A Voice in Ramah

This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.”

Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18

Somewhere in the US, a police officer is breaking the news to a mother that her child is dead. Opening ourselves to the glory and joys of motherhood also exposes our hearts to the unimaginable possibility of loss; and in that possibility of loss is an endless grief. Praying for all the mothers that are grieving today and praying for an end to gun violence. 


Photograph: Barry Oxendine

I made this particular sculpture after the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. And yet the image is relevant over and over and over and over again. How many mass shootings have we had in the US since 2007? Thousands.

The title text comes from Jeremiah 31. It says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” It is written in response to the massacre of the innocents in Egypt, and again in the book of Matthew when all the baby boys are ordered to be slaughtered by King Herod.

It makes me weep every time I read it. It’s not just Rachel who weeps. She’s the archetype for the great voice of grieving women that rise up from the earth in light of all this violence. Why do you inflict violence upon our children? After the Virginia Tech shooting, I knew that there would be police officers who had to tell the victims’ families, “Your child is dead.” 

No matter how much time passes, they will never stop grieving. And it just keeps happening.

Sarah Hempel Irani
Half-life size  bronze (26” x 28” x 27”)
Bronze edition of 6
Price on Request

Awarded third prize by Sister Wendy Beckett at the Third Annual Catholic Arts Exhibition at St. Vincent’s College, Latrobe, PA. November, 2010.

Photography by: Barry Oxedine


A figurative sculptor for over 20 years, Sarah tells monumental stories in clay, bronze, and stone.

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