More than 60 sisters serving in eight countries. Administrative center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Nearly sisters serving in twenty states and two countries. Administrative center in Merion, Pennsylvania.
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More than 60 sisters serving in eight countries. Administrative center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Nearly sisters serving in twenty states and two countries. Administrative center in Merion, Pennsylvania. More than sisters serving in two states and the Philippines. Administrative center in Buffalo, New York. More than sisters serving in 18 states and Jamaica. Administrative center in Belmont, North Carolina. Roughly sisters serving in 16 states and one country. Administrative center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Read the whole series here. Sister Suzanne Toolan. Credit: Michael Collopy. I was teaching high school at the time and wrote the song during my free period. It was beautiful! It has had a life of its own ever since. There were many purple ditto copies going around. Not everyone liked the hymn. Its tessitura is too low. I have a copy of it in a Slavic language, in Korean and Spanish, but it has been sung in so many other languages.
It is included in hymnals of other Christian faith traditions. I remember being introduced to a woman who was Episcopalian. I could never figure out how the hymn became popular. But I also think its popularity stems from its message of resurrection, which is so strong in these words of Jesus. We so need that message of hope. I am always touched when people tell me that at the funeral of a mother, father or friend, these sung words of Jesus gave them consolation.
Then I know the hymn has done its work. Thank you, young freshman way back in ! Your email address will not be published. Yes, add me to your mailing list. I live on Long Island, New York. Way back in I traveled to California with some friends.
We attended Easter Mass at St. We all loved it and found ourselves singing it in the car afterwards. It was several years before we began to hear this beautiful hymn back in New York.
After all these years, I still think of the first time I heard it! I am also glad that your student was listening! Sister Suzanne is a dear friend and a wonderful example of Mercy. Whenever we sing her hymn at Mass, I am reminded of her and how much I miss seeing her.
She has given much to the world in her work, it is inspired and becomes inspiration that brings us closer to our Lord and Savior. I love this song during the joy of Communion. We sang it in three parts and the harmonies were stunning.
My path took me to become a wife, mother, teacher, and music minister. I still enjoy using this lovely hymn whenever I can. Thank you, Sister Suzanne! Sister Suzanne, your music is the score for my deepest prayers and the soundtrack for my youth- I confess to have bragged about our association a few times.
Blessings for joy! You have certainly given it to me! Thank you so much for writing this hymn. I really appreciate the juxtaposition of John chapters 6 and This is how God uses his people. Sister You and the girl that saw the song in the trashcan. It was providence, that you were at the right time at the right place, before the can was emptied… and that the student said something to you.
I am a soprano in a small choir in a rural Catholic Parish. I just wanted to tell you how much I love this beautiful hymn! I have been singing it for many years, both from the pew and from the choir. I am so very glad that you pulled it back out of that wastepaper basket! Thank you for sharing the story with us May God bless you abundantly!
A beautiful song. This is a beautiful song and I always think of her when I hear it. This is certainly one of the greatest Catholic hymns ever written! The story of how this came about is quite remarkable — God even works through the trash! So yes even though it requires more than the average vocal range to sing it most people do anyway! God bless you sister!
Those were fine days, Sister Suzanne, and that your music has touched so many is no surprise to me! When I first sang this song I agreed with the liturgists about its meter and tessitura my Daughter explained and demonstrated its to me. But then, I noticed the Tune stayed in my head, and the Words snugged themselves into my Heart.
It became a Favorite in spite of itself — and my rigid, snobbish preconceptions about Music! I can be almost sure that one of the reasons your song became so popular is that this song was and is sung in thousands of Charismatic Prayer Groups all over the world in these past 40 years. The song was so worshipful that it was sung all the time. It also made an easy transition from prayer groups into the liturgy where very few songs were able to make that transition just because of the nature of how people worshiped.
Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit and the young girl who found it so beautiful. It truly is a staple in Christian Worship. One of my very favorites! I sang it as a Catholic, and now as a member of an Episcopalian congregation, continue to enjoy singing it at a choir member! It has been song at family funerals and weddings.
I cannot thank Sister Suzanne enough for the gift of grace we have all received through her song. I am so thrilled that the director of music and liturgy at my church The Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Canton, Ohio shared this on Facebook!
Suzanne, you are my third cousin. My father, William F. Schwartz was your second cousin. He was born in Michigan and his parents were Leo and Viola Schwartz. We sing it frequently at my church, and it remains a strong connection to her for me.
They will be thrilled Thank you! Dear Sister Susanne, Each time I sing I still see you before me helping me to reach that high or get on key to that low note.
Because of what you taught me back in and I have fond memories of music, playing piano and guitar by ear with your constant encouragement. Your warm smile helped me tremendously! Your giufts have touched the entire world! Love you! This song has special meaning for me. Yes, a source of comfort! Thank you! The Freshman girl in this story, is my mother, Virginia Leyes. She told me the story the same way. What an interesting turn of events! How I came to meet Sister Suzanne is a wonderful story, but much too long to tell it here.
Let me skip to the day I met her. After our introductory contacts through the mail, I had come to Mercy Center for a meeting with Sister Suzanne and Sister Marguerite Buchanan to determine if I was suitable to be included in the month of July retreat in the Art of Spiritual Direction, as it was in
BREAD OF LIFE (Toolan)
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I Am the Bread of Life
Suzanne Toolan, RSM
The Story of “I Am the Bread of Life”