St Therese of the Child Jesus

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I have a little hymnbook called “Dwyer’s Catholic Hymn Book”. It is a little like a hermit crab as its cover proclaims it to be “The Australian Catholic Hymn Book by Louis Gille Ltd.” The Imprimatur is from 1940.

Looking for hymns for the Draft Traditional Hymnbook there was an idea to put in hymns to each of Australia’s Patron saints – Our Lady Help of Christians, St Therese of the Child Jesus and St Francis Xavier. St Therese is a fairly recent saint so hymns in her honour are a bit more tricky to find, but she is incredibly popular. The verses that follow are from a hymn credited to A Daily Hymn Book. I don’t have any more information as I don’t have a copy of the Daily Hymn Book and Dwyer’s gives no more info. Checking with a library, the only credit is to “a Carmelite nun”.

1 Lift up thine eyes unto the hills,
And see o’er Carmel’s distant height,
A new and brilliant star, which thrills
Our souls with its celestial light!

2 ‘Mid all the stars which crown our Queen,
Or lilies of her heav’nly bower,
No star, no bloom hath fairer been
Than Jesus’ humble “Little Flow’r,”

3 Hers was no life to gain renown,
Or move the world her praise to sing,
She won no martyr’s ruby crown,
No message bore to Pope or King.

4 Then, why the bright, unearthly glow
Which crowns that brow so sweet and mild?
It mirrors forth, for us below,
Christ’s words: “Be as a little child.”

5 Hidden by Carmel’s cloister-wall,
But e’en more “hid with Christ in God,”
Love’s victim, who, in giving all,
Her “Little Way” unswerving trod.

6 No earthly cloud e’er came between
Teresa and her Only Love,
While all unnotic’d and unseen,
She lived as angels live above.

7 And still her pray’rs make sick men whole,
To anguish’d minds bring peace and rest—
More wondrous still, those heal’d in soul
By thousands “rise, and call her blest.”

8 Teresa of the Child Divine!
Styl’d “Saint” by Holy Church’s pow’r,
The sacred aureole is thine—
But still thou’rt Jesus’ “Little Flower.”

Pick your favourite Long Meter tune for singing.

I’ve taken just the last 4 stanzas for my hymnbook.

Pick a tune, any tune

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Earlier this year I wrote a Hymn to St Mary of the Cross. I posted sheet music, setting it to the tune of Rockingham – a slowish tune in 3/4 time that was pretty and new to me.

I wrote the hymn in Long Meter to open up a wide range of tunes. By no means do I want to limit choirs to singing to one tune. But usually each hymn ends up getting stuck to a particular tune, which is handy when you go to sing something with a bunch of other people.

So I hand it over to you. I’ve picked a handful of tunes and recorded them – just me singing the melody.

Ave Vera Virginitas by Josquin de Pres.

Conditor Alme really old tune from the Divine Office for Advent – A treasury of Catholic Song (number 7) and Old Westminster Hymnal (number 2).

O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf German tune 17th century found in Around the Church’s Year by Maria Augusta Trapp.

Old Hundredth from the Presbyterian arrangements of the psalms into hymns.

Rockingham Melody adapted by Edward Miller (1731-1807) commonly sung to When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Isaac Watts.

a tune from Speier Gesangbuch found in the Old Westminster Hymnal (number 30).

Please pass this post on to anyone you can think of. And add comments if you have any other favourite tunes. There are so many Long Meter tunes out there! Even more if you add in Long Meter with Alleluias – like we sing for Bring, all ye dear bought nations, bring.

Then if we can settle on a tune I can do up some sheet music and try for a proper recording that might actually be pleasant to listen to.

Hymn to Saint Mary of the Cross

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A hymn to the first saint of Australia in a simple traditional metrical style. St Mary of the Cross is commonly known by her name before religion – Mary MacKillop. Start singing it now to prepare for her feast on the 8th August.

O Mother Mary of the Cross
The first Australian saint, we hail.
Thy work to lead the poor to truth
Awaking mercy in thy trail.

To Joseph’s aid thou ever turned,
Thou ever soughtest Joseph’s aid,
Strong in the faith that he would be
An advocate to that dear Heart
That bled and died upon the Tree.

The Tree of life, the Cross of death
To which thy name and life were bound,
The paradox that pain and strife
To everlasting joy redound.

O Mary! intercede for us
And form us to His holy Will
With Father and the Holy Ghost
And Heart of Jesus burning still.

Veronica Brandt (1979-)

Sheet music for a OMotherMarySimple (pdf)

Any Long Meter tune will do. I’ve picked Rockingham since it’s new-ish to me. When I was nutting out the words I had the tune for Creator Alme Siderum in my head. (2014-01-20: Wareham is another good suggestion)

Also brand new setting by Charles H Giffen.

Feedback on this is most welcome.

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Hymn to St Mary of the Cross by Veronica Brandt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Drafting a new hymnbook

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We are lucky here in the Blue Mountains to have a Latin Mass each Sunday at Lawson. Unfortunately we don’t have a choir, the organ is temperamental and the hymnbooks need editing.

The Woodford Hymnal is an attempt to make a new hymnbook for accompanying the Latin Mass. Unlike the New Book of Old Hymns, music is not included – just the words.

Recently I had the good fortune to attend the Latin Mass in Canberra. The choir finished with a rousing Holy God, we praise Thy Name. Unfortunately I did not pick up a hymn sheet on the way in and thought it wouldn’t matter as I had a hymnbook with me (the Marist Brothers’ Hymn Book). But not content with the standard 2-3 verse rendition, the choir went on for seven verses (or was it eight?).

So this hymnbook will have lots of verses. Any choir is free to skip verses if time presses, but the pew books will be fully equipped with all the Catholic poetry available.

Another thing is the benefit of having both Latin and English versions of each hymn.

Looking at the layout of different hymnbooks was instructive too. Thanks to generous souls I have a copy of the Westminster Hymnal’s pew book, which is remarkably similar to the Living Parish little red book that is in use at the Maternal Heart of Mary Church. Unfortunately the drop cap package doesn’t work with the centering verses package in LaTeX, if anyone has a solution for that, please drop me a line.

Would anyone else be interested in such a hymnbook?

Does anyone know about the process of getting ecclesiastical approval for such an endeavour? Is it necessary? How many years does it usually take? Is there a short way?

Then would a matching Organ Edition be in order? And a Choir Edition?