in fact she turned the court room into a theatre. Even knowing her fate would not be one of good outcome, she gave them what they wanted to hear to be done with it.

She wanted to be remembered and hoped someday that her story would be told

One of the statements given for court records in which they asked her if she was guilty she replied:

YES!  I did it all!  I became Satan’s lover, slicked my legs with oil and road his spiny back. The oil I made from lavender collected outside my house made the ride easier to Benevento. The famous walnut tree stands there & all the girls go to worship Diana under this tree during the full moon.

Those beautiful, virginal little beasts. I honored their requests to find their beloveds and cast spells on their men and their bodies to become pregnant. OH yes and I forgot, I slept with them all and they tasted as sweet as plums. She laughed with madness as her voice echoed across the court room. Her saliva got all over her clothes, you would think she was possessed.  The court room gasped and was frightened.  She knew she didn’t have a chance it was her last stand. She cursed at all of them and never stopped. Not long after that, she was sent to her death.

A bishop from Benevento who attended the trial returned to his town and chopped down that tree she mentioned in the trial to the root. The bishop felt it was owned by the devil and it should be destroyed immediately. A few years later, no matter how many attempts of destroying the tree, it always grew back.  During the time of the Matteuccia hanging, many women were also brought in for questioning and if found guilty, they were hanged at this tree. 

The next day, I was ordered to gather whatever little personal belongings remained in Matteuccia’s cell and I saw the young girl Veronica whom I recognized, quietly praying,  

I yelled at Veronica and said do you know why you are here?

She said, I was dragged here with, Matteuccia. Do you know if she was put on trial yet?

I responded, did you not hear the commotion?  They just burned her. She was put to death for sorcery.

Veronica’s eyes flooded with tears but became fixed at a hummingbird that had come to the window where she had left a red poppy that she had gathered at Matteuccia’s garden.

Did you hear what I said Veronica, they burnt Matteuccia!

Yes, she replied in a defeated low tone. 

 Why are you here Veronica what where you doing at Matteuccia’s house?

 You see, she said--- I was picking poppy flowers out in the field and I decided to take a nap. Matteuccia had so many beautiful gardens and she made perfumes and ointments and tinctures for some of the girls and I wanted to grab some poppies to attract the hummingbirds.  When my mother was alive she loved humming birds and I believe when I see a hummingbird she is with me.

So, I took a nap in the poppy field.  Within a short time, I suddenly heard screaming and watched Matteuccia being charged and dragged out into town.  Within a second as I began to get up from where I was resting, a very strong man wrapped his entire arm around me and lifted me up swiftly off the ground --I almost lost my boots and he asked me, are you making potions, Veronica?

I barely had a chance to explain that I was in the garden picking flowers.  As I looked up at him I realized it was this man who made advances to me a year ago and I refused him.  He was rather happy to lock me up.

He handed me over to the guards and he insisted that I was working for Matteuccia but nobody believed me that he was making this story up. 

The guard didn’t care and said lock her up and put handcuffs around my wrists.

The man who made advances whispered in my ear, You should have done what you were told, otherwise this would have been easier for you.

When Veronica told me the story it was obvious she was in very deep trouble. I asked her if she understood how bad the situation was and if she knew whether her father and sisters were aware that she was imprisoned.

No Veronica said, Father is in Carrara with my sisters. He was commissioned by artists to cut rock for a Cardinal tombstone so he is not going to be here for me.

I anxiously told her that I had to get word out to her father. Do you understand you are going to trail any moment?

Yes, she said. I will be with mother if anything should happen to me. I am not afraid.

I left her cell shortly to notify her father who worked at the quarry in Carrara but it was too late. Veronica, was put to death the next day and before she died she said these last words:

You have all lost sight of yourselves and your hearts and you all cast judgment without any knowledge. You are living with your minds and not your souls.  I am innocent and one day I will return and you will all love me.

You will see me in all living things in many dimensions, through: art, plant, animal and human form, in all that is divine you will no longer hate me but love me deeply.

Veronica’s Father returned too late and was so distraught that he could not even walk.  He vomited violently when he heard how they executed his eldest daughter.  He somehow got his strength together to pack the family’s things and moved near Carrara with his daughters and refused to ever return to Todi.

For the rest of his life he worked at the quarry until he was a very old man. He befriended the young artist, Michael Angelo, who said he saw a young woman crying and praying by the massive stone. She presented herself as the father’s daughter, Veronica, who had perished years ago. From that stone his inspiration carved out the famous Pieta.

I believe that is what she meant by many dimensions. She would express love in spirit form through others who are pure of heart. To help bridge the spirit world with the living world to teach lessons about themselves and others. Whether it comes in the forms of art or literature; the beauty in nature or the love of a four-legged creature, we are surrounded by energy at all times. We need to accept and receive the gifts of all beings because they each serve a purpose to help us lead a more peaceful life.

Domenico’s last wishes were to have his descendants keep a list of activity and sightings even if he was no longer here on earth. He was convinced she is a good spirit or what some call a saint and there needs to be justice for her.

Years later, it is rumored that there have also been sightings of Veronica at Mt. Etna where she spent lots of time with her father.  A town prophet said they believe her ghost has been seen by many people. The prophet mentioned a great pope will survive an assassination attempt and that the weapon made from saltpeter taken from Mt Etna, would not take his life. Also, since the death of Veronica, it has been documented that the hummingbird population has increased since her passing throughout the areas she visited.

 Beatrice became overwhelmed with the information she had gathered and is convinced there are family ties to Veronica, the lady in France and her mother.  The historical records show that the sisters moved to France not far from the orphanage where her mother stayed.

Her time was running short and she had to deliver the documents back to the town hall and not miss her ship back to New York. In a few weeks, she needed to meet her husband and not miss her report date to serve her time for the suffrage march. 

With all this in hand she learned she was no longer afraid to serve her time but had become humbled and resilient. She had been able to bring something back to her Mother about their heritage and family.  There were still a lot of missing pieces but her confidence was strong. 

Beatrice gave back all the documents after spending days taking notes. After she left to pack her bags to go back to New York she read in a local paper that the body of the lady in the convent had been inspected and was found to be incorrupt. Surprisingly there was not sufficient enough evidence to consider further inquiry and her body was to be interned again but perhaps her case may be reviewed at a later date if necessary.

She felt disappointed that they had not found any further evidence.  Intuitively she felt that one day she would provide some of the evidence they needed to reopen the case.

Beatrice travelled for weeks by ship and on her journey back from Europe she felt that she had grown as a woman and also in spirit.  She was looking forward to seeing her husband and her mother for whom she felt complete distraction the entire time she was investigating knowing how sick she was. 

When she arrived at her home she saw her Mother at the doorway and she said with a big smile

Well? Beatrice!

Beatrice ran into her arms with elation and gave her a long embrace.  She noticed a cigar resting on the ash tray freshly lit and turned to the hallway and saw her husband.  Beatrice ran to him and gave him a big kiss on the mouth.  He looked at her as though he saw her for the first time, she was radiant and glowing.  He also knew that the woman he last saw had been left behind and no longer existed and that Beatrice had changed and grown in many ways.

Beatrice was happy to be home and noticed her husband had changed as well from his trip in Assisi. He seemed more peaceful and they had a lot to discuss about their travels in Europe. 

After taking a bath, she spoke for hours to her mother and husband about her findings and they were fascinated. She knew she was on to something but needed to investigate further.

Her mother was also convinced that Veronica and the nun in the convent where either one and the same or spoke to the same source or guide.

The night Bernarda was praying with me at the convent she knew all along what was going to unravel in my lifetime, including having a child, said her Mother.  That is the evidence I have to prove a miracle occurred.

Beatrice replied, what do you mean by that?

Well, before you where born, I was told I was unable to bear children and I prayed to the lady in the convent to bring her blessings to me and I prayed for months. Then in 1890 you were born, said her mother.

Beatrice said with heartfelt emotion, I have to give this information to the next inquiry for her which I hear will happen in a few more years. Word is out that there are other people coming forward with stories of miracles as well and are not happy that she was interned again so quickly.

Her mother and husband agreed that they must move forward with this but first, Beatrice had to serve her time in a woman’s facility in a downtown tower. She had been given a 90-day sentence and was required to serve it next week.

As the days passed prior to her sentencing she spent time with her husband and ailing mother.  She felt her marriage was more solid and that her husband fell in love with her again as when they first met. They gained a form of love from their experience that they did not have when they entered the marriage and it made them a much stronger couple.

He also had experiences with spirit in Assisi and together they concluded that you must intend with love and conviction and undoubting belief in order for truth and hope to manifest. It does not matter what faith you are born into.  The animals, the natural environment all hold a valuable lesson to each of us and both a vital part to self and global healing. Without this: knowledge, peace and love cannot exist. This is the hope she would take to her jail cell to guide her through that time and then the rest of her life.

At the end, Beatrice’s mother helped pack her things before she was sent off to the tower in downtown Manhattan. She gave her a big hug and held her hand for a very long time.  Her husband kissed her and gave her an eagle feather that had been given to him from a native elder in his travels for strength and continued healing. 

As she arrived at the jail for processing she said her last goodbyes. She changed into her clothes alongside other suffragette prisoners and was given a quiet cell with a small window.  She was at peace and could only feel Veronica’s presence and how she must have felt but her circumstances in 1428 where far graver.

She brought all her notes and a large journal to the cell hoping that one day she would write a book about her experiences in France and Italy.  She sat gently on her bed for a while sorting through her notes and heard a sound at a distance by the window that was getting closer and closer. She looked out the window and saw a hummingbird. Her eyes filled with tears and she said, I am home now and I am loved.

 

  

 

The End

 

 

  © Angela Mendola January 2018

  Artwork by Colleen McElhearn (January 2018)