“The dearest spot in Phoenix,
Here in the Golden West,
Is our old dear St. Mary’s.
The school we love the best.
Hurrah for St. Mary’s,
The school we love the best,
(repeat these two lines.)
We are proud of our schools
And our unbroken rules,
Obedience to God and our country.
Since this nation took birth
Catholic schools have proved their worth,
Always first in American teaching.”
My informant reports that this song was customarily sung in his school when he grew up. Somewhat cynical about his Catholic upbringing, he postulates that Catholic schools invented songs such as this one in order “to justify their existence.”
This song seems intended to foster school spirit and strengthen the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, however, the song also intertwines Catholic and American identities to fashion a new, Catholic-American identity; it teaches children that they should be proud both to be Catholic and to be American. In this way, the song is both religious and patriotic. Children are taught to be obedient both “to God and our country,” although it should be noted that the song places obedience to God before obedience to the United States.