St. Francis Inspired Music – Streaming Concert for Peace, Reflection and Discernment

by Sister Julie Ann on October 1, 2016

In this month of St. Francis’ Feast, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature The Rose Ensemble’s Il Poverello Medieval Music for Saint Francis of Assisi.

During the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, the social, economic, and political climates of the North Italian city-states in Umbria and Tuscany were undergoing profound shifts. The explosion of trade in Florence and Assisi led to the growth of an entirely new social class and the emergence of a new set of social values. At this time, penitential religious fervor in Christian Italy was at an all-time high. Sacred poetry set to popular tunes became a perfect vehicle for an accessible and powerful religious message, and thus was born a genre of non-liturgical religious song called laude spirituali. Singing, the writing of religious lyric poetry, and the composition of new songs became significant as devotional vehicles and instrumental in the eventual dissemination of a multitude of songs known as laude.saint-francis-from-all-saints-parish-berlin-wi

A beautiful example of these monophonic laude is “Sia Laudato San Francesco,” which focuses on the Saint’s holiness and miracles. This anonymous work from the 13th-century features the women of The Rose Ensemble accompanied by Ginna Watson on vielle and Isacco Colombo on recorder.

This piece comes from The Rose Ensemble’s commercial recording Il Poverello: Medieval & Renaissance Music for Saint Francis of Assisi, which is available for purchase at, iTunes, and Amazon.


Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Jordan Sramek, The Rose Ensemble has achieved an international reputation as a premiere American early music ensemble. Each performance illuminates centuries of rarely heard repertoire, bringing to modern audiences research from the world’s manuscript libraries and fresh perspectives on history, culture, politics and spirituality from around the globe. With ten critically acclaimed recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, the group has thrilled audiences across the United States and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and over 25 languages.franciscan-sisters-feature-rose-ensemble_full_20154830_duo-2

The Rose Ensemble is the recipient of the 2005 Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, and first prize winner in both sacred and secular music categories at the 2012 Tolosa Choral Contest in Spain (part of the European Choral Grand Prix). The group’s concerts and recordings have been called “first class” (Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung), “impassioned and brightly alive” (Choral Journal) and “engaging … satisfying” (Gramophone). Founder Jordan Sramek received the 2010 Louis Botto Award from Chorus America “for entrepreneurial zeal.”franciscan-sisters-feature-rose-ensemble-director-jordan-sramek-2

The Rose Ensemble’s recent performance highlights include appearances at Early Music Now (Milwaukee, WI), the University of Vermont Lane Series (Burlington, VT), California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, CA), Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), St. Quirinus Cathedral (Neuss, Germany), and the Misiones de Chiquitos Choral Festival (Bolivia). In 2014, The Rose Ensemble made their debut appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra in a special holiday program.

The Rose Ensemble can be heard regularly on American Public Media and the European Broadcasting Union (most notably with annual Christmas broadcasts) and has recently featured in special live broadcasts on Iowa Public and Vermont Public Radio.

Enjoy the additional music of these artists: Sancte Francisce Propera by Padre Constanzo Porta, OFM (1529?-1601) and Beatus Franciscus by Jeronimo de Alliseda (1548-1591)

For more program notes on the album, click here: poverellobooklet-final


The St. Francis window can be seen at All Saints Parish in Berlin, WI

35 thoughts on “St. Francis Inspired Music – Streaming Concert for Peace, Reflection and Discernment”

  1. Sister Myra Jean says:

    The melody of the first song refrain is beautiful and it stayed with me even after the music was off. The violin at the beginning is haunting and I like the singular voice that joins the violin. The refrain is repeated over and again by a group with more voices and instruments added as it goes, inviting me to join in because I know the melody now. The recorder at the middle is beautiful as well which puts the melody of the refrain more in my ear. It then stays with me after I turn off the music. It is similar to a responsorial psalm that sticks with you even after Mass is over.

  2. Sister Kathleen says:

    The sounds of the medieval age are a thing of beauty. I particularly loved the Beatus Franciscus. As I listened, the word purity kept coming to mind. The sound is unadorned with instruments or frilly melody. Such purity also speaks to me of the life and spirit of Francis. He didn’t need to be surrounded by tapestry and oil paintings, but rather longed for the pure beauties of God’s handiwork in creation. He didn’t need to read all the learned theology treatises of his time, but rather studied the pure love encountered in the cross. He didn’t propose a complicated way of life, but rather longed that the Order would simply be simple…pure in their love and service of Jesus. The soaring purity of voices in this music truly lead me to ponder what is at the core of beauty, at the heart of faith and to dwell there with Francis.

  3. Sister Theresa says:

    As I listened to this music from the time of Francis, it struck me that music, which was so important to St. Francis and to his time, continues to be an important part of our community traditions, prayer, liturgy and celebrations. Music has a special way of lifting our minds and hearts to the Lord that moves us beyond the words and melody into the presence of the God who dwells within us.

  4. Sr. Delores says:

    The music is healing and comforting. I was at a hospital yesterday visiting someone in need, so I thank God for the gift of this music. The beauty of it is great. God is with us…

  5. Sister Carla says:

    This music is very reflective and soothing to the spirit. It made me imagine the birds who loved St. Francis and serenaded him. I also had the image of angels comforting those who are suffering. Thank you.

  6. annemarielom says:

    I listened to the music while I worked at my desk and am grateful for its very soothing and regular melody. Thank you for sharing this period music with us!

  7. Sister Winifred says:

    The Rose Ensemble is so authentic in medieval research on songs and instruments. Beautifully presented.

  8. V.A. says:

    The violin or strings instrument(s) of the song is what touches my heart. This is because I play the violin. I can connect to the feeling that playing the violin can give to a person. Also listening to the sound of the strings comforts me.

  9. Patricia says:

    The tone of the song is really peaceful and calming. The echoing of her viola puts me in a place of relaxation and helps me to focus.

  10. E.C. says:

    The melody and softness of the song soothes me and puts me at ease with all of the stress. I really enjoyed this.

  11. M.C. says:

    Allows me to reflect on what I need to. Peaceful.

  12. Abby says:

    My favorite part of this song is the singing, because it’s very calming and it puts you in the time and place that they were in when this song was composed. It helps you imagine where they are.

  13. Arnoldo says:

    This song brought me peace, because it made me think of nature and that is where I find God.

  14. D.S. says:

    The melody and depth heard is felt from deep within. Many people going through hardships could definitely connect with this laude as it speaks of holiness and miracles.

  15. Daney says:

    Music helps open our minds to miracles and helps us strengthen our faith in God as a reminder that he is our almighty Father, our merciful caretaker, for through him anything is possible.

  16. J.T. says:

    The melody is really cool. You feel as if you were in a place where the peace and love of Saint Francis is present.

  17. S.S. says:

    The phrase the touches my heart is “laudato San Francisco” because when I was in the 4th grade we prayed to him for my brother’s health, so he could be healed and back home as soon as possible.

  18. A.V. says:

    It is to be heard.I liked the melody. It touches my heart.

  19. Reina says:

    I thought it was cool how the title reminded me of Laudato Si (the encyclical) and makes the connection between St. Francis and Pope Francis.

  20. R. says:

    I close my eyes and imagine that I am in a beautiful European Cathedral where the presence of God is so powerful and gorgeously obvious.

  21. I.M. says:

    When I hear this melody I am reminded of the beauty of my aunt’s chapel. I picture angels and stain glass images. It makes me want to sit and admire the beauty of the church.

  22. D.M. says:

    Although I can’t sing nor play an instrument, I’d like to praise God in such a beautiful way.

  23. J.G. says:

    The emotion and softness in this song touches my heart as its just so beautiful. It feels so raw and from their heart. Their voices are amazing.

  24. Yamil says:

    When listening to this music, I sometimes forget about the outside world and I connect with myself and God on a different level. By becoming less aware of other things, I become more aware on a personal level.

  25. A.C. says:

    It is very powerful. It does touch my heart.

  26. L.G.. says:

    The music inspires me to pray more and listen more to God’s message.

  27. Fernando says:

    The message is peace and prosperity. The tone and rhythm help one concentrate better at the same time it could get one thinking about one’s purpose in life.

  28. E.D. says:

    The singing is very beautiful and brings about a certain feeling of serenity, tranquility and peace.

  29. Loreno. says:

    The music inspires me to share God’s praise and to take time to reflect on my relationship with him.

  30. D.N. says:

    The lady’s voice is very nice The tune makes you attentive to what she’s saying.

  31. E.M. says:

    Letting God in your heart and letting his glory show. Allowing yourself to become filled with peace.

  32. Oscar says:

    This song is peaceful and helped calm me. This peace helps remind me that no matter what we go through in life, God is there to support. The usual things we worry about are often times trivial, and it is important to make the best of them and move on.

  33. G.C. says:

    We need to find peace within ourselves and God in times of need.

  34. A.G. says:

    This touches my heart in the way that the high pitches remind me of angels singing which then makes me invision the moment perhaps when entering God’s Kingdom.

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