SSND connection with ‘Silent Night’

The song “Stille Nacht,” or “Silent Night,” is known worldwide for its peaceful words and serene composition. But few know it was simply written as a song to play easily on the guitar.

Reverend Josef Mohr was a young Austrian priest who wrote the six-stanza poem in 1816 celebrating the birth of Christ. After two years of struggling to write his own music, Rev. Mohr turned to his friend, Franz Gruber, an organist and schoolteacher, to help. Although Rev. Mohr’s request came on Christmas Eve day, Gruber composed a score to match the lyrics, arranging it for guitar for midnight Mass that evening.

Sister Francelda AmenOn December 24, 1818, “Silent Night” made its worldwide debut, as Rev. Mohr sang tenor and played guitar, while Gruber sang bass and the choir joined in for the two-line refrain.

Although Gruber characterized his work as “a simple composition,” the song has been translated into over 50 languages from its original German.

Although Gruber died in 1863, the story did not end there. His descendants immigrated to the United States, settling in Quincy, Illinois. One of his great granddaughters was Sister Francelda Amen, School Sister of Notre Dame. She attended the 150th anniversary of “Silent Night” in Oberndorf, Austria, along with several other of Gruber’s ancestors, as a guest of honor. As an elementary school teacher, Sister Francelda carried on her relative’s heritage by teaching music.

Photo courtesty of SSND Archives.

 
You may also be interested in:
  • Sister furthers SSND mission in Nepal Sister Barbara Soete’s work in Bandipur, Nepal, transcends cultural, religious and gender boundaries. She and other School Sisters of Notre Dame from Japan and the United States teach students at SSND’s school there to give children the skills they need to reach their full potential.
  • SSNDs call for immigration reform The Supreme Court’s recent ruling to block the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals reinforces the need for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Our mission as School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province supports and calls us to accept and serve all in need.
  • Use this time of the year to reflect on God’s works Earlier this year, Provincial Councilor Sister Anna Marie Reha found herself astounded at God’s vast beauty and endless abundance. Now that it is summertime, a typical time of rest and relaxation and for enjoying all of God’s creation, she finds herself reflecting again on the encyclical Laudato Si.
 

Want to learn more?

*
*
*

School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100

info@ssndcp.org

 

© 2017 School Sisters of Notre Dame