March 29, 2013

Mother of Christ, Hear Thou Thy People's Cry / Alma Redemptoris Mater

Gate of Heaven

Mother of Christ, Hear Thou Thy People's Cry is a translation by of the 11th century Latin hymn, Alma Redemptoris Mater composed by the Benedictine Abbot, St. Hermann Contractus of Reichenau (1013-1054). Crippled from birth and suffering from a paralytic condition, at the age of 7 he was placed in the care of the Benedictine monks on the Monastic Island of Reichenau. The Abbey was a center of arts and learning at the time. There he excelled, becoming an expert scholar, composer, music theorist, mathematician, and astronomer. Alma Redemptoris Mater was traditionally sung after Compline in the Roman Breviary and used from the First Sunday of Advent to the Feast of Purification (Feb. 2). In 1849 it was translated into English as Mother of Christ, Hear Thou Thy People's Cry by Fr. Edward Caswall and included in his collection, the Lyra Catholica.

MOTHER OF CHRIST, HEAR THOU THY PEOPLE'S CRY by Edward Caswall, 1849 (Public Domain)

Mother of Christ, hear thou thy people's cry
Star of the deep and Portal of the sky!
Mother of Him who thee made from nothing made.
Sinking we strive and call to thee for aid:
Oh, by what joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.

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