"He who sings prays twice.”
There is an ancient saying in the Church, frequently attributed to St. Augustine, that says, “He who sings prays twice.” It calls to mind the role of song in Christian worship and how our soul is positively affected by the beauty of music.
Throughout the centuries countless saints have held on to that belief, many of whom were talented musicians. Here are five such examples of holy men and women who were lifted up by music to the heights of sanctity.
Blessed Maria Dina Bélanger
Born in Canada in 1897, Bélanger was a gifted young girl and her musical talents were noticed by many. This prompted her parents to send her to New York to study at the Institute of Musical Art (now known as the Juilliard School). Later on she joined a religious order and taught music teachers, while composing her own music based on private mystical experiences.
Blessed Francisco Bandrés Sánchez
One of the countless martyrs of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Sánchez was a Salesian priest who was also a musician and music director.
Blessed Giovanni Giovenale Ancina
Born in 1545, Ancina was a very talented man who was both a musician and doctor before joining St. Philip Neri in his new religious order. After becoming a priest, he remained devoted to his music and composed many hymns for the community.
St. Nicetas of Remesiana
Living in the fourth century, Nicetas was a composer of many Latin hymns for use during the liturgy. Some scholars believe he was the original composer of the traditional Te Deum hymn.
St. Romanus the Melodist
Sometimes called the “Hymnographer,” Romanus lived during the sixth century and is the composer of many hymns still used in Byzantine liturgies. He was not a natural musician, but received this gift as a divine grace through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Hildegard of Bingen: A mystic and musician ahead of her time
Louis Braille: The blind Catholic musician who invented touch-reading