What do a former police detective, a tae kwon do instructor, and a research scientist have in common? They left all to give themselves entirely to Christ… and you might just see them on stage as one of Spokane’s Singing Nuns. Whether a Sister is singing in choir, sweeping the convent kitchen, or tying a child’s shoe, the sparkle in her eyes tells of a great wealth of inner happiness.
What is the secret of this radiant peace, this “something” which makes the Sister special, different from others? It is the great motivating force behind her life — it is the call of Christ. It is love. You do not live until you love. And you do not love until you give your heart away. And the nun has given her heart, her all, to Christ and lives as He did — “going about doing good.”
The Sisters of Mary Immaculate Queen have come from all parts of the country (with a few from beyond our borders!) to dedicate their time and talents to the service of God and neighbor. They engage in an active apostolate of spreading the Catholic Faith, through teaching as well as through publications and other media. Besides staffing their K-12 Catholic academy, they also maintain a print shop, a religious gift shop and mail order center, and several parish schools throughout the country.
The Sisters’ motherhouse is in north Spokane, in the east wing of a large facility that was originally built in 1915 as a Jesuit scholasticate. Besides the convent, Mount St. Michael also houses the K-12 academy, parish church, meeting halls, guest rooms, print shop, mail order house and book store. Thus the Mount continues to this day to fulfill the purpose for which it was originally built: as an institution of Catholic education.
Last year, Mount St. Michael’s celebrated its centennial by hosting a variety of events. In November, with already so much to be thankful for, the Sisters were surprised and blessed when Mark Peterson & the KXLY Extreme Team volunteered to renovate the commercial kitchen, used primarily for the academy’s school lunch program. A few days before Thanksgiving, several local business and many volunteers came together to clean, paint, repair the electrical system, install new lighting, new ovens, new work stations, and a whole host of other improvements. To top it off, The Sisters were treated to a Thanksgiving dinner prepared by chef LJ Klink! As a finale to the centennial celebrations, the Sisters decided to host their annual Christmas concert at this historical site. With positive feedback from the concert attendees, they have decided to host all their future Christmas concerts at home.
The Sisters’ main means of support comes from donations and the small stipend earned for teaching at St. Michael’s Academy. Despite a simple life and vigilance to keep costs to a minimum, this is by no means sufficient. “The Singing Nuns” is one of the ways the Sisters bring in additional support to help maintain the convent. Yet it is a work that has truly become a mission as well, for music has a wonderful power of uplifting and consoling the human heart; it is indeed another way of leading souls to God. It is not unusual for the Sisters to see tear-filled eyes as they look out into the audience. At their summer luncheon concert, several of the Sisters were visibly moved when the crowd spontaneously stood with hands over their hearts as “God bless America” was begun. Each Christmas, with the assistance of sponsorships from several local businesses, the Sisters are able to share this same gift of music with some of the underprivileged in our community.
In addition to this year’s concerts, the Singing Nuns will be bringing some Christmas cheer to several local nursing homes and retirement centers.
“As long as you did it for one of these, the least of My brethren, you did it for Me.” — Matt. 25:40