Reflective Moments with Angela

By Sister Nancy Liddy

At our Ursuline Motherhouse Chapel, we pray at daily Mass for the concerns of other parts of the world. This past month I had an opportunity to hear the sounds of another part of the world at prayer. A choir composed of women from the nation of Senegal infused St. Stephen Cathedral, in Owensboro, with the spirit-lifting sounds of West Africa at the celebration of the Eucharist.

Like many cultures around the world, Africans celebrate important events such as baptisms, weddings, and other rites of passage with music. There are also songs for digging, washing, chopping, songs of praise and protest, and songs recounting historical moments. As a result, music in Africa accompanies not only formal religious or ceremonial gatherings but is interwoven into gatherings which are often outdoors. In African culture all of life generates the impetus to sing.

Sometimes as Catholic Christians living in the United States, we have the tendency to relegate God only to Church or Sacraments. There is a lesson for us in the many ways daily activities carry the African soul to song – to find God in every moment. As we stagger out of the pandemic, and once again experience the joy of human voices raised together in song, we are reminded that God comes to us in the human.

Something to Consider

As a Franciscan tertiary, Saint Angela followed the way of life of the 13th century saint, Francis of Assisi. The great writer G.K. Chesterton wrote of Saint Francis, “He thought he could end a war with a song.”

God is always looking for ways to come to us in the daily moments of life. A simple practice is to end or begin each day with a question: How did You come to me today?


  1. Michele Morek

    Great reflection, Nancy! I have had several African sisters write for us about the importance of music (especially DRUMS!) and when I visited Ghana was amazed at how the teenagers –TEENagers!–would burst into religious songs in three part harmony. You are so right…

  2. Suzanne

    Thank you, Nancy, for connecting liturgical music and worship by the people in ordinary life and labor. Authentic worship is expressed when people leave Mass.

  3. Angela Schrage

    Nancy, thanks for the awareness of how music touches and shapes our lives, actually God touching us through this great art.

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