by Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer. MMM USA 05.12.2023
This Christmas as a medical student in Rosemount was going to be very special. Sister Aideen O’Sullivan, who was studying physiotherapy in UCD at the time, was testing our voices to see how best we could be suitable for the different singing parts of a Christmas Triptych of harmonious songs, readings, and solo portrayals of Gospel scenes.
This was a welcome respite from the long hours of study, attending clinical reviews of patients in the hospital and sometimes assisting the Professor of Surgery, Patty Fitzgerald, with various surgical operations. Our medical classes continued in the afternoons in Earlsfort Terrace. We continued riding our bicycles there every day except if the weather was so inclement that we took the bus. Soon we would be getting our Christmas-New Year’s break.
The practices took place in the large parlour where there was a large fireplace burning coal to keep us warm. Sr. Maureen Mc Dermott was chosen to be the Blessed Mother and she looked beautiful with her long black hair under a long veil. She had a beautiful voice and looked the part very much. I can still hear her sing, “Behold, BEHOLD the handmaid of the Lord.”
The shepherds sang all three verses of Silent Night. I had never heard of descant voices before, but these came in at times higher than the soprano’s voice and sometimes gave a discordant note which gave a beautiful trill to what was being portrayed. I was given an Alto part and tried my best to keep the note and not wonder off to the soprano part.
With many repeated practices, Holy Innocents Day finally came, and Mother Mary visited us with all the American Sisters who were in Drogheda at the time. We always enjoyed having Mother Mary with us. She loved hearing this Triptych so much that Mother invited Sister Aideen to go to Drogheda and train the Sisters there to do the same production. Sr. Catherine Anne Dougherty was the Blessed Mother and did a very good job of singing her part. Sister Constancia Faul did not know she could sing so well until she tried and opened her mouth to produce a very sweet-sounding melody. She was perfect for her part. Mother Mary enjoyed the replay of this marvelous Christmas Triptych in Drogheda. Mother Mary always had her eyes and ears open to beauty and she wanted to share this joy with all the Sisters in Drogheda.