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Hymn of the week: “O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing”

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A 15th-century hymn for the Octave of Easter, which is Divine Mercy Sunday.

There’s nothing like a hymn written in a minor key. The striking clash of praising words against mournful tones easily catches the ear and often stay there throughout the day. This is one of our favorite hymns, traditionally sung on the Octave of Easter, which is now Divine Mercy Sunday.

“O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing” is a 15th-century hymn penned by the French Franciscan, Jean Tisserand. Unlike many hymn writers, Tisserand was only responsible for a few songs. The rest of his time was spent founding an order for penitent women called Filles-Repenties (Daughters-Repentants), later called the Penitents of Saint Magloire, a refuge for the rehabilitation of prostitutes.

The tune, called GELOBT SEI GOTT, was written in the 16th century by German composer, Melchior Vulpius, specifically for the hymn “Praise God in the highest throne.” “O Sons and Daughters” was later set to this melody by translator J. M. Neale in 1851. It is a narrative Easter carol that references the Gospels and follows from the resurrection to the doubting Thomas story from John 20:19-29.

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