Folk Beliefs
Folk speech
Musical

Prayers (Grace) at a Catholic Retreat Center

Main Piece

“We do a lot of singing because it’s like…centered a lot around kids, preteens, mostly that and younger. When we do graces before meals, we have them to the tune of things, like spongebob and we will rock you and stuff. The Edelweiss one is traditionally the for first meal of the retreat and the last meal of the retreat and they’ve been doing it for so long, little kids know it but also much much older people [know it].”

The following is the grace, which is sung to the tune of Edelweiss from the film The Sound of Music:

“Bless our homes, bless our friends, come o lord and sit with us, make our hearts, grow in peace, bring your love to surround us, friendship and peace may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever, bless our homes, bless our friends, bless our families together”

Background

Informant

Nationality: American

Location: Long Island, New York

Language: English

The following is a quote from the informant, which I believe demonstrates her feelings about the grace and the general experience at the camp.

“[When you hear the grace] You know you’re there, and you’re around people who are so loving and so warm…no responsibilities except to care about yourself and your family, but you know it’s sad because you’re about to leave.”

The informant, upon singing the grace to me, began reminiscing about her time at the retreat center. She certainly looked upon it fondly. On the importance of the grace to the retreat center:

“It’s on one of the walls in the dining hall, one copy written in sharpie and another really old cross stitch…hand stitched on a thing. The other graces are on signs but that one’s [the Edelweiss grace] obviously a permanent installment.”

Context

The grace is sung at a Catholic family retreat center in Kate May, New Jersey, which the informant attended once per year. However, someone else in the room during my interview with the informant actually knew the song, despite not having attended the same retreat center.

Notes

The influence of secular media on religious life is not really something I had previously considered, but such an influence is clearly possible and relevant. Some of the young children who learn the grace might not ever have seen The Sound of Music and yet they will learn a song from it, albeit with different lyrics. For comparison, I know there is a grace called “The Superman Grace,” which is also an example of of secular media influencing religious life.

 

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