This year, I have an idea: I’ve been listening to Lent at Ephesus, the third and most recent CD from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. I had it in my car; but for me (at least this year), the driving-in-the-snow-and-potholes thing hasn’t worked very well—the road noise has distracted from the sisters’ angelic voices. Come Ash Wednesday, though, I plan to have the Lent at Ephesus CD ready to play in my home CD player, to be my accompaniment as I putter about the house, preparing dinner and making the bed.
Wherever you listen to fine music, you should plan to pop Lent at Ephesus into your CD player or download the MP3. This is one devotional album you’re sure to love: The Benedictine Sisters were the first order of nuns to ever win an award in the history of Billboard magazine. The Sisters were recognized for their two bestselling albums: Angels and Saints at Ephesus, which spent 13 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Classical Traditional Music chart, and Advent at Ephesus, which spent six consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the same chart.
The Benedictines of Mary are a young cloistered community living in Missouri, and for them, song is a regular part of their daily prayer. The Sisters sing together eight times each day, as they chant the Divine Office in Latin. Many of the 23 beautiful selections of sacred music on this album are sung in Latin—timeless hymns by Johann Sebastian Bach, canticles of praise which have been shared by the universal Church since the Middle Ages. If the Latin is unfamiliar, you can find the English-language translations of the lyrics in the attractive 12-page book which accompanies the CD. And so many songs, both Latin and English, are familiar Lenten melodies: O Sacred Head Surrounded; Stabat Mater; All Glory, Laud and Honor; Ave Regina Caelorum, and more.
Blanton Alspaugh, the Grammy Award-winning classical producer who recorded the Sisters, said of his experience:
“Their singing has a very pure and yet sophisticated style. It certainly earns its place in the international arena of classical music. Their talent is as remarkable as their sense of charity. To record them at their priory was one of the highlights of my career.”
Take a minute to enjoy their captivating music. Their youth and their devotion (and their beautiful music) are sure to bring a smile.