Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mother Mary Alexis Donnelly

I don't often "share a memory" that Facebook encourages me to share, but I posted a link to this article on Facebook about four years ago.  This article has me connected in two parishes, believe it or not!

One of the many good pieces I inherited at Sacred Heart from my predecessor (Dave Sylvester) is a setting of the hymn Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All, written by Mother Mary Alexis Donnelly, RSM.  Her name did not appear on the music.  The music was ascribed simply to "Sister of Mercy".  It has a nice little melody, easy enough harmony.  It was noble simplicity at its best.  I thought nothing of the connection I'm about to describe until I found the aforementioned article.

It turns out that Mother Alexis was born in Ireland, and later came to Providence, RI.  She entered the convent there, became Sister Mary Alexis, then Mother Mary Alexis.  While in Providence, she wrote some hymns and even compiled a couple of hymnals, including the Holy Face Hymnal (link is to a list of midi files; a full pdf of the hymnal here).

One of my former parishes as organist/music director was Holy Name of Jesus in Providence.  One of my predecessors there, the late great Jon Carew (the first organist I ever met at that church) recorded 18 of Mother Alexis' hymns with the Dorian Concert Choir while at Holy Name.

At the time I originally posted the article on Facebook, I had neglected this blog for a good couple of years, posting here only minimally (mea culpa).  After all, Facebook was the "big thing" now.  But posting here, I realized, 1) gives me the freedom to write posts in longer lengths than one would normally write on Facebook, 2) not all of my readers that I can probably count on one hand use Facebook, and 3) I can still post the link to my posts here on my Facebook page.

Here's the link again.  On the left column, Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All is the sixth title down.  Bon appetit!

Quod scripsi, scripsi!

No comments: