The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles are about to release their second album entitled Angels and Saints at Ephesus. The sisters have put their beautiful harmonies to record songs inspired by their favorite saints and angels. Their first album, Advent at Ephesus, was a great success topping the classical charts. The sisters use their talents in music and making vestments and altar linens to support their ministry. I encourage you to watch the great promo video about the sisters and their work on this project and the work and prayers of their priory.
I had the pleasure to interview Monica Fitzgibbons of De Montfort Music who worked in production with the sisters on their musical projects:
1) Have the sisters seen an increase in numbers joining their order since the release of Advent at Ephesus?
Good question! I have never asked them this question. But I would imagine in God’s time it may be too soon to tell. I do know that their community has steadily been growing in the past year (they just had 2 novices make their First Profession!!) So there is this sense of steady growth.
2) Have they raised the money needed for priory? Is there a fundraising goal? Other needs of the sisters?
Through their music, they have been able to begin to raise the money for their debt. Because they have the wonderful problem of being a growing community there is still debt, plus there is then the need to complete their monastery building project, which has been the long range goal for this music- on the practical order, in addition of course to uplifting souls with their music! In short, progress has been made and always the Sisters are so grateful for the generosity of people who have supported them through purchasing the music.
3) Do the sisters plan to make more music? Plans going forward for sisters–are they planning more business for vestment production, or for music production or both?
The Sisters are always singing! So when we go in to record them it is not like a typical classical choral recording. With the Sisters, we can describe the releasing of their music as a documenting of what is already transpiring. For example, with this new CD Angels and Saints at Ephesus, these are more or less Hymns, Chants, Polyphony etc. that the Sisters themselves will sing to during Vespers or at some point during the day to honor the feast day of that saint, or to honor the angels. So when the time seems right and the Sisters have the inclination towards a certain theme, then Mother Cecilia will let us know and our job is to handle all of the logistics to enlist the highest level of recording technology and producers in order to match the quality of their singing. In short: I would not be surprised if the Sisters are already thinking of their next at Ephesus release!
4) What were the reasons for saints chosen for this CD?
In sort of continuing on with the answer to #3, these were some of their favorite hymns that they were singing. Te Joseph Celebrant is a brilliant song and they will sing that at Vespers on the feast of St. Joseph or of St. Joseph the Worker. With regards to “A Rose Unpetalled” which is in honor of St. Therese. For this track, the Sisters took the lyrics from prose written by St. Therese herself, and then the Sisters set it to music that they composed. This track has been a long-time favorite of their community, and St. Therese has been the one whom they petitioned to help them alleviate their debt. She has been a wonderful intercessor as have all of the saints. I am certain we could do and “Angels and Saints at Ephesus 2” with all of the love and honor flowing from The Benedictines of Mary for the Saints!
5) Are the Benedictine Sisters under a bishop in America, or do they follow Benedictine order from leadership in Rome?
They are a diocesan community under Bishop Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Thanks to Monica for answering my questions, and I encourage you to purchase this great music and support the sisters in helping to build their beautiful community. Check link below for Amazon for purchase–available May 7th.
The full track list for the album:
1. Dear Angel Ever At My Side
2. Ave Regina Cælorum
3. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
4. Christe Sanctorum
5. Duo Seraphim
6. Virgin Wholly Marvellous
7. Est Secretum
8. Lorica of St. Patrick
9. O Deus Ego Amo Te
10. Emicat Meridies
11. O God of Loveliness
12. Læta Quies
13. A Rose Unpetalled
14. Jesu Dulcis Memoria
15.Te Joseph Celebrent
16. Jesu Corona Virginum
17. Veritas Mea