Thursday 26th May 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Benedictines Of Mary, Queen Of Apostles . . . Mother Cecilia Describes What Is Deeper In Their Music

March 1, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By PEGGY MOEN

(Editor’s Note: In the third week of February, Lent at Ephesus from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles debuted at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Classical Overall Music Chart and Classical Traditional Music Chart. The album also earned the No. 49 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart, the No. 2 spot on the Contemporary Christian Chart, and the No. 3 spot on the Christian Gospel and Internet charts.
(“We are amazed and humbled by the undeniable role of divine Providence in the success story behind the ethereal music from the monastic Benedictines of Mary,” said Monica Fitzgibbons, co-founder of De Montfort Music [www.demontfortmusic.com], which produces the albums.
(The Benedictines of Mary have two earlier albums: Advent at Ephesus and Angels and Saints at Ephesus, which were also chart toppers.
(The Wanderer interviewed Mother Cecilia of the Benedictines of Mary about their music, their vocations to the religious life, and their daily routines. The interview was conducted via e-mail. Following is the text of the interview.)

+    +    +

Q. Tell us how your recording for De Montfort music first came about.
A. We began a novena to St. Therese after two Sisters read (unbeknownst to each other) that she came to the aid of other communities who were in need of financial help. It was during that time that we heard from Monica and Kevin Fitzgibbons from De Montfort Music. They had been given one of our self-produced CDs that we made for our donors, which sat in a pile for quite a long time. Their five-year-old pulled it out one day and asked to listen to it.
They liked what they heard so much, that they decided to approach us to ask if we would like to collaborate with them in order to bring this music to a wider audience. They had a great desire to bring the beauty of sacred music to our secular culture, and we were delighted to assist in making that happen, on the condition that our life of prayer and sacrifice would not be disturbed.
They have done an excellent job in carrying this stipulation out. It has been a collaboration that could only have been designed in Heaven!
Q. Did you have any doubts about making your music more widely available?
A. The only hesitation I had is precisely what I mentioned above, that is, if the music became a success, it might adversely affect our monastic life. But the guards were in place right from the start to keep that tightly in check, and life flows on here at the Priory just as it did before, with the happy addition that we are able to pay down our debt more quickly!
Q. What has been the most rewarding reaction you have received to your recordings?
A. We give the greatest thanks to God when we hear that a Catholic is inspired to return to the sacraments upon hearing our music. There is nothing greater that could come from this endeavor, except perhaps a non-Catholic being drawn into the Church!
In addition, many people have shared with us how much peace the music brings to them. It has often been a means of great comfort when a loved one is dying, or else a general sense of tranquility and aid to lifting ones thoughts and spirits to God.
Q. You have a following among classical music devotees as well as among people who love religious music. When you get reactions to your recording from the classical music fans, what do they typically say?
A. Honestly, I’m not sure that I could discriminate between comments from those who are drawn because of the religious aspect and those who are taken by the simple element of the classical genre. I think there is perhaps a sense of wonder that a recording done by amateurs could attract such a wide variety of music lovers. It seems that even the classical music aficionados can hear that there is something deeper in the music that makes it different. And that is our conviction, our unity, and the love for God that is foundational in all that we are singing.
Q. Have any vocations to your order been inspired in part by your music?
A. There have been additional inquiries since the release of our recordings, but we do have to filter out those who simply like to sing, and those who have a genuine vocation to seek a life of union with God, which entails a great deal more than making a recording!
Q. Your monastery is young — an average age of 29 among the 22 nuns, according to a recent report on Yahoo. What has drawn these young women to your monastery, and when was it founded?
A. Our monastery was founded in 1995 in the Diocese of Scranton, Pa. I think I speak for most of the Sisters here by relating my own desires when searching for a community about 11 years ago. As I will mention later, I had at that time discovered the ancient form of the Roman Rite, the Tridentine Mass, and knew that this liturgy must be an integral part of my religious life.
That, coupled with the chanting of the Divine Office in Latin, the faithful adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict, the wearing of the traditional habit, a strict horarium and the charity and the joy manifested by the Sisters were all primary factors in drawing me to this particular community, as I know they have been for the others in the community.
We had over 50 young ladies visit us last year to discern! There is such a hunger out there for authentic religious life, and God has not stopped calling souls.
Q. What inspired the monastery’s move to northwest Missouri?
A. There were various factors that brought us to this little plot of ground a few years ago, beginning with [Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo.] Bishop [Robert] Finn’s invitation in 2006 to come to this diocese. We lived in a convent that had not been used for several years next door to a high school, and it was not long before a couple from the city of St. Joseph offered to donate to us a large parcel of farmland, an offer we couldn’t refuse! We borrowed money to build on the property in order to live the more agricultural monastic life that we desired.
Q. What is a typical day like for your Benedictine nuns?
A. We rise every morning at 4:30 to begin chanting the first of our eight designated periods for the Divine Office, which serve as stepping stones throughout the day, and taking up between three to four hours. The rest of the time is filled in with Mass, mental prayer, rosary, meals, recreation, and manual labor, which includes such work as sewing vestments, farming, gardening, cooking, and office work.
We keep silence throughout the day, except for recreation of course, and only necessary questions or instructions during work time. This pattern varies little from day to day, with slight adjustments for Sundays and feasts.
Q. Do all the nuns participate in the singing and the recording of the music?
A. Our dear Sr. Wilhelmina does not participate in the recordings, but after over 70 years of fidelity to the religious life, she has earned a seat on the side to cheer the rest of us on! There is also a Sister delegated to take care of her during the time of the recordings — we term her Sr. Wilhelmina’s “angel.”
Q. Mother Cecilia, can you tell our readers something about how you realized your own vocation to religious life?
A. I understood at a very young age that God was asking something very special of me, something that would involve the complete and unreserved gift of my entire being. I cannot explain exactly how I knew, though it originated from nothing external, only a deep awareness within my own heart. It was always there with me throughout my teenage years, though in a dormant state.
I can directly point to two things that served to awaken this latent call in my soul, though there were many other lesser factors as well. The first was my introduction to early sacred music (at a secular university)! The music of Palestrina, Allegri, Victoria, and other Renaissance composers had a profound and captivating effect on me. The transcendental beauty of the harmonies reaffirmed in my soul that there was more to this life than can be seen with the eyes.
I began to search for a church that made use of this kind of music within the context of the sacred liturgy. That was not to happen until I attended my first Tridentine Mass in 2000. Without hesitation, I can say it was precisely on that day in December that my life changed entirely. I wept for nearly an hour as I witnessed for the first time the beauty of this Mass. I was swept away by the angelic sounds of chant and polyphony, the incense, bells, and ultimately the overriding sense of mystery and sacredness wrought by a profound reverence.
Without knowing Latin, I understood better than I ever had in my previous 22 years, that the Mass was truly the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary. I left the church resolved to learn more not only about this ancient and perennial Mass, but to learn more about my Catholic faith as well.
The continuing and steady encounters with this new-found beauty fed my soul, and awakened the call that had been hidden in my heart for so long. While in the midst of my professional career in an orchestra, I finally and unreservedly followed after this most patient Lord.

Joyful Charity

Q. How do you relate the release of your recordings to Pope Francis’ call for a year devoted to consecrated life in 2015?
A. It seems that perhaps these recordings are most Providential for the upcoming year for consecrated life, as they are a means of showing to many people who may not otherwise have realized, that young and thriving religious communities do still indeed exist within the Church!
Q. Describe your most recent release, the collection of lenten hymns.
A. It is a compilation of the most beautiful chants the Church reserves for the Passion of the Lord, intricate yet simple harmonies and rousing hymns of glory and redemption such as those from Palm Sunday. O Sacred Head Surrounded, made famous by Bach’s oratorios, All Glory Laud and Honor, the well-known Adoramus Te Christe, and the entrancing Improperia from the liturgy of Good Friday, and three original pieces are also featured among the 23 tracks.
Q. As Lent is approaching and your latest release is about Lent, what do you think people need to focus on most for worthy lenten devotions?
A. Traditionally, we are exhorted not only to corporal penance, but to the “tripod” of prayer, penance, and good works. There must always intensified penance, but it is most important to keep a spirit of joyful charity, as joy is the mark of acceptance of God’s will in every circumstance in a soul that truly loves Him. It is what the Lord Himself tells us in the Gospel for Ash Wednesday, “not to fast as the hypocrites do,” but out of love.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

34% of “Pro-Choice” Women Who See This Viral Video Turn Against Abortion

A new four-minute viral video is causing over a third — 34 percent — of “pro-choice” women surveyed to view abortion “less favorably.” And 28 percent of pro-choice women who watched the video stated there should be more restrictions on…Continue Reading

‘Biblically wrong’: Oklahoma lawmakers urge Obama’s impeachment over transgender bathrooms

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced legislation calling for President Barack Obama to be impeached because of his administration’s support for transgender bathrooms. Another bill calls for a declaration of emergency in the state. In a measure called Senate Concurrent Resolution…Continue Reading

Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions

Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. This sweeping measure, which opponents described as unconstitutional and unprecedented, now heads to…Continue Reading

Unanimous Win for Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet…Continue Reading

Conservatives outraged over Obama transgender directive to public schools

The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds — drew swift and strong condemnation from conservatives, with one public official blasting it as presidential “blackmail.” The administration’s directive…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 31 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm…Continue Reading

ACLU launches campaign to strip Catholic hospitals of federal funds

NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic hospitals across the U.S. are “withholding emergency care” and denying “essential health services,” the ACLU is alleging in a new campaign. They also inflict harm on “transgender and gender-non-conforming patients” “when seeking…Continue Reading

Harvard Law Professor Says Pro-Life Christians Should be Treated Like Nazis

Every day, it seems, the United States is becoming a more hostile environment for people with pro-life and conservative positions. Abortion activists constantly challenge pro-life laws, stall abortion industry investigations, force religious objectors to pay for abortions and attack life-affirming…Continue Reading

Obama plans new push for transgender rights in schools

The divisive and politically combustible issue of bathroom access for transgender individuals is about to become further inflamed, as the Obama administration is expected in coming weeks to aggressively reinforce its position that transgender student rights are fully protected under…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian,…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .      

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Perseverance in prayer needed, but not “magic wand”

pope908

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said “prayer is not a magic wand.” He was speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope was discussing the Parable of the Unjust Judge – also known as the Parable of the Persistent Widow – from the Gospel of Luke. In the parable, the persistence of a widow forces the unjust judge to grant her request for justice, “so that she will not eventually…Continue Reading

Catholic College Presidents Hopeful for Resolution in HHS Mandate Challenge

The presidents of two Catholic colleges involved in the U.S.Supreme Court challenges to the HHS mandate applauded the Court’s recent decision to vacate all lower court rulings and expressed their hope that a positive resolution for religious freedom would soon be reached. “I am pleased that Supreme Court has offered us a way forward which doesn’t require us to participate in the provision of the services which – See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4914/Catholic-College-Presidents-Hopeful-for-Resolution-in-HHS-Mandate-Challenge.aspx#sthash.MOQCZdCV.dpuf

Pope Francis: Christians live God’s love with joy, astonishment

(Vatican Radio) No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse. The Pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope. The Pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness. Christians live in joy and amazement because…Continue Reading

Pope Angelus: The Holy Trinity, where there is love there is God

(Vatican Radio) “The feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to engage in the daily events to be the leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy.” Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on a sunny Trinity Sunday from his studio above St Peter’s Square. Drawing inspiration from the Gospel of St. John, the Pope said that Jesus knew how to be close to the realization of the Father’s plan, which will…Continue Reading

Pope emeritus: Third Secret of Fatima was released in full

popeben

(Vatican Radio) Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he never told anyone the publication of the “Third Secret of Fatima” in the year 2000 was incomplete, and confirmed the document was published in its totality. A Communiqué was published Saturday by the Holy See Press Office on various articles regarding the “Third Secret of Fatima.” “ Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the…Continue Reading

Is Scarborough Shoal Worth A War?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight. Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.” And what is Scarborough Shoal? A cluster of rocks…Continue Reading

Cicero In An Election Year

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY In the midst of the turmoil that characterized the mid-decades of the last century, the English jurist Sir Patrick Devlin wrote, “If a society’s laws are based on a particular worldview and that worldview collapses, the laws themselves will crumble.” His 1965 book, The Enforcement of Morals, is still worth reading…Continue Reading

Eastern Orthodoxy And The Particular Judgment

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In previous articles (The Wanderer, July 3, 2014; June 25, 2015), it was observed that: “Perhaps to the surprise of some Catholic ecumenists, Catholic doctrine regarding the Particular Judgment remains obscure, confused, or even denied among the Eastern Orthodox. They have no clear official teaching that the just go to Heaven immediately…Continue Reading

Obama To Visit The Land Of State-Owned Enterprises

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama will visit Vietnam, which his own State Department last month certified is still controlled — four decades after the fall of Saigon — by the Communist Party.…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Why Should Pro-Lifers Be Concerned About Dissent?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

God’s Prophet

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Tenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 1 Kings 17:17-24 Gal. 1:11-14a, 15a, c, 16a, 17, 19 Luke 7:11-17 In the first reading today we hear about the death of the son of a widow with whom the Prophet Elijah stayed when he was passing through that region. The woman had been very good to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Mueller Reminds The Church Of Her Marriage Doctrine

By MAIKE HICKSON Part 2 (Editor’s Note: We are publishing this commentary from Gerhard Cardinal Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as reported by Maike Hickson, in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue. (OnePeterFive graciously gave The Wanderer reprint permission for this article. All rights reserved. See: www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-muller-reminds-church-marriage-doctrine/. (Dr. Hickson, born…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Exercises

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The way the human body physically works can teach us something about virtue and the way God’s grace works spiritually for each of us: We must use it to grow it. As I reminded our Life Teens and their families at Mass recently, if they slack off on physical exercise during the summer, come fall…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 1 After investigating the Inquisition, now we take a good look at the greatest marvel on this side of eternity: the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. To rule a country is not an easy job. That is why no head of state these days can…Continue Reading

The Seven Sacraments — Categories And Effects

By DON FIER Each of the seven sacraments, according to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, was personally instituted by Christ during His visible stay on Earth. As we saw last week, the details of institution for some — even the precise words for administration — are taken directly from Scripture. However, as Christoph Cardinal Schönborn states in Living…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Crispin Of Viterbo

By CAROLE BRESLIN In March 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of the Vine (Oak) located in Tuscany, Italy, to proclaim our Lady patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo. The tradition of visiting the image of Our Lady of the Oak began 600 years ago in 1417 when Mastro Baptist Magnano Iuzzante commissioned an image…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading