Marian Music: A Delightful Gift

…the heart of the swords, seven times wounded,
Was never wearied as our hearts are.  ~G.K. Chesterton

Several weeks ago, I traversed a winding Maryland road, and landed at a home nestled around a pond which was the meeting place of a large group of people who are my family. While I was chatting with a relative, I heard a cherub-like voice speak my name, and a beautiful girl, one J. Frances, from whence the voice originated, presented me with a newly minted CD titled, Immaculate Heart: Marian Music to Soothe the Soul. She said several of her friends had created the CD, and it was a compilation of music written in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I took the CD, and the Sacramental Spouse (being my tech go-to guy) found a way to upload it to iTunes (or whatever app thingy he said he used), and it has not been turned off for very long since. Why?

In summation: it is as the title declares, soul soothing.

It is simply beautiful.

Eventually, I sent a text to J. Frances, and asked for more information about the originators of this delightful gift of art in honor of our Queen, and she sent me a link to a website dedicated to the CD. The website gives details of the inspiration behind the creation of the CD, and the musicians who perform on it: Celisa Gutierrez on the harp, and Helen Hawersaat on the cello. One part of the website states:

“Mary is inescapably bound up in the life and music of the Church, and the daily lives of Catholics. We find her among May blooms and in the Regina Caeli. We find her when we wake up, and when we go to bed we find her in the Ave Maris Stella. We stand beside a grave dug in the still-frozen ground, and we find her in the Stabat Mater. Large crowds of us sing “Immaculate Mary” and find her together, and you might pray your rosary alone and find her in an Ave Maria. We hope that you can listen to this CD while you pray, while you put kids to bed, or while you cry and grieve, and be reminded of your heavenly Mother, who is with you always! ” -Helen Hawersaat

Another part of the website details the inspiration for the music:

In 2015, Celisa embarked on a spiritual pilgrimage through France and Spain. One of the most influential spots for her was the Grotto in Lourdes, France. According to Catholic tradition, Mary, the mother of God, appeared to a young girl named Bernadette in this grotto, which has a spring with healing waters. Many miracles have been documented about people who have been healed after bathing in the waters. One of the many beautiful aspects of this holy place is its reverence for the handicapped and sick. Almost every area of the shrine is barrier free, and the wheelchair-bound lead every procession.
Learn more about Lourdes.

People from all over the world come to Lourdes seeking healing of various kinds; emotional, physical, and spiritual needs are all valid. While spending several days at the Grotto, Celisa experienced a profound sense of peace and prayerful discernment. She was struck with a deeper love for the Catholic Church and a desire to honor the sick and disabled.  Ultimately, she left with a deep inspiration to musically document the beauty and love she experienced while on pilgrimage there.

Many tracks on the album are chants and hymns Celisa heard while in Lourdes. Others are lesser-known Marian vocal works that add variety to the collection. All the works are dedicated to and inspired by Mary, Mother of God. While every piece was originally composed for voice, Celisa and Helen explore the rich history and versatility of this music by creating arrangements for a more contemporary ensemble. It is their hope that this music elicits tranquility and contemplation in situations when they are needed most.

Well done, Ladies!

Oh, I should note: the CD may be purchased on Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes. Amazon has a preview page where you may listen to a small portion of each song, prior to purchasing, here.

Have a good day.


~Image: outdoor shrine, the Immaculate Heart of Mary.