Beautiful, moving, I can't do it justice...
I just finished reading The Hummingbird's Daughter, a historical novel by Luis Alberto Urrea, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. (You pronounce the name "oo-Ray-ah.")
The culmination of 20 years of research and writing, his story tells about the life of one of his ancestors, Teresa Urrea, (sometimes known as The Saint of Cabora and the Mexican Joan of Arc).
The story is set in Mexico, in the years leading up to the Mexican Revolution. It touches on many of my favorite themes.
The story begins with Terestia's mother, the Hummingbird, a young, orphaned, peasant girl who, at 14, is bearing a child.
The Strong Women Archetype:
As a young girl, Teresita, in search of a friend, walks up to the big house where the ranch owner lives. When no one answers her knock, she lets herself in.
At one point, Teresita's is offered many luxuries but with them come lots of restrictions. She accepts some and rejects others.
Willingness to Question & Challenge Authority:
Miraculous events occur and suddenly, Teresita has an audience of followers who view her as a saint.
She insisted, "I am only a woman. I am not a saint."
She sounds like a wise and admirable woman to me.
About religion, she said:
"What our Father wants from us is our emotions, our feelings. He demands pure love, and that love, that sentiment, is found only in the selfless practice of love, of good, of service."
"How can we hope to love God if we can't even love our neighbors?"
"Let us do good." "Let us love. This is the only religion." "The doing of good is the only prayer that God requires."
"Let us put aside our hatred and take up love."
She talks of truth and delivers messages of empowerment, non-violence, compassion and love.
The book, while nearly 500 pages long, is written in such a way that I could easily pick it up, read for a few minutes and take something away.
With the Hummingbird's Daughter, Urrea, has woven a masterpiece.
Things I forgot to mention: John, you can listen to Urrea read the book. Melissa, Urrea's latest blog post was a tribute to Mary Jo Johnston, a librarian from Kankakee, Illinois. Cam, Urrea's a college professor. He's taught at Harvard, in Lafayette and now lives and teaches in Chicago. See what Cam wrote about our hummingbirds. I wrote about the ones we saw in Louisiana too.