Benedictines of Mary: EWTN Gives a Glimpse of Ephesus

The Benedictine in me is a little giddy in anticipation of this Advent gift!

Photo used with permission.

EWTN – the Eternal Word Television Network – has announced multiple broadcasts of a 30-minute special on the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and the making of Advent at Ephesus, which is available now worldwide from De Montfort Music and Decca Records.

The special debuts at 11 a.m. ET on Dec. 2, the first Sunday of Advent. Other broadcasts are set for 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET on Dec. 5, 6 p.m. ET on Dec. 12, and 9 a.m. ET on Dec. 15.

The program takes viewers inside the home of these contemplative sisters for a look at their simple life and the music that fills their every day at the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus, tucked away in the rolling farmland of northwest Missouri. “Our way of life here is truly one of great peace and tranquility,” said Mother Cecilia, the Prioress of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. “Since not everybody can come here – and since we’re not going out into the world – ADVENT AT EPHESUS is a way that we can just give a little taste of our life and let people experience it and be part of it.”

Grammy® and Oscar® winning producer Glenn Rosenstein travelled to the priory and recorded all of ADVENT AT EPHESUS in only three days. Rosenstein, who has worked with a host of international stars and whose projects have generated sales well in excess of 250 million, calls this one of his 10 all-time-favorite recordings.

The album is making huge waves. In their latest newsletter (pdf) the sisters reveal that two days after clothing three new novices in the habit, and thinking the work on the Advent CD was finished “we received word that Decca Music Company wanted to release it on an international scale under their label. This meant a re-recording of the CD in a matter of two weeks.”

It deserves international release; their tone is simply gorgeous.

Over at The Candle, where award-winning journalist Kevin Birnbaum tries to bring a little light into our world by focusing on “beauty, truth, and goodness”, he continues his “Seven Questions” Q&A series by touching base with Mother Cecilia and about the album:

4. How have the sisters developed such a beautiful choral sound?
We sing together at least nine times each day! We have to get along both spiritually and musically. A sister from another community, having heard us sing, remarked that one can hear the trust we have in one another. That says it all. We are very much “cor unum” (one heart) in this house, united in the Heart of God Himself. This is such a great grace!

Read the whole thing, and make a gift of the album to yourself. It may be precisely what you need, this season, to counter the noise of commercialism and enrich your Advent experience.

And check out the EWTN broadcast to get a glimpse of Ephesus. These Benedictines are living it very much old school, (almost “ala Brede Abbey but I think they no longer rise at midnight to pray) and I am very excited to see such a community of such young sisters (and a very young prioress) bringing the ancient vows and unique Benedictine ideal into our modern world.

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About Elizabeth Scalia