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Praising God’s Mercy in Song:
The Mater Ecclesiae Choir is privileged to sing during the May 1, 2011 Divine Mercy Mass in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

singing 2 stockbridge
The choir sang at this year’s Divine Mercy Mass at the Stockbridge Massachusetts Shrine on May 1, 2011.

By Kelly Luttinen

Stockbridge Massachusetts, May 1, 2011 - It has been said that listening to the consecrated women of Regnum Christi sing can bring an emotional tear to the eye.  This figure of speech literally describes what happened when the consecrated women sang while on pilgrimage at a Catholic shrine in June, 2010. 

“People are often moved by the singing of our group, I think, because that singing is a prayer,” said RC consecrated woman Mary Schwarz. “It comes from our heart.”

A visit by the 2010 senior students from Mater Ecclesiae College (MEC) to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in June of 2010 is the catalyst that brought about a special opportunity for the MEC college choir to perform their hymns of prayer and praise during this year’s Divine Mercy Mass at the Stockbridge Massachusetts Shrine on May 1, 2011. This event draws about 20,000 people each year and was broadcast live the EWTN network. (To see footage and photos from event on the Divine Mercy Shrine website, click here.)  MEC, located in Greenville, Rhode Island, is where the consecrated women of Regnum Christ in North America are educated.

Can’t Keep from Singing!
“In late June 2010, I accompanied the senior MEC students to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge for a cultural visit, and then we also made a pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Shrine,” Mary explained.

While in the Shrine chapel, one of the MEC students asked if the group could sing a song in prayer,
singing 1 stockbridge
“We were representing all the consecrated women, Legionaries, and Regnum Christi members all over the world."
since the chapel was empty of anyone besides their group.  Mary agreed, and they began to sing.  One of the seminarians of the religious order that oversees the shrine (the Marians of the Immaculate Conception) was nearby and heard their singing.  “He came to ask us who we were,” said Mary.

The seminarian then went to find Fr. Anthony (Gramlick, MIC), the shrine rector, to come hear the group sing.  The two men also asked the clerk of the shrine bookstore to come listen.  “We sang some more songs for them,” Mary said. “Then the woman who runs the shrine gift shop also came over and she was very moved, even to tears.”

The consecrated women then invited Fr. Anthony to come and visit Mater Ecclesiae to celebrate Mass, which he accepted.  “Hearing the consecrated women singing at Mass and in a performance that morning at the college gave Fr. Anthony the idea to asking our choir if they could sing at the Divine Mercy Sunday event,” Mary said.  He put them in contact with the Shrine’s music director and the arrangements were made.     

“It was a great opportunity for us,” said Mary.  “Our movement is suffering now through difficult times.  Fr. Anthony told us that he understood that, but said this is what Divine Mercy is all about – healing and reconciliation for us all.”

God’s Inspiration is Heard

“That day (Divine Mercy Sunday) the choir really sounded phenomenal,” said choir member Emily Roman. “Every few steps, we met more people who congratulated us for our performance.  What I told each of them was that we sing with all our hearts, and God does the rest.  Humanly speaking, there´s no reason we should have sounded as we did.   I think what made the difference is that we were praying every word.” 

“I felt it was a transcendent moment,” said Nicole Stone, also a choir member.  “We were representing all the consecrated women, Legionaries, and Regnum Christi members all over the world.  Personally, even though this was such an honor to go and sing at the event, this was a pilgrimage for me
singing 3 stockbridge
“I was struck by such a strong sense of the Church - so many people present, praying, imploring God's mercy on the whole world...the Church is alive!”
as well. The entire weekend was about begging Christ to dispense his graces and mercy to help bring sinners back to him, to help my family and friends in coming closer to him, and to help all consecrated people persevere in their vocations.”

Choir member Mary Wimer said singing that day was “an experience of Church” for her, “having so many people together at Stockbridge praying, and on the day of JPII´s beatification!”

Megan McCleneghen agreed.  “I was struck by such a strong sense of the Church - so many people present, praying, imploring God´s mercy on the whole world...the Church is alive!”

Literally Following Christ

The choir members said one of the highlights of the event for all of them was an impromptu Eucharistic procession with the Marians. 

“A priest came up to (choir member) Yvonne Nuxoll and told her that he needed to bring the extra consecrated hosts from the Mass at the outdoor shrine back inside the tabernacle in the church, where the image of the Divine Mercy is,” explained Nicole.   “He asked if some of us would want to sing a song as the priests brought Christ back into the church.”

The choir members started to spontaneously sing “I am the Bread of Life" and formed a little procession following the Eucharist through the crowd.

“As we walked behind Christ towards the church, the people around us realized what was happening, and they started singing and dropping to their knees on the ground in adoration,” said Nicole.

Because the Mass was broadcast on the EWTN network, one might expect the exposure could encourage young women to come to Mater Ecclesiae for a visit and learn more about the consecrated life.  “You don’t have to be a good singer,” said Mary, but she says her own singing has improved since she joined the group.  Her own family has commented on it.  She shrugs with a smile and said, “Well, we have Mass every day so we get a lot of practice!”

Those interested in hearing or obtaining some of the music of RC consecrated women can go to the following links to download their songs.
• iTunes
• CDbaby
• Amazon

For more information about the consecrated women of Regnum Christi visit  For more information on Mater Ecclesiae, click here



Related links

Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
Mater Ecclesaie College

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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