SR. EDWARD MARIE SMITH
Singing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am the eighth of ten children. My first experience of singing in a choir was when I was allowed to be a part of the choir in elementary school.
When we had long road trips my mother would get us to sing in the car. We sang fun or silly songs like “Peanut Sitting on a Railroad Track,” “Shining Waters,” and “Whatcha Gonna Do in a Little Canoe,” with accompanying hand motions. Over the years we built up quite a repertoire from tunes that she knew or that my sisters learned in Girl Scouts. Looking back I think it was a creative way to keep us occupied and Mom and Dad sane. Whatever the reason, it remains one of the best of my childhood memories.
When I was asked to be part of the original concert choir little did I realize that we would still be at it over twenty years later! What an experience it has been for me. It requires hard work which pays off in so many ways. Singing lifts the mind and heart to God not only for the listeners but also for us who are singing. It is a reciprocal giving and receiving between those who participate and those who sing. I am always inspired when I am able to see the faces of the individuals who make up the audience. It is apparent from their expressions that the music, lyrics, and motions are reaching them in a way that other forms of communication cannot. The laughter, tears, joy, and even the “silliness” are a means to bring them closer to God. St Augustine really had it right when he said that music and singing was “praying twice”!
The concerts become a wonderful community moment for those of us who have the privilege to join in this apostolic adventure. We gather from all over the country for two weeks of intense activity. We become a “concert” community. It is pretty intense but being with my sisters is great and fun. Together we make a “joyful shout" to the Lord for short period of time while we take our “show on the road!”
I believe that I can never be bored being a Daughter of St. Paul. Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, made sure to challenge us by letting us know that we evangelize the people of today by communicating the Gospel to them with all the means available today. This means we always have to be open, be creative, and collaborate in order that the Gospel can be communicated to all.