The Sisters recently released their third instrumental CD, "Quiet Light," to help raise funds for a much-needed update to their monastery's heating and cooling system that will include geothermal energy.
The Sisters will save thousands of dollars each year in propane costs. In addition, the geothermal project will add to their comprehensive environmental program, which already includes the use of biodegradable packing materials for altar bread shipments, organic gardening, recycling and composting, solar outdoor lighting, purchase of an electric hybrid automobile and the installation of energy-efficient windows.
"Quiet Light" features selections of original piano and harp compositions along with new arrangements of familiar favorites. It is described as a homily of beautifully composed instrumental selections that will soothe the soul and provide inspiration and a quiet presence in everyday life. The album is the collaborative effort of Sister Theresa Tremmel, OSB (Order of St. Benedict) and Sister Elaine Starman, OSB along with flute accompaniment by Sister Colleen Maura McGrane, OSB.
The album's 17 tracks include 14 original compositions and three new arrangements of familiar hymns. "Quiet Light" features a total running time of more than one hour and costs $15 (plus 90 cents for shipping and handling). Also available is "Mystical Dream," another instrumental CD released by the Benedictine Sisters that features 13 original keyboard and flute melodies influenced by nature, meditation and prayer.
"'Quiet Light' and 'Mystical Dream' are two music CDs I found strikingly beautiful in their simplicity," said Sister Ramona Varela, prioress general of the Benedictine Sisters. "You don't need to be a gifted musician to appreciate it. Just sit back and let it help you relax while you are in the car or if you want to put yourself in a prayer mood."
The albums are available by calling (660) 944-2221, online at www.benedictinesisters.org or via mail at Benedictine Sisters, 31970 State Highway P, Clyde, Mo., 64432-8100. For more information, call (660) 944-2221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration is a non-profit organization and has been a fixture in the Northwest Missouri community since 1874.
About the Artists:
Sister Theresa Marie Tremmel
A California native, Sister Theresa Marie Tremmel has played classical piano since the age of 7. Her father, a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, and her mother, Barbara, an executive secretary, made sure Sister Theresa took piano lessons wherever her military family was stationed at the time.
She later attended the United States International University's School of Performing and Visual Arts where she majored in dance and ballet with a minor in music. While in college she played piano for dance classes then began studying the pipe organ at age 26. She decided to add the harp to her musical repertoire and has been studying at the Mount Conservatory of Music in Atchison, Kan.
Sister Theresa made her first profession in 1985 and took her final vows in 1988. She has been a resident at the Clyde house since 2001. "I wanted to live a life centered on God but with other people who were also wanting to deepen their life of faith," she said. "Benedictines also have a rich musical, liturgical and artistic heritage that I find attractive."
Sister Theresa usually composes music when she has quiet time, and many pieces are written at night. Her music is inspired by people, events, nature or an inner experience or feeling. Some selections are a result of a melody that emerges as she is improvising.
Sister Theresa said each piece on "Quiet Light" has its own character and meaning. While she says it's difficult to choose a favorite, she's very fond of Sister Ruth Starman's "A Place In My Heart" because "it sticks in my head for hours after I hear it."
She expresses her gratitude for the support of Sister Ramona Varela, prioress general of the Benedictine Sisters congregation, Sister Karen Joseph, prioress of the Clyde monastery, to her parents and to her monastic community who are responsible for all the musical training and encouragement she has experienced throughout her life.
Sister Ruth Elaine Starman
Sister Ruth Elaine Starman was born in Elgin, Neb., and took organ lessons from childhood through high school. She is self-taught on the guitar and is currently studying the harp at the Mount Conservatory of Music in Atchison, Kan.
She earned a bachelor's of science degree in biology and computer science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She made her first profession in 1996 and took final vows in 2002. She has been at the Clyde monastery for 11 years.
"I chose the life of a Benedictine Sister because God called me to a contemplative lifestyle and this particular monastery fit the bill for me," she said. "I think there is nothing more important in life than seeking union with God and I believe prayer can change the world, so to dedicate a lifestyle to contemplative prayer makes perfect sense to me."
Sister Ruth's musical inspirations flow mostly from her prayer life and the beauty of nature. Themes generally form around verses from scripture, especially the Psalms. Her favorite pieces on "Quiet Light" are her arrangements of the familiar hymns of "Veni Creator Spiritus" and "Come Holy Ghost," composed as a tribute to Pentecost, a favorite feast of Sister Ruth's.
She also likes "A Place in My Heart," which she wrote for all those people who touch our lives in special ways. "When they are gone from our lives, they continue to live in our hearts," she said.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Quiet Light
2. A Place in My Heart
3. Autumn Prayer
4. Song From the Heartland
5. Veni Creator Spiritus
6. Come Holy Spirit
7. In April
8. By the Willows
9. You Are All in All
11. Sleep Little Child
13. A Country Psalm
15. Water on the Thirsty Ground