Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Happy Birthday, Sister Rebecca Mary!
I promised a host of Libra birthdays being celebrated on Robert Frost’s Banjo, & here’s yet another (& as an aside—we’re not quite done yet!). Today is the birthday of our dear friend Sister Rebecca Mary of Marymount Hermitage. Long-time readers will remember Sister Rebecca Mary from her turn in the Musical Questions series.
Life takes us to unexpected places, doesn’t it? I’d never have imagined myself being friends to two devout Catholic hermit sisters; but this friendship developed & has continued despite the fact that my view of the universe & its workings differs fundamentally from the view held by Sister Rebecca Mary & her fellow hermit sister (& fellow good friend) Sister Mary Beverly.
Sister Rebecca Mary is without question one of the most deeply spiritual people it’s been my privilege to know. A big part of that spirituality is her ability to listen compassionately & to help others within their own frame of reference. She has helped me on any number of occasions—including some times of actual crisis. In addition, both Eberle & I have thoroughly enjoyed our many “jam sessions” with Sister Rebecca Mary—often we simply pick a musical "mode" & have at it in free improvisation (& with instrument switching!); it’s a very freeing musical experience.
Our musical association with both sisters goes back to when we first met them, playing music with them for their Christmas Eve mass in 2003. Shortly after that, Eberle & I assisted them in a recording project: we helped Sister Rebecca Mary record her songs—with lyrics in Hebrew & Aramaic—as she accompanied herself on guitar & dulcimer. The recordings were professionally mastered & issued on a CD that the Sisters have sold for the past five years; & the sales have been very impressive for a rather humbly produced CD. If you're interested, you can find the CD for sale here, at the Marymount website.
Sister Rebecca Mary’s creative talents go beyond music, however—she’s also written a trilogy of children’s books—the first installment, The Midnight Rose, has already been published, & is also available from the sisters’ website. In addition, Sister Rebecca Mary is a skilled illustrator, painter & jewelry worker—she fashions gemstone rosaries that the sisters also sell to support themselves.
The vidclip below is Sister Rebecca Mary performing her setting of Isaiah 49, accompanying herself on guitar (one of the cuts from the CD). Most of the words are Hebrew, but this is one of the few songs in which she also sings the lyrics in English.
I think you’ll find this song moving—I certainly do. & happy birthday, Sister, & thanks for bringing so much light to those around you!