Another aspect of the “Marians” and Black Madonnas, is the legend of Black Sarah.

Black Sarah is the patron saint of the European gypsies. In gypsy legend she was an Egyptian serving girl who drifted in a small boat from the Holy Land with Saint Mary Jacobe and Saint Mary Salome, the biblical sisters of the Virgin Mary. Her feast day is celebrated each May 24TH at Saintes Maries de la Mer in the south of France, where the three are said to have landed in A.D. 42. Her statue is carried down to the sea on this day to re-enact her arrival in France.

This ‘Gypsy Hornpipe’ is a traditional English tune written and sung in Black Sarah’s honor.

“You wore lead and shoes to raise fences;

“I speak from my heart, my words may displease you.


“The good God in heaven he meant all his people,

“To live as they choose, without harming each other.

“You are no longer my brother;

“You have stopped me and my family from drinking of God’s own clear streams,

“And grazing our horses.

“I was born on a grove, raised in field and in forest;

“Now I live in a broken-down caravan cart.


“We dream of the past with the seasons we circle.

“How can we call only one place our home?

“You would have our lives as bleak as your own;

“You surround us with laws and government forms,

“Try to teach our children your ways,

“But, their hearts will choose freedom.

“I try to forget the nightmare I read in your palms,

“I take only your money.


“Lead me I pray, as you led the two Marys.

“With love and strength led them safe to the land.

“Help me understand,

“That although I am a poor woman,

“The eyes of my children dance with my love……………

……………..their laughter delights me.”

POST UPDATED 2-11-2016


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2 responses to “BLACK SARAH

  1. stephaniegirl

    Very interesting story on Black Sarah. I read about her a long time ago. Yet, the official religion barely acknowledged her and her followers. It goes to show how little appreciation for Black women saints of the Church and how they influenced and shaped the Christian religion through the centuries.

    Stephanie B.

  2. jon

    Great piece…especially the song. Where did you get that from? Heard anyone sing it? I would really like to know as I’m doing a lot of research on her. Thanks again.

    MODERATOR: In 1980 I originally heard this beautiful tune on the LP album “An Exultation of Dulcimers”, ( which I still own) with Roger Nicholson and Lorraine Lee on dulcimers, and Gary Reiger on percussion.

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