Words of Winter

A little bird this winter day

Was sitting on a snowy branch,

And all the tree looked right away

Like one big blossom avalanche.

This winter day a little word,

Your own, came by on spritely wing,

And everything was bloom and bird,

And all the blessed day was spring.

Author, Poet & Priest

Fray Angelico Chavez wrote This Winter Day in 1947. This stanza of verse was one of the many creative outlets for the New Mexico priest. Chavez entered the religious life at 14 years of age and was ordained in 1937. Fray Angelico served in the military as chaplain during World War II. He was part of the Fighting 200th Division in the Philippines.

A Way With Words

The versatile padre was fluent in several languages, including English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. Because of his proficiency in languages, he was invited by his superiors to study in Rome, Italy, and in Oxford, England. Instead, he opted to become a missionary at several rural villages throughout New Mexico. Chavez wrote 22 books, including five books of poetry, five Belles Lettres, and a novel titled, Our Lady of Toledo. In addition, he wrote nine historical books and two biographies. Today, there’s a library in Santa Fe that bears the name of New Mexico’s preeminent Hispanic author and historian. If you’re conducting historical research, or looking for archival photos visit the Fray Angelico Chavez Library at the New Mexico History Museum.

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