Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thanks to Danielle Rose

Guest post by Allison 
A few weeks ago, my friend Andy introduced me to Guido D’Arezzo, the Benedictine monk who invented modern musical notation by creating the four-line staff.Then Andy, who founded our parish’s Chant Club and has a master's degree in medieval literature from the University of Notre Dame, read my post about Guido, including my dismissive remarks on the theologically suspect, “folksy religious songs of my Catholic childhood.” And Andy had another lesson for me.

He and his wife are nearly two decades younger than Greg and I. We are products of the well-meaning and sometimes misguided reforms of Vatican II and I call their generation the “JP2 babies”—unafraid of orthodoxy, unabashed in their faith.

Andy told me he believed folk music can have a place in Catholic worship—if its lyrics reflect orthodoxy. He told me about a folk musician he and his wife had known when they were students at Notre Dame: Danielle Skorich, whose professional name was Danielle Rose.

Last month he placed a Danielle Rose's CD, called “Mysteries,” on top of our TV in the family room. There it sat, unplayed until Sunday night.

Sunday afternoon at Chant Club, Andy yet again mentioned the two-album CD, which is a series of musical reflections on each of the rosary mysteries. He encouraged me to at least listen to the song on the Transfiguration, given that it was Transfiguration Sunday.

I spent late Transfiguration Sunday evening listening to Danielle Rose's album on my laptop. In her liner notes, Danielle Rose says she was inspired to produce the album in response to Pope John Paul II's October 2002 letter introducing the Luminous Mysteries to the rosary. The album, in a wide range of musical styles, reflects on all 20 mysteries of the rosary.

As someone who spent endless hours as a teen alone in my bedroom listening to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez records, I was transfixed—yes, that is the word—by the soulful, soaring, dare I say sensuous, tunes of Danielle Rose. Her music incorporates a range of styles, including folk, chant, gospel, rock and bluegrass. She tells the story of each mystery from the perspective of Biblical characters.

In “Listen to Him,” she relates the Transfiguration, the fourth Luminous Mystery, from Peter’s perspective: I hear the voice of every generation listen to Him. Time stands still when I behold your Transfiguration.

A cradle Catholic, Danielle Rose grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. Her father is an eye surgeon who volunteered his talents in India for 25 years. Both parents encouraged her to a life of service. Danielle Rose’s faith deepened in college, when she began attending daily mass and reflecting on the Real Presence. She graduated from Notre Dame in 2002 with degrees in both music and theology. Her first album, “Defining Beauty,” was released by World Library Publications before she graduated.

Danielle Rose went on to travel the world as what she called a “music missionary,” hoping to bring her musical gifts to a spiritually impoverished world. She was the 2005 United Catholic Music and Video Association (UCMVA) Unity Award Winner for Female Vocalist of the Year.

When Andy loaned me the CD of her work, he mentioned that Danielle Rose’s website and her MySpace page are out of date and he wasn’t sure if she was writing and performing anymore.

“Maybe she got married,” I responded. In fact, she did.

In August 2007, Danielle Rose Skorich entered a Charismatic and Franciscan community near Amarillo, Texas, called the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. In August of the next year, she was accepted as a novice and received the religious name Sister Rose Therese.

“He revealed the desire of His heart for my life, and thus transformed my heart from the one being pursued by Christ, to the one in pursuit of Christ. ‘I want to be your spouse,’” Sister Rose Therese, DLJC, wrote.

Ten days before Sister Rose Therese entered the convent, she created her final mainstream album called “Pursue Me” about her discernment journey. All royalties from the sales go to promoting vocations to both the priesthood and religious life.

In a 2007 concert in Duluth, before taking her vows, Danielle Rose said she would not say farewell to her loved ones even though—other than her family—she could no longer call or email them. “See you in the Eucharist,” she sang.

I’m still quite fond of Guido. But now I'm also a Catholic thanks to Sister Rose Therese.