The Associated PressANN ARBOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The members of Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, silently filed into the chapel. Within minutes, they were singing — first in unison, then in a transfixing, layered harmony that reverberated off the marble floors, wood-paneled walls and cathedral ceiling.
The evening prayer service was intended for no audience but the Lord they have taken vows to serve. Still, The Chapel at the Motherhouse on the rolling grounds of the Catholic order’s campus outside Ann Arbor, Mich., is also the place where the members record music that has been heard by millions. Their third and latest album, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring: Christmas with the Dominican Sisters of Mary,” has gracefully muscled its way to the top of Billboard’s classical chart and climbed nearly as high on the holiday chart.
They may be sisters, but this is no act.
“It’s such a part of our prayer life that when we make a CD, we’re just praying,” said Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, a founder of the community who has overseen the production of three CDs. “It’s what we do, it’s who we are.”
The album’s 16 songs span from the 5th century to present day and represent the music of 10 countries. The collection includes the well-known (“We Wish You a Merry Christmas”), obscure (“Sleep, Little Jesus,” based on a Polish carol) and original (“Snowflakes,” composed by Bogdanowicz). Some songs are a cappella, others contain light instrumentation — all supplied by the sisters.Speech