Wife, mother and now a poet: 81-year-old shares lifetime of faith in new poetry book

Mary Lou Snyder, 81, a parishioner of Christ the Redeemer Parish in Lake Orion, was inspired to write a book of poetry based on a lifetime of conversations with God, she said. Although she has written poetry for many years, it wasn't until her daughter, Carol Snyder, encouraged her to compile them that “Touched by God: Original Poems by Mary Lou Greenwood Snyder” was born. (Photos courtesy of Carol Snyder)

Christ the Redeemer parishioner shares how she’s been ‘touched by God,’ with decades of compositions on prayer, family and faith

During September and October, Detroit Catholic is asking readers to prayerfully consider a gift to the Catholic Services Appeal, which funds more than 170 ministries vital to the Church in southeast Michigan, including this publication. Visit www.givecsa.org to support the mission by making a gift today. We are grateful for your generosity and prayers.

ROCHESTER — Mary Lou Snyder has always felt a connection to God, and since she can remember, she has expressed that connection through poetry.

The self-described housewife from Rochester remembers jotting down poems on reflections of Scripture, a homily or day-to-day living, never imagining anyone else outside her family would read it.

But graced with an abundance of time because of the COVID-19 lockdowns and with insistence from her daughter, Snyder, 81, has published “Touched by God: Original Poems by Mary Lou Greenwood Snyder.”

“Whenever something came to me, I would sit and write a poem, and the words seemed to fall right out,” Snyder told Detroit Catholic. “In one of my latest poems, I was in church in Rochester, and the priest started his homily with ‘Why are you here? I’m a mess. You’re a mess. We’re all a mess.’ I thought, ‘Wow, I’m know I’m here because God put me here. I don’t feel I’m a mess. And the poem just came out.’”

Snyder shared her poems with her husband, five children, family and friends, but it wasn’t until her daughter, Carol Snyder, urged her to compile the works into a book that the idea of publishing them crossed her mind.

“During COVID, my daughter and her husband had their own business, and things were a little slow,” Snyder explained. “I actually gave my poems to my daughter, wanting her to type them up and give to all our kids. Then my daughter suggested making them into a little book, and it took off from there.

“She put all of the time and effort into it, and I love her for it,” Snyder added. “I appreciated all of her time and work, and I’m glad she had the time. Something good came out of COVID, if that’s possible.”

The cover of “Touched by God: Original Poems by Mary Lou Greenwood Snyder” features a crucifix in Snyder’s home. 

The book contains 15 poems composed over the span of five decades, including her first that was penned in the 1970s: Peace in the moment in stillness, peace in the moment of watching soft, tidily clouds moving across the blue sky and water glistening in the golden sunlight.

Some of Snyder’s more recent work includes this poem: In the silence of the night, I’m ascending toward God’s holy light; Now my life on Earth is done, I will meet God’s only son; where I will dwell in eternity, with the Holy Trinity; Father, Son, Holy Ghost, it is to you we lift this Host; Thank you Lord for all You do, and thank You Lord for seeing me through; May God Bless and watch of you until he brings you home.

Snyder hopes her poetry will bring as much grace and peace to others as it has brought her and her family over the years.

“It’s just from my heart to God, and God to my heart,” Snyder said. “I hope other people can be touched by God through it.”

Snyder, now a Clarkston resident and member of Christ the Redeemer Parish in Lake Orion, was born in Brighton Township, now called Iron Mountain, in the Upper Peninsula. Moving to East Detroit, now Eastpointe, after her father got a job with the Packard Motor Company, Snyder married her high school sweetheart in 1961.

She describes her life as “extremely blessed,” graced with opportunities to travel the world with her husband, visiting places like Fatima and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Her memories, faith and conversations with God are reflected in her poetry.

“I’m hoping other people will be touched by these poems, get a connection with God for themselves, just as I got a connection with God from writing these poems,” Snyder said. “I remember one poem, ‘From you Father, when I’m down and out with my kids; Father, from you I cannot hide the pain I feel inside. Those words came out when I knelt to pray, and You blessed me in a special way.’ And He sure has. I have a good husband, a nice home to live in, traveled all over the world. So I feel God has blessed me in a special way.”

“Touched by God: Original Poems by Mary Lou Greenwood Snyder” can be purchased on Amazon for $6.99.