"All Miracle"
A Four Volume Series of Poetry
Elizabeth Rooney

Elizabeth Brigham Rooney was born in 1924 in the rural southwest Wisconsin township of Blue Mounds. Her father was a classics scholar and amateur botanist turned dairy farmer, and her mother, an English teacher. From early on she was simultaneously nurtured in an appreciation of great literature, and in the wonder and beauty of creation.

She earned a scholarship to Smith College in Massachusetts and pursued her love of language as an English major, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She also made the decision to be confirmed by the Episcopal Church and became head of the New England Student Christian Movement. After Smith, she went on to earn her M.A. in Christian Education from Columbia and Union Theological Seminary.
While in seminary she met her future husband, Edwin (Mike) Rooney, a student at General Theological Seminary studying for the priesthood. They raised their family of four out East where Mike was employed by the Diocese of New York, and Elizabeth worked for the state as an employment counselor.
In 1972 they moved back to Elizabeth's childhood home in Blue Mounds to run the family's tourist business, the Cave of the Mounds. The cave, now a registered National Natural Landmark, was accidentally discovered on Brigham Farm in 1939. (click here for more Brigham Farm history)
In 1978, Elizabeth was invited to join a group of Episcopal lay women called The Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, whose lives are committed to intercession, thanksgiving and simplicity. While on a retreat preparatory to her induction into the Society, she had a profound and life changing encounter with the Holy Spirit - an experience which she described simply as" falling in love with God". She said she felt "As if my veins were bubbling with champagne and the poems began to flow freely, coming as surprises day after day". As she continued to mature spiritually, the poems continued to flow, and by the time of her death in February 1999, she had written over 700 of them.
The poems came to her as she was praying, doing the dishes, walking in the garden, and even driving the car. She always carried a notebook along in case some event or thought triggered the creative process. Writing to her friend and fellow poet, Luci Shaw, she commented, " Mine seems to come like butterflies, and I try to net them and get them on paper without knocking too many bright bits of color off their wings" Nothing was too ordinary for subject material as she explained in a journal entry, "The more I become aware of the active presence of God, the more beautiful and sacred everything becomes! Do we need miracles, or do we need only to perceive that every ordinary thing around us is already miraculous?' A line from one of her poems states what had become for her a reality: "Life is All Miracle".