" My life goes on, in endless song, above earths lamentations, I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife I hear its music ringing. It sounds an echo in my soul; how can I keep from singing?" Some people inspire us through action, some through words and thought, others through music, and still others through art; each of these are noble in themselves, but the person to whom I would like to pay tribute has influenced me through all these mediums. Daily through her actions, her encouragement, her perseverance and her constant cheerfulness she taught me and other students what it means to live a life worth living. She showed us what it really means to live our Faith and to live it well.
In the boarding school to which I went we called the nuns mother. Seems a bit weird at first, but truly you realize that really they are your mothers, for they give to us the life of the intellect just as our biological mothers give to us the life of the body, and a boarding school is just like a family. Mother Gabriel of the Sacred Heart was the Prioress of our school for nine years, as well as its founder. Out of the depths of the Idaho forests she made it possible for a magnificent school and chapel to be raised from the granite mountainside. In 1990 she came to this country with six other nuns and started our school in a small green house with just five boarding students and a few day students. Now, some fifteen years later there are five buildings with row upon row of desks in beautiful classrooms and bedrooms aplenty. They are now bursting at the seams with over 30 boarding students and 200 day students. And what else has she to her name? A girls choir, which has produced two CDs of polyphony, one sacred the other Christmas, and which some say is the most beautiful they have ever heard. But besides this choir being so beautiful, she really gave us something by teaching us music. She gave us love, and desire, she gave us the will to give ourselves completely to something. She taught us unity and discipline, and helped us to understand that " Sacred music is a double prayer," and that " Next to silence, music comes closest to expressing the inexpressible."
All this and more she has given us, and all the while very sick with a heart condition, yet never did I see her complain or be unjustly angry, or just plain grumpy. Always a smile, always a twinkle in her eyes. How, then, can I keep from singing, when, like a mother, through song and her example she has given me the wings to rise above the lamentations of this world?