Mary, Breaker of Codes and Conventions

December 7, 2014


One of my favorite novels is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, set in South Carolina in 1964. In it a white teenager, Lily, struggling to make sense of her hazy memories from the afternoon her mother was killed, and living with a father who is abusive, runs away from home with her black “stand-in mother”, Rosaleen, who has just insulted 3 powerful and racist men in town. Lily and Rosaleen head to a town whose name is written on the back of a card with a picture of a black Madonna. The card was in her mother’s possessions, and she is convinced that place holds the secret to her mother’s life and death. When Lily arrives in the town, she discovers 3 black beekeeping sisters, who welcome her and Rosaleen into their home. This is a story of self-discovery, forgiveness, love and belonging, as Lily heals in the company of these women. Lily is surrounded by love and acceptance in a way she has never been before, and in that safe space, is able to find peace and healing.


Bible References

  • Matthew 1:18 - 25