Loading
Benedictine nuns release second album, honoring saints
By Carl Bunderson
Nuns from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles create their new album, 'Angels and Saints at Ephesus.' Credit: De Montfort Music.
Nuns from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles create their new album, 'Angels and Saints at Ephesus.' Credit: De Montfort Music.

.- A group of contemplative Benedictine nuns have recorded an album in honor of the angels and saints, all of the songs of which were selected out of their daily liturgical life.

“We learned a heavenly piece entitled Duo Seraphim by Tomas Luis de Victoria in the fall for the investiture of three novices,” Mother Cecilia, prioress of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, told CNA April 12.

“Since we knew and loved many other songs written in honor of the angels and saints, or written by the saints themselves, we realized we could make another album based on this theme without too much extra practicing,” she laughed.

The album, Angels and Saints at Ephesus, will be released May 7 but can be pre-ordered at benedictinesofmary.org or at www.demontfortmusic.com.

Angels and Saints at Ephesus features 17 songs, and “every selection comes out of the liturgical life here at the Priory.” The Gregorian chants on the album are sung by the sisters during the Divine Office, and the pieces containing harmony are sung during Mass at the offertory or as a recessional.

The album is being released on the De Montfort Music label, which was founded last year by Kevin and Monica Fitzgibbons. Monica told CNA that the album includes songs composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Francis Xavier. “A Rose Unpetalled” is a text by St. Therese of Lisieux for which the nuns wrote accompanying music.

Music is an integral part of the nuns' lives, being “entirely bound up with our Benedictine vocation…most especially in the chanting of the Divine Office,” said Mother Cecilia.

The community is in the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, and their life is marked by obedience, stability, and “continually turning” towards God. They have Mass daily according to the extraordinary form and chant the psalms eight times a day from the 1962 Monastic Office. They also support themselves by producing made-to-order vestments.

Singing the Office “takes pride of place” in their spirituality, and they take pains “to make the liturgy as beautiful as possible for God.”

Last year the community recorded “Advent at Ephesus,” a collection of music for the liturgical season which spent six weeks at #1 Billboard's Classical Music Chart.

“This music really uplifted a lot of hearts,” Fitzgibbons said. “It brought a lot of families together, and it got people talking about Advent...I think it really elevated a lot of souls toward heaven.”

De Montfort Music was “pummeled” with requests for an album from the nuns which could be played appropriately throughout the year, and the community came up with the concept of the present album.

Christopher Alder, former executive producer of Deutsche Grammophon and a nine time Grammy-award winning producer heard the Benedictines' Advent album and expressed interest in helping them with a second album.

Alder ended up traveling from Germany to Missouri to produce “Angels and Saints at Ephesus.” He was “really moved, blown away, by their level of expertise” and their quality of singing, Fitzgibbons said.

“Through their beauty, they have turned hearts toward heaven, because when one hears it ... they do have to contemplate something much larger than this world.”

Mother Cecilia continued discussing the place of music in life of her community, explaining that the singing of the Divine Office “truly forms the life-blood of our devotion. St. Benedict calls it 'the Work of God' and says that nothing is to take precedence over it, no matter how important it may seem.”

“The loveliness of the chants are set off by the silence that we keep during the day, but the Office also feeds that silence of prayer. It is a joyful burden the Church asks of us, and we take it up with tremendous love, knowing we are the beneficiaries, along with the entire Church.”

Mother Cecilia mentioned two musical saints important to the Benedictines. One is St. Hildegard, herself a Benedictine abbess and composer of the 12th century.

The prioress called St. Hildegard “a shining example of the liturgical spirituality of Benedictines.”

Yet more important to the community at the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus is St. Cecilia, the patroness of musicians.

“We continue to invoke her whenever we have a music practice, knowing that she can help us to sing to God from our hearts with great purity and love, so that we may deserve to sing to Him for all eternity in heaven with the great multitude of angels and saints.”

Tags: Religious Sisters, Benedictines, Chant


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
17

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Gospel
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Homily
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: