Mother's Day Hymns

We will celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday, May 9th.  While not an official Holy Day on the Church's calendar, mothers and women have played an important role in all our lives and the Church.  On May 9th we will sing three hymns written by women who have written hymns that have become favorites of many.

Hymn 405 "All things bright and beautiful" was written by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) was married to the Anglican bishop of Ireland and wrote nearly 400 hymns during her lifetime.  All Things Bright and Beautiful appeared in Hymns for Little Children in 1848.  Martin Shaw (1875-1958), the former Director of Music for the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford and founding member of the Henry Purcell Operatic Society, adapted a 17th century melody that is now known as Royal Oak.

Hymn 335 "I am the bread of life" is a rendering on John's Gospel (6:35, 44, 51, 53) by Sr. Suzanne Toolan (b. 1927), a prominent American spokesperson for the music and prayer of the Taizé ecumenical community from France and leader of many Taizé-style retreats.  Written for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1966, this hymn has been translated into many European and Asian languages and has become a favorite for celebrations of the Eucharist and funerals.

Hymn 539 "O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling" was written by the London-born Mary Ann Faulkner Thomson (1834-1923), wife of the librarian of the Free Library in Philadelphia, John Thomson.  She wrote many poems and hymns that appeared in the Churchmen and the Living Church.  She bore twelve children, five of whom died in infancy.  She wrote the text to "O Zion, haste" in 1868 while sitting up one night with one of her children who was suffering with typhoid fever.  Her text was matched with the tune Tidings, composed by James Walch (1837-1901), organist for several churches in Bolton, England, and later conductor of the Bolton Philharmonic Society.  This hymn is a favorite of the Rt. Rev. James W. Montgomery, retired Bishop of Chicago.