Blast from the past: Sr. Janet Mead's "Our Father" from 1973

A jolly h/t to Frank Weathers who sent this my way.

Boy, does this bring back memories.  Not long ago, my wife sent me on an iTunes search to try and find this popular rendition of the classic prayer that briefly hit the airwaves in the early ’70s.  These days, it’s nowhere to be found.  (And you certainly won’t find this in the new Roman Missal repertoire.)

But it lives on, thanks to YouTube.  Here it is, boys and girls.  Enjoy.

Footnote: You can read more about Sr. Janet over at Wikipedia.

And it turns out, she has her own web page, too.

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20 responses to “Blast from the past: Sr. Janet Mead's "Our Father" from 1973”

  1. I miss singing the Our Father.

    I’m not familiar with this version, but can distinctly recall the version I grew up singing.

    Our parish priest here stopped the singing of the Our Father very early in his appointment here. His rationale being that since it’s a communal prayer, it is one the whole congregation should participate in and since many opted out of joining in with the singing – he wanted us all to say it instead. Fair enough I suppose – I still miss it though …

  2. What a blast from the past. I was only a little kid in 1973 but I remember the song very well. Thank you for posting this, I had always confused her with Soeur Sourire and her tragic story. Now I know the difference.

  3. Certainly more original than the version I used to hear set to the tune of “As Tears Go By” by Jagger/Richards. Zoinks!

  4. I remember this. I also remember the excitement of being Catholic in the post-Vatican II era; that is, in the immediate post-V2 era. I was a newbie Catholic school teacher, and I used songs like this which the children found appealing.

  5. I remember hearing this on the radio, but never sang it at Mass. I am guilty of singing “C’mon, people now, smile on your brother! Everybody get together, try to love one another right now!” at Mass. I met Jesse Colin Young once and told him that and he cringed and said, “A lot of folks tell me that!”

  6. I remember hearing this on the radio in the car on; wait for it; wait for it….. AM ONLY! I kinda dug it (too young to say groovy). I am encouraged to to realize this composition was the “creation” of a Catholic nun.

  7. As someone who is famous for singing the wrong lyrics to songs (I was sure that “There’s a bad moon on the rise.” was “There’s a bathroom on the right”) …I was a happy kid singing to Sister Janet’s “Our Father” since it was the only song who’s words I knew with confidence!

  8. I was baptized Catholic but raised Protestant and barely remember this as a new teenager that had moved to live with my Catholic father right before the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam. Mom was an anti-Catholic Protestant and dad was a traditional Catholic back then (long story). So I have a bazaar background that most Catholics never experienced, thankfully (very difficult). As a revert to Catholicism from my Church of Christ (acapella singing) faith, I’m more inclined to traditional hymns now. I’ve experienced the Novus Ordo (now ordinary form) in Latin and love it (note: I barely remember the TLM visiting grandparents).

    I also love Gregorian Chant (note Church of Christ acapella background). I seem to be an anomaly for my age group. I’m looking forward to the upcoming missal update. In fact, I’m encouraged from learning about ancient Christianity along with Eastern Orthodoxy. (Man, sometimes I wish we used Greek.) I love the Divine Liturgy with chant. I have a flair for ancient tradition now and love singing the Our Father in Latin. Did you know the ordinary form (aka Novus Ordo) is really beautiful when in sung in Latin?

    When I reverted I set out to learn to pray the rosary in Latin. Sorry, but it helps me concentrate better. And, I actually know what I’m saying. I’m not saying it should always be Latin, but it is beautiful.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know many of the 60 and 70s guitar hymns and played/sang in a choir for mass – nothing to brag about. But I still I love to play and sing those 70s songs once in a while.

  9. Played it at Mass on my guitar for years.

    What’s interesting though, is that the early 70’s saw the music of Godspell (Day by Day) and Jesus Christ Superstar (I Don’t Know How to Love Him), as well as the Lord’s Prayer as chart-busting hits.

    Fast forward to today and the near hysteria at the mention of Gods name in public. How far we have fallen.

  10. Thanks, Deacon Greg!
    I had this on a 45rpm as a kid and sang it at Mass when I was in Junior High….
    Thanks for the memories!

  11. Deacon Greg –

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Its a catchy tune but
    I’m so very glad that era is over!

    In 8th grade in 1975 I chose to sing this song for the talent show at my Catholic grade school. I wanted to wear a homemade “habit” so as to look like the nun who sang the tune and I was almost removed from the show. I was taught by Benedictines from Sr. Joan Chittister’s motherhouse and they were SO VERY ANGRY at me over the habit. They were not concerned that I was wearing it not having taken vows or that I was mocking them. They were angry that as a top student and a prospective “recruit” that I would want to wear one (they no longer did). They did not want the younger students to see a woman in a habit as it was debasing and they had moved beyond that! I won the argument after my parents intervened but they were livid!

    Yep- I’m so glad that era is over!

  12. Thanks Deacon Greg!! Once in a while I sing this and always wondered what happened to the author. I sang this at Mass and with the radio when I was in 8th grade at St. Irenaeus in Cypress Ca!!!

  13. I had just left the seminary after spending eight years (high school and college) in the seminary shortly before this came out.

    Yes, perhaps it is dated, but I miss the enthusiasm we all had back then for Church. It was a time of limitless possibilities for service and we were proud to be trying to work within the culture in order to transform it (as we had been challenged to do in “Gaudium et Spes” #40: to be a kind of soul and leaven within the world).

    I think that the challenge for us today is not simply to look at something like this and say, “Aren’t we glad those days are over”; rather, we should be saying, “Thanks, Sister, for helping all of those kids be excited about faith and church.” And then we should be asking ourselves TODAY, what am I doing to read the signs of the times in light of the Gospel? And, even more to the point, how am I doing that in response to Vatican II’s observation that this needs to be done “in language intelligible to every generation”?

    So, Sister’s music is now passe. But how well have we picked up the challenge for 2011?

    Just ponderin’. . . .

    God bless,


  14. Deacon Bill-
    Though in aggregate I agree with your positive outlook, I was responding to this particular song and the memories it evokes for me.
    It brings back for me the daydreaming and often deceptive practices of the order that was responsible for my so-called Catholic education. Though I experienced grace-filled moments within the Church while under their tutelage, I have come to understand that this was God’s doing and had little to do with the misguided efforts of the “sisters “who ran our school. Our tie-dyed vestment making and mass readings from J. L. Seagull were anything but exciting, transforming or a product of enthusiasm. Their encouragement was a manipulative attempt at a quasi-revolution and in no way reflected the “spirit” or actual documents of Vatican II. One could argue ignorance of the documents, except that most of the sisters had graduate degrees and no problem getting access to the materials. Their onetime prioress/media hound was and still is an expert at advancing her magisterium (male) hating agenda. Sadly, for this particular motherhouse and its leaders, time has marched on, but they have not changed and few lessons seem to have been learned.
    In 2011, it appears God will solve the issue by attrition. The challenge has been accepted by a new young generation who will read the documents for themselves and look to Pope Benedict for their interpretation and implementation with an educated understanding and an appreciation of all that the Church has to offer.

  15. I’ve been looking for this song for many mmany years. Thanks soo much. Its not exactly the radio version but still great!!!

  16. Deacon Greg,

    Thank you — As a child during the early mid 1970’s I heard this song along with “Day by Day,” “My Sweet Lord” (the Hindu references were removed), Here Comes the Sun, Kumbaya, Morning Has Broken, and Let It Be.

    Our youth band from 1974 to 1983 had drums, bongos, three flutes, stand up bass, two acoustic guitars, a piano,a trumpet, an organ, and tamborines. The sad part was that to create this band, the organist lost her job — my parish priest was still stubbornly insisting on Latin chanting in 1974, when she was replaced.

    These songs and the youth band seemed so cool and new when I was six, but by the time I was a teenager, they were very uncool and passe. As a college student in the late 1980’s, several of my fellow students had the same experience as me, as we had fun mocking out this 1970’s church music. Today, I am looking forward to chant as our parish slowly reintroduces it with the new missal translation.

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