All Angels

By Sr. Fidelis
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. In both the Divine Office and the Mass, scriptural references to angels and their unique call appear in the day’s chants, reminding us of their importance in our lives! One of the most beautiful chants concerning angels is a Mode VII antiphon, taken from the Office of the Dead, In Paradisum.

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming, and may they lead you into Jerusalem”.

Mode VII recites on RE, with a Home Tone of SOL.  A “clue” that the chant is in Mode VII, is that the DO clef always appears on the 2nd line down from the top, so the RE, and any pitches above that, fit on the staff. Mode VII pieces often have a bright, expansive sense to them because the modal range encompasses pitches that sound like a portion of a  modern major scale. (SOL, LA, TI, DO, RE ).  In paradisum begins with this gentle upward movement from SOL to RE. This movement up to RE appears again on et perducant te (and may they lead you).

Listen to this uplifting chant, followed by recitation of Psalm 114 in Mode VII.  You’ll notice how the Psalm Tone goes above and below the Reciting Tone at the mediant cadence, and then returns to the RE at the ending –  a wonderful example of the sense of “ascending” that can come with Mode VII!

In Paradisum

Antiophon and Psalm 114: In paradisum

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I think it Begins with “R”

By Sr. Nun Other

This week a word came to mind, a word I’d never spoken. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting what it was. Hours passed, then it would reappear, only to disappear before I could write it down. I did, however, know it was similar to “restoration”. So hoping to spark the proper synapse, I tossed that word around for awhile. In the end, I consulted a list of synonyms and there it was: reclamation. Because of its unfamiliarity (and persistence), I carefully considered its significance. Reclamation is the conversion of wasteland into ground suitable for cultivationGenerally, the return to a former, better state, where more is received than has been lost, and the final product greater than the original.

This is much the same as God works with us. In several Psalms of deliverance, the writer unabashedly admits his own shortcomings and ensuing results. He calls on God, who sorts through the debris with great precision to build and restore, not just equal to, but better than. One such Psalm affirms: I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.  Psalm 40:1-3

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IN MEMORIAM – Sister Christina Humphrey

On Monday we celebrated the life of one of our earliest Sisters. Sister Christina became a sister in 1971 and had a lifelong love of beauty, poetry and art. Here is one of her poems, inspired by the Pascal (Easter) candle.

Paschal fire

O Christ
the springtime
of my heart,
You did not wait
my turn to light,
You overruled
My wintered days
that they might
receive your
untimed spring.
The early Paschal fire
Has burned
My way to joy.

Sr. Christina

Her full obituary is online at the Cape Cod Times.


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Rest in Peace

By Sr. Fidelis

Today is the Funeral for one of our older sisters, Sister Christina. She requested that the simple Requiem Mass be chanted.  The Kyrie is a perfect example of Mode 6—the next in our brief “tour” of the Modes and their characteristics. Mode 6 has a narrow range, reciting on LA with a home tone of FA.  As we can see (and hear) in the opening Kyrie, the melody passes seamlessly between these structure pitches.  We often see the flattened TI, or TAU, in Mode 6 pieces as well. The opening motive is often described as a sigh or lament.

Requiem Mass - Kyrie

Mass I – Kyrie XVIiib

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Little Friend – a poem for today

little friend if you truly knew me
would you look up so expectantly
so hopefully, if you knew
my limited strength, my weaknesses
my need, would you sleep so calmly
in my lap, conformed to the circle of my arms

you run ahead of me
in so many ways, you want to
let me know what is fun
you want me to let go of the day
and join you in this moment

and when you stray off in silly passions
you bear my imperfect correction
with avid repentance

my little friend you teach me all
of what you know, free of learning
free of arduous study and heavy doctrine
with your eyes and your wagging tail
your tongue-licks of minute assurances
you speak the truth knit in your bones
and so we go together, my friend,
into this good day.

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