Cherished Christmas Carols with two Glennonville Sisters

The small town of Glennonville, Missouri, has produced several Ursuline Sisters through the years. It also must be a place where “Violet in the Snow” is popular, because two Sisters from Glennonville chose it as their favorite Christmas hymn — Sisters Cecelia Joseph Olinger and Mary Celine Weidenbenner. They explain why this is their “Cherished Christmas Carol.”

Sister Cecelia Joseph (pictured above) said, “Perhaps the favorite part of my teaching years was leading children to sing, especially Christmas music, even for Midnight Mass. When I went to St. Margaret Mary School in Louisville, Ky., in 1973, I didn’t get to experience that, so I spent Christmas with my mother in my hometown in Glennonville. At Midnight Mass, the school children sang ‘Violet in the Snow.’ I realized then how much I missed leading a children’s choir for Mass and tears filled my eyes. The words and music are quite simple but very touching. Even though Carey Landry popularized the song on one of his records and is credited with composing it, my copy shows that Don Mayhew actually wrote the words and music. I used that song for the rest of my teaching years and even during my years as a pastoral associate.”

Sister Mary Celine Weidenbenner

Sister Mary Celine said, “The part that touches me the most is, ‘He was wrinkled and red and he cried just the same as you and I …'” 

Here are two versions of “Violet in the Snow.”

Violet in the Snow by Eileen Wotschell

Violet in the Snow by Maureen Teresa Ward