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About the album
Daughters Of Mary: "Spirit"

The Sisters Who Sing The Chant

The Daughters of Mary live a community life of prayers, contemplation and good works. And Gregorian Chant is a big part of that life. Their Motherhouse and Novitiate are located in the Catskill Mountain in Round Top, New York, about forty miles south of Albany. At the Motherhouse, the Sisters sing Gregorian chant each morning, noon and night. The love of God, which animates the lives of these sisters, is evident in the sweetness of their angelic voices as they sing Gregorian chant, which is truly the angel's song.

The Sisters who sing the chant on this recording have chosen to live the traditional religious life. They wear a traditional habit which by design and intention separates them from the world and identifies them as religious Sisters. They belong to a religious congregation known as The Daughters Of Mary, Mother Of Our Saviour. This Congregation was established in 1984 in order to provide young women with the opportunity to live the religious life as it was lived before the Second Vatican Council.

It is our fond hope and prayer that the music
we sing will enlighten the minds and warm the
hearts of those who listen. When we sing we raise
our minds and hearts to God in prayer. The more
we sing the more we pray. And the more we pray
the more we come to know and love the One to
Whom we are espoused: and the more we wish to
share that knowledge and love with others.
The Daughters Of Mary

The liturgical form of song known as Gregorian chant has its origin in the early Catholic Church. Musical instruments were excluded from early Christian worship, and text from Biblical passages was "chanted". By the 5th century, various types of chant were established. In time, Roman chant supplanted the other forms and became known as Gregorian chant.

The "modernization" of church music that followed the Second Vatican Council was accompanied by the modernization of the religious life of the Sisters. The traditional community life of prayer and contemplation was changed. It was replaced with an increased emphasis on activity in the world. This change resulted in the secularization of their lives. The Sisters left their cloisters and they exchanged their traditional religious habits for the garb of the secular world.

The Middle Ages extended from the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, at the end of the 4th century, to about the middle of the 5th century. Throughout the Middle Ages the dominant spiritual force was the Catholic Church and in the early Middle Ages the music of the Church was "PLAIN CHANT." It is called plain chant to distinguish it from polyphony or harmonized singing as well as from the musica mensurata which developed around the 12th or 13th century.

There is much that we do not know about the music of the Church in the first three centuries, but we do know that music was an important part of private devotion and official worship in the early church. We know that the texts used were taken from the psalms and canticles of the Bible. We know that hymns were composed for Church use using classical Greek and Hebrew poetic forms; and we know that from earlier times, musical instruments were excluded from Christian worship.

From the fourth century on, our knowledge is considerably greater. The edict of Milan in the year 313 provided the opportunity for growth and development of church music. By the 5th century various types of chant, including Ambrosian, Gallican, Mozarabic and Roman were established. And while they continued to develop, they were, for the most part, finalized in form in the days of Pop Gregory I. In time, the Roman chant supplanted the other forms of chant and is known as Gregorian chant.

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