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Ovation: Singing Nuns.

08/21/2013

MaterEucharistiaeJeanine Deckers was a Dominican nun from Belgian who became internationally famous when, Fifty years ago this fall, Dominique reached number one on the U.S. Pop Charts and The Singing Nun became internationally famous.  While in the convent, Deckers had written, sang and performed her own songs, which were so well received by her fellow Sisters and by visitors, that her superiors encouraged her to record an album.

In 1962 that album sold nearly two million copies as many radio stations in the U.S. played it and other softer hits more frequently in the wake of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  In 1966, a semi-autobiographical film about Deckers’ life, The Singing Nun, was released starring Debbie Reynolds in the title role.  The film also starred Ricardo Montalban, Katherine Ross, Chad Everett and Ed Sullivan as himself.

Nuns are topping the charts again!

Last week, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, known for travelling the country teaching school children, released their first studio album of sacred music, Mater Eucharistiae.  The album is a compilation of traditional music that they sing or chant every day when they celebrate the Divine Office and their own original work performed in their home chapel.

“This music is just a little way for us to get into people’s’ homes; no matter how much we wish we could go everywhere, obviously you can’t, so this is a another outreach to bring God to those who just want him.  When this was first proposed to us…we took it to prayer to consider whether or not we’d be able to do this. We decided that this would be like us going into so many speakers in homes and cars, wherever people will play this, bringing this beautiful, uplifting music which really is a part of our community.  It’s a snapshot of perhaps coming into Mass in the morning, or to Divine Office, praying with the Sisters; these are some of the things that would be heard … all these are things that are a part of us.” –  Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, vicaress general of the Sisters.

Because the Sisters are familiar with the music, are well rehearsed and didn’t have to learn anything new, it only took three days to record the fifteen tracks for the entire CD.

  1. Holy Mary Mother of God
  2. Jesu Dulcis Memoria
  3. Te Deum
  4. O Gloriosa Virginum
  5. Ave Maria To Thee Holy Virgin
  6. Quid Retribuam
  7. I Am In Thy Hands O Mary
  8. Sicut Cervus
  9. Stella Splendens
  10. Pange Lingua
  11. The Annunciation
  12. Ave Maris Stella
  13. Angelus Ad Virginem
  14. Adoro Te
  15. Salve Regina

DominicanSistersOfMaryWith the help of Grammy-winning producer Blanton Alspaugh, the CD debuted at number two on the iTunes Classical chart and, within twenty-four hours, became the number three album overall on amazon.com.  Clearly there is an audience for the Sister’s special brand of music.  The money that they raise will further their mission to spread the witness of religious life in accord with The Vatican’s vision for a new evangelization and their primary goal of education and formation of young people.

Do you remember Dominique?  Will you buy  Mater Eucharistiae?

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7 Comments
  1. I so remember Dominique – it is such a catchy tune! Every time it came on the radio or TV, I would spend the rest of the day humming it.

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  2. I remember her as well. I saw this group on the news the other night. They are so cool. Their average age is 28 and they are all very vibrant, young women who play basketball and soccer in their habits. They are the best ambassadors for the Catholic Church, more so than the new Pope who is refreshing.

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  3. There are two Ed Sullivan guests I recall from the early to mid-sixties when I was but a wee lad. One is the Beatles, the other is Jeanine Deckers singing Dominique. The Singing Nun was a phenomenon indeed, especially when she went on to display her other talent as The Flying Nun … wait a minute, I may have that wrong!

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  4. Isabelle E. Hinton permalink

    I first heard “The Singing Nun” when I was fifteen years old and I heard her song, “Dominique” on the radio. Those were the days when radio played all kinds of music, not one genre only.I then watched her perform her music thanks to Ed Sullivan and “The Ed Sullivan Show”. He had his crew film her at her Dominican Convent in Belgium and aired it on his Sunday night show.I don’t speak much French . . . but I love to hear the language sung. . . and i truly enjoy hearing this voice singing it.I love “Fleur de Cactus”. But I treasure “Resurrestion”. And the album couldn’t have had a better choice for its final track than, “Among The Stars”.Sadly this nun, after leaving the convent and operating a nursery school, because of supposed tax/money problems committed suicide and left our world. But she hasn’t left our lives and she remains in these songs which are captured on disc now forever. “Soeur Sourire” now herself is “Among The Stars”.I’m grateful to her for her songwriting and for her singing. And I thank her for recording these tracks way back in 1964. Here we are in 2003 and still get to enjoy her voice and her talent and her songs.

    Like

  5. Karen Cochran permalink

    I first heard “The Singing Nun” when I was fifteen years old and I heard her song, “Dominique” on the radio. Those were the days when radio played all kinds of music, not one genre only.I then watched her perform her music thanks to Ed Sullivan and “The Ed Sullivan Show”. He had his crew film her at her Dominican Convent in Belgium and aired it on his Sunday night show.I don’t speak much French . . . but I love to hear the language sung. . . and i truly enjoy hearing this voice singing it.I love “Fleur de Cactus”. But I treasure “Resurrestion”. And the album couldn’t have had a better choice for its final track than, “Among The Stars”.Sadly this nun, after leaving the convent and operating a nursery school, because of supposed tax/money problems committed suicide and left our world. But she hasn’t left our lives and she remains in these songs which are captured on disc now forever. “Soeur Sourire” now herself is “Among The Stars”.I’m grateful to her for her songwriting and for her singing. And I thank her for recording these tracks way back in 1964. Here we are in 2003 and still get to enjoy her voice and her talent and her songs.

    Like

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