Since I am in the Holy Land as this goes to press, I want to share with you an email. Last week we started singing the Salve Regina as was the custom at my previous parish. After some time of the parish learning the chant, a parish mother wrote me this email which expresses beautifully one of the reasons why I have directed that we sing the Marian Antiphons, especially the Salve Regina.
I wanted to tell you how much I love that we sing the Salve Regina after mass. I love that my kids and I know it by heart now. Today, I had a new reason to love it. We were sitting behind an elderly woman and her adult son. She appeared very infirm and somewhat “not here.” He was wonderful to her, finding the music/readings for her, putting his arm around her at times, etc. He helped her get to communion and back to her seat. Then the Salve started and all of a sudden this beautiful, clear voice rang out—she was singing! I looked up and her son was staring at her with this smiling, gaping, open mouth, just like me, I’m sure. Then her son and I had to stop signing because it’s very hard to sing the Salve Regina with a lump in your throat. We chatted with them after mass and she had a stroke 8 years ago, and doesn’t have much short-term memory, but her long-term memory is very solid. She was telling us about being taught by the Dominican nuns in France during her childhood and how they would always sing the Salve in school. I love how that piece of music ties us to Catholics all over the world, but also to Catholics out of time and place and to Mary. Amazing mass today.