December 21, 2007

Christmas Supplement

Novices surprise sisters by singing beautiful carol

By Mary Jean Wethington (Special to The Criterion)

A beautiful Christmas memory that I will always cherish was my first musical Christmas concert in the convent in 1965.

The cloistered Benedictine sisters in Clyde, Mo., had never heard the beautiful carol titled “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

There were 40 young novices at that time, and their pure and clear voices ­soaring in the descant and arrangement that I had written and directed was truly a gifting surprise for our first Christmas Chorale.

It was a real challenge back then to practice and practice this song without the professed sisters hearing it! This was a great part of what made the surprise so meaningful.

The Christ-centered holiness of that beautiful carol echoed the true meaning and message of Christmas for one cloistered community of contemplative nuns who lived very focused lives.

(Mary Jean Wethington is a member of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Parish in Bright.) †

Local site Links: