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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Suffering comes in many forms: loss of a loved one, physical and substance abuse, violence, bullying. The list is quite extensive. How one deals with suffering is an individual experience. For many, writing, sharing our stories helps ease the pain that haunts and threatens to consume our lives. The power of one is in the releasing of the horrors that haunt, like allowing a butterfly to fly away freely. “You cannot kill a butterfly,/ it’s really quite impossible./ Sure they live and sure they die,/ their spirit is unstoppable.” Or the promise of a rainbow, its vibrant colors reassuring after a violent storm. “Arching colours in the sky/ promise to let storms pass by./ Glistening through the rain’s sweet mist,/ prisms tease with hopefulness.”
Sacred Hearts Rising Sisterhood is a companion guide to a collection of healing short stories, Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time. Brenda Hammon compiled both books. This review only discusses the companion guide. It’s a collection of testimonials and personal poems written by Colleen Songs in honor of the stories shared in Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time. A group of women was challenged to unveil their hidden, submerged sufferings, stories of deaths, loss, abuse and so much more. They shared their stories so that others could learn from them, to help unravel their own hidden sufferings. The testimonials are heartrending and cleansing; the poems gently soothing and refreshing. This is a book of healing and rebirth. As lovely as the testimonials and the poems were, I felt a little lost as I didn’t have access to the stories themselves. Instead of two separate books, perhaps this would have worked better as one: story, testimonial and refreshing poems all in one.