December 30, 2012

I Am the Bread of Life

He Who Comes to Me Shall Not Hunger

I Am the Bread of Life, first published in 1970, was written by Sr. Suzanne Toolan, RSM (b.1927). A Religious Sisters of Mercy, Sr. Toolan wrote the well known hymn in 1966 for an upcoming event in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. She related in a recent interview with the National Catholic Reporter how she had been working on the piece in an unoccupied room of a girls school. Frustrated with the results, she had thrown the working copy in the garbage. But a when a 6 year old student came in asking what that beautiful music was that she had overheard, Sr Toolan retrieved the song from the trash and continued working. It has gone on to become one of the most widely known, and enduring Catholic hymns of the Vatican II era. Though admitting, it can be a challenge for congregational singing, Sr. Toolan attributes the song's popularity to the strong scriptural nature of the lyrics, drawn mainly from the 'Bread of Life Discourse' of John 6. In the Liturgy of the Hours, I Am the Bread of Life is used with the Office for the Dead and at Easter.

Singing starts at the 1:15 mark.

Original Recording from 1970

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