Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Advent and Christmas music for your time of waiting

Monday, November 25th, 2013

 

insert createspace.inddOf all the music that I recorded, my favorite by far was my Advent/Christmas collection known as Wait with Me: Advent of the Promised Son. Drawing upon the rich scripture tradition of Advent, these songs proclaim the biblical truths from Isaiah and St. Luke. The collection begins with songs of expectation and build to the birth of our Lord on Christmas Day. Unlike my other CDs, this one features earthier arrangements: acoustic guitar, hand percussion instruments, plentiful harmonies. Listen to samples here:

 

Now playing: susanbailey’s station
- Susan Bailey – Wait with Me

I can send you a copy of the CD, Wait with Me so that you can have it to prepare your heart in waiting for Jesus.

Click here to place your order.

Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary available through two print catalogs

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I am pleased to announced that the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary is now available in the print catalogs of The Catholic Company and Leaflet Missal.

This means you do not have to order this booklet and CD online if you would prefer to call an 800 number.

Here is how the Sung Rosary appears in The Catholic Company‘s catalog:

Call 866-522-8465 and order product #5003286
to get your copy of the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary.

Here is how it appears in Leaflet Missal:

Call 1-800-328-9582 and order product #26852
to get your copy of the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary.

If you have ordered the project and have been blessed by it, feel free to leave a review so that others can know about it too. During this special time of year with Lent, Easter, First Communion and Confirmation, the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary makes a great gift.

If you have never heard the Sung Rosary before, here is further information.

“Susan Bailey is a singer, songwriter and author. I first listened to her Sung Rosary about four years ago and I actually felt as if I were being carried away by angels. There is something about Susan’s voice that lifts your spirit to the heavens. I’ve had the good fortune to speak with Susan on a number of occasions and her passion about her faith and her work are palpable. If you purchase nothing else this year to explore the depths of Jesus’ life, this should be it.” Cheryl Dickow, Bezelel Books

In the fall of 2008 after 4 years of work, The Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary was published and released. The beautiful 6″ x 9″ 48-page full color book includes a totally sung rosary on CD. Scripture verses for each Hail Mary, sheet music for the sung prayers, and beautiful icons, paintings and stained glass windows to aid in your meditation are included in the book.

Product details: There is 1 CD which contains a sung, generic form of the rosary, meaning that the mysteries are announced as “The First Mystery,” “The Second Mystery,” etc. This means it can be used with the Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous and Glorious mysteries. When you pray it, you simply insert which mystery it is. The booklet has all four sets of mysteries, each with scripture or prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours (Eastern Catholic version) for each Hail Mary. It takes approximately 50 minutes to sing the entire rosary with this version.

You can listen to samples from the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary by watching videos and listening to the music. Click on the title to see the video or listen to the music. The first 2 videos on the list show the inside of the book and previews the music.

 

Cheryl Dickow, editor of Bezalel Books says
“What Susan offers in her combination CD/Book packet is a “must-have” for every Catholic woman today. The rosary is sung in such a way that you actually feel yourself pulled into the melody; even lackluster singers, such as myself, will find themselves easily singing along. This has already become my favorite rosary CD. And if the beautiful music isn’t enough, the booklet that comes with it is a work of art. Beautiful pictures of stained glass windows and magnificent icons, along with meditative writings will surely bless each reader.

The rosary is a gift we have as Catholics and Susan Bailey’s CD/Book set is sure to please any Catholic woman interested in making the rosary a more integral part of her own daily walk with Christ.”

If you prefer to order the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary online, click here: http://susanbailey.org/purchase-susans-books-and-music/sung-rosary-book-and-cd/

You can also obtain the music through iTunes and Amazon.

To all of you who over the years have so generously supported this project with your prayers and purchases, thank you!

CD Recommendation – new updated collection by Carey Landry

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

If you’re a fan of Carey Landry’s music (“Peace is Flowing Like a River”, “Abba Father”, etc.), I recommend the new collection put out by OCP called “All is Well with My Soul.” Really nice arrangements, peaceful and prayerful. http://www.ocp.org/products/30104938

Thanking my angel – better late than never!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

I have a long commute to and from work which leaves lots of time for prayer and thought. Yesterday I was reminiscing about my high school days, prompted by the discovery that a youth minister I had known back then had passed away. Although raised in the Catholic faith, I started exploring when I was 15 and ended up joining a non-denominational youth group which originated out of Park Street Church in Boston. The youth minister was the Rev. Wayne Anderson (eternally grateful to you, may you rest in peace). I accepted Jesus as my personal savior when I was 16 and enjoyed the companionship and safety of palling around with a large group of like-minded and fun-loving Christian teens. We spent time playing competitive team sports, singing contemporary Christian hymns as lustily as we could, studying the Bible, listening to dynamic teachings about Jesus, and praying for each other.

This youth group was exactly what I needed at that time of my life. It was a safety net and so much more. My own home life was strange to say the least, in fact dysfunctional, yet because I lived in the middle of it, I never really thought much about it. I only knew that I felt very alone and this group took me in. I gained 1 eternal and 2 lifelong friends out of that experience (one of them being my husband of 32 years).

When I entered college, I no longer had access to this group and I keenly missed the fellowship. My faith came upon hard times and I found most of my beliefs being systematically stripped away. Only one thing remained: all through my teen, college and 20-something years, I never stopped attending mass. My husband had a lot to do with that but I also think it was because I had a gut feeling about the Eucharist. As a child I experienced some beautiful times of prayer after receiving the Eucharist (images of a gleaming hardwood floor, cleaned after receiving; also of a rose bush growing in my heart) and in a sub-conscious way, it taught me that Jesus was present in that bread, somehow.

This foundation was very important to my remaining with the Catholic church. My time in that youth group built on that foundation, showing me what it was like to have a personal relationship with our Lord, and  to share that with other believers. After college I wandered around in a spiritual desert for 18 years, but I never lost that hunger and thirst for God.

At 37 I had a conversion experience that brought me home for good. But in reminiscing yesterday, I realized that I had led a charmed life, and I suddenly started thanking my guardian angel for helping to lead me to where I am today.

I have never paid much attention to my poor angel (whom I have dubbed “Celeste”) but lately I find myself thanking her whenever I escape bodily injury from a potential car accident, tripping, falling down the stairs, etc. In thinking about my life’s journey yesterday, I knew at that moment that she had been leading and guiding me.

So, after 55+ plus years, I want to say a public “thank you” to my dear Celeste and I promise, I will pay more attention to you! God has been so good to give you to me.

Do you remember the Guardian Angel Prayer? Let’s see if I do . . .

Angel of God, My Guardian Dear
to whom God’s love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
to light and guard and rule and guide.

Amen.

Yeah, I had to look it up! :-)

Some “murmuring” songs

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

As a follow-up to my last post on the value of murmuring. I thought I would share a couple of songs that I used today for that purpose. Both songs are performed by Steve Angrisano, a Catholic worship leader and youth minister. Each song is done in a repetitive manner so that they are a quick study; they are very easy to sing along with. I find the very act of singing such songs to myself as a way of facilitating prayer and meditation. Most times I do it while driving in to work. Great way to fill up an hour long commute!

The gratifying thing about a song is that it can stick in your head, and you can find yourself murmuring it throughout the day. That way, we can “pray always” as St. Paul reminds us.

Visit this page and you can listen to the MP3 files and purchase them if you like. The songs are “Sweet Redeemer” and “Sacred Silence.”

As I come across more such songs, I will share them with you.

Being with beautiful Godly women in Henniker, NH – half day retreat highlights

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Ann and I had the wonderful privilege of leading a half day retreat for some 65-70 women at St. Theresa’s Parish in Henniker, NH on Saturday, June 11. The theme was Becoming a Beautiful Catholic Women, organized by the Women’s Ministry of St. Theresa’s (and especially Eileen Murray), the day started with a beautiful mass celebrated by a brand new priest (he’s the tall one in the picture)!

We were then entertained by a humorous skit depicting women preparing for the day by making themselves beautiful. The first half showed 2 women frantically getting prepared, putting on make-up, getting dressed, etc. The second half showed 2 women who took time to be with the Lord before getting dressed. You can see some great pictures of the skit, along with other pictures from the retreat, on the slide show at the end of this post.

I then gave the keynote address, using Mary as the model to follow for becoming a beautiful Catholic woman. You can hear the address here, plus some music I played:

 

You can also read my blog posts about this topic.

Ann then led a beautiful scripture-filled prayer service highlighting faith-filled women of the Bible. We all prayed a response after hearing each reading which was read by women attending the retreat. There’s a picture of Ann with the readers in the slide show.

She concluded the morning with a terrific craft project where women made bracelets with beads depicting different pious women of the Bible. It was a wonderful keepsake for each participant to take home, to remember the retreat. In the picture you can see what the bracelet looks like and some of the readings that accompanied it.

Here’s a slide show showing highlights from the retreat, accompanied by “How Beautiful,” sung by Annie Karto and Donna Cori Gibson, from Annie’s “Perfect Sacrifice” CD.

 

Praying in new places, in new ways

Friday, May 13th, 2011

I’ve been a bit quiet on this blog lately but it certainly isn’t because of a lack of anything to say! I just can’t figure out how to put it into words. All I can say is that I feel like I am being transformed inside, bit by bit. I have had wonderful prayer experiences with the Lord and am learning much through my reading, but right now I’m having trouble pulling it all together.

All I can say is that my prayer time has been vibrant of late and I wanted to share with you how and where I pray. These prayer experiences are not typical but are precisely a result of the transformation going on which is helping me to find the Lord in every place imaginable.

Technology definitely plays a role in my prayer time and so does my workout routine. Just to give you some teasers. :-)

Morning Prayer

My morning prayer routine begins at 7:45 every morning with the beeper going off on my iTouch, reminding me to pray for my ministry. Usually I am getting ready for work at this point so I take a moment to pray the Jesus prayer 3 times: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Sometimes I think of specific intentions such as the upcoming retreat presentation I am to give with my partner Ann on June 11 in NH; oftentimes I don’t think of any specific intention, just that the Lord Jesus have mercy on me as I struggle to serve Him.

Each day I set up my iTouch for the long ride in to work (which, by the way, I find to be a real blessing). After downloading the daily readings from the USCCB podcast, I choose music that will first, quiet my mind and heart – songs that I can pray, and then secondly, music that will inspire me to study the Word.

Songs that I use to pray include

The beauty of these songs is that they stay with you throughout the day, effectively facilitating non-stop prayer. These are songs I definitely want playing forever on the radio in my head!

Songs that I use to prepare me to hear the Word of God include

  • “Lectio Divina,” also off of John Michael Talbot‘s Worship and Bow Down album . What’s cool about this song is that it actually teaches you how to pray the scriptures using the technique of Lectio Divina (which is basically reading, praying, meditating and then contemplating the Word of God, usually by focusing on a single verse and speaking it out loud several times)
  • “Breathe,” in this case, sung by Annie Karto from her Perfect Sacrifice album
  • And a new one I tried today, “Come True Light” from Sarah Hart‘s Saint Song album.

These songs prepare my heart and mind to hear the Word and meditate upon it.


After hearing the USCCB podcast, I will then listen to chant to help me focus on the verses from scripture that struck me. The Norbertine Fathers provide wonderful chant music.

Finally I listen to music that will inspire praise. Lately I’ve been listening to Steve Angrisano‘s Live: Songs from the Road album (great to sing along with).

By the time I get into work, my head and heart are full of the Lord. :-)

Prayer Throughout the Day

I use my iTouch plus Google Calendar to help me remember to pray throughout the day. As I have it with me most of the time, it acts like the bells in the monastery, summoning me to prayer. At the moment I have 4 times set up:

  • 7:45 am, to pray for my ministry
  • 10:30 am, to pray for those who are unemployed
  • 12 noon, the Angelus, asking for Mary’s intercession for prayer intentions I keep in a prayer journal
    (on my iTouch, of course!)
  • 3:00 pm, a portion of the Divine Mercy prayer, again remembering prayer intentions

Each time is short as I am at work, but it really helps me to stay focused on the Lord

Night Prayer

This is admittedly the weakest part of my prayer routine. Strangely enough, I find it most difficult to pray at this time, probably because all I want to do is sleep! Sometimes I listen to daily mass on the CatholicTV app (I could listen on TV but the light from the TV keeps me awake!) or I will listen to the Divine Office night prayers on their podcast. A lot of times though I will give in and watch House Hunters on HGTV (that show is very addicting :-) ).

Night prayer is a discipline I will have to work on.

Next time I’ll talk about praying while I work out. Some of the most intense prayer I’ve ever experienced has been on the treadmill

What are your prayer routines?

 

“Loving God . . . Loving Neighbor: A Lenten Transformation” Retreat Wrap-up

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

This past weekend (March 11-13), my partner Ann Wagstaff and I had the privilege of presenting to a group of extraordinary women at the Vita Nova Women’s retreat at the Barbara C. Harris Center in Greenfield, NH. The weekend exceeded our wildest expectations! The spirit of fraternity, affection and fellowship coupled with a real move of the Holy Spirit made it a weekend we all will remember for a long time to come.

Here are pictures from the weekend, and below the pictures, a description of what went on (including one of the talks that you can download).

Prayers for Detachment; time for reconciliation

After settling in on Friday, Ann and I led a prayer to help the women detach from their cares and focus solely on God. Music, prayers, candles and sweet scents lifted hearts to Heaven. Each woman wrote down their cares on a piece of paper – all the papers were put in a bag that was attached to mylar balloons that would lift the bag up to the ceiling!

After the prayer, everyone went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation with 3 wonderful priests, setting the tone for a Spirit-filled weekend.

Prayer

Prayer was a central part of the retreat – the Sung Rosary was done throughout the day using a Power Point presentation with images, scripture and the music of the Sung Rosary. Here’s a sample:

Loving God . . .

On Saturday morning, the presentations began. The theme of the retreat was the Two Great Commandments, based on Mark 12:28-34 – loving God, and loving neighbor.  A strong emphasis was placed upon priorities – how important it is to love God first and allowing that growing relationship to spill over into loving your neighbor. I shared teaching  on why loving God first was so important in my talk on Martha and Mary (read the text of the talk here), and Ann proceeded to share from her life about her struggles to balance between being a Martha and a Mary, and how she is becoming a “contemplative in action.”

I then spoke about how service happens through an outpouring of grace resulting from loving God, and how that grace can equip us for difficult service (in my case, helping to care for my dying mother).

The morning session concluded with an Emmaus walk, where the women, after hearing the scripture about the disciples’ encounter with Jesus at Emmaus, were instructed to take their own individual walk around the grounds as the disciples did, conversing and listening to Jesus.

Time of  Fellowship

Mealtimes at the dining hall were a highpoint as the food was so well prepared, and everyone was so warm and friendly. There was an extraordinary move of the Spirit through all the women which created a wonderful atmosphere of fellowship. It was a taste of Heaven.

Loving Neighbor . . .

The afternoon session focused on loving our neighbor by discovering and developing our natural talents and gifts, and then becoming aware of and praying for the spiritual gifts (based on scripture from 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4) . Ann and I gave a talk tracing our time lines to see what talents and gifts kept appearing throughout our lifetimes as a way of identifying what we do well (I also traced my husband’s interesting time line which led to his vocation as a deacon). I also spoke on what I termed “hidden gifts”  – those things such as being hospitable, being a good listener, or being a good caregiver – talents our society does not value but God does.  Each woman took a written survey to dig deeper into their own gifts and talents, and small group discussion followed sharing what they found out.

The scripture on the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30 set the stage for a talk on the responsibilities we have to use our gifts to serve others. Blessed Mother Teresa was held up as the best modern example of a woman who used her immense gifts to help the poorest of the poor and that her ‘secret’ to her success what that it was all for Jesus. She had a unique talent for seeing Christ in every person she saw. I shared my song about Mother Teresa, “Teach Me to Love” (click here to listen).

Afterwards, the women gathered in small groups where they read sayings from Mother Teresa about service and applied them to their lives. The work they did produced some wonderful ideas – I took pictures of all the work they did so you can see for yourself and perhaps apply them to your life:

A beautiful meditation of the Stations of the Cross (a Power Point presentation with narration) was presented in the evening.

Blessing of the Hands

Sunday morning we were treated to a beautiful mass by Father Benedict of the Franciscans of the Primitive Order out of Lawrence, MA. Afterwards, we gathered back in the gym for our sending forth ceremony known as the Blessing of the Hands. Father blessed the water and the bowl was passed around from woman to woman; each woman dipped a finger in the water and did a sign of the cross in the hand of the woman next to her as a litany was read.  Eventually the litany was opened up and women shared their own blessings. It was a very moving ceremony with many tears shed. The ceremony strongly demonstrated the spirit of love and fellowship that bound together these new friends.

More information on Vita Nova

Ann and I were delighted and honored to have been a part of this event. The Vita Nova team (all volunteer), led by Rose Marie Cussom and Shannon Best were extraordinary in their efforts; their support made it possible for Ann and I to focus solely on the content and presentation of the material. I can’t rave about the team enough! Vita Nova is holding other events – be sure and check out their website for more information.

Sung Rosary named as #1 Rosary Product

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I am pleased and excited to announce that the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary has been named the #1 Rosary Product by Cheryl Dickow of Bezalel Books, posted on Catholic.net, the Catholic Exchange and Integrated Catholic Life. It is also being posted the Catholic News Agency.

Here is a direct link to the article:

http://catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=6121&grupo=InfoResources&canal=BookClub

Thanks be to God for this extra exposure!

A tribute to our confirmation students and the retreat team at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Rich and I came home from the second of two retreat weekends for our confirmation students only a few hours ago. These weekends are so packed, so intense, and it just wears us both out both physically and emotionally. I feel poured out as I’m sure he does too. But we both agree it is one of the most rewarding things that we do for our faith.

The first weekend was back at the beginning of January. It was the first time for me and the whole experience just blew me away. I couldn’t even write about it even though I wanted to. There was just too much to sift through. This time around, I feel very raw emotionally.  A few moments ago I lay on my bed petting my cat having just finished a conversation with our grown son about how extraordinary the retreat was and how I wished he could have seen it. A life of faith committed to the church is still not for him which is his prerogative right now, but after he left the room, all I could do was lie on my bed and weep. At first it was for him but it quickly included everyone who cannot yet see. A wave of nausea swept over me as the tears ran down and I thought of everyone who is blinded by the lies of this world to the truth of God.

I know that God has laid on my heart this burden of praying for conversion, it is something very dear to me. I pray for my children constantly every day, and other family members pretty regularly. But today I felt that burden spread to include everyone, especially young people, and I want to commit myself to praying for them as I pray for my own children.

And why is this? Because I have been a witness to radical faith. Although I’ve read the scriptures over the years and have see it in luminaries such as Mother Teresa, the truth really came home to me through the people I know and love in my home parish, St. Luke the Evangelist in Westborough, MA. In a time when all you hear about is what the Catholic Church is doing wrong, I want to announce to the world that here at St. Luke’s it is being done right.

Our parish knows how to develop the talents of its people. We don’t hire professionals to come in to run our retreats; we instead call upon volunteers in our parish to give the talks, run the small groups, conduct prayer services, do the ice breakers, provide the live music and listen to the young people. Some people have been on this retreat team for over 10 years, giving up 2 weekends every January to help our confirmation students meet God in a powerful and authentic way. Besides the older adults which populate the team, St. Luke’s also has the wisdom to bring in peers from nearby Assumption College to assist in the same way.  These students are deeply committed to their faith and give such a powerful witness of how it is indeed possible to be a young person in today’s society and also be a follower of Jesus.

There were many talks given over the weekend, all powerful mainly in their raw honesty and authenticity. People shared deeply from their lives, often telling stories of great courage in navigating the often messy and stormy nature of everyday living by remaining close to Christ. There were no pat answers here, no “just follow Jesus and your life will be happy and carefree every day.” Our Lord never promised that life would be easier by having faith; in fact He pointed out that often it would be a lot harder. How could we have it easy when He carried His cross for us and died on it to reunite us with the Father? What He did promise is that He would always be beside us. There is no getting away from enduring suffering in order to get to the better place on the other side, whether it be here on earth, or in heaven, but our advantage as believers is to have our eternal Friend by our side, gently guiding us.

Each member of the team demonstrated a faith that is living, vibrant and totally integrated into every fiber of their being. Both adult and student members shared deeply from their hearts, allowing the confirmation students to see them as they really are – flawed, sometimes weak, wounded but full of faith, love and deep joy in knowing Jesus Christ.

As I am still new to the team, I mostly observed though I did provide some music and helped with a prayer service. But the message is coming through loud and clear to me what God is calling me to, and that is a radical living of my own faith. I could feel Him gently pointing out to me how I micromanage the Holy Spirit in my life. He did that by showing me how much I obsessed over the weekend over having everything just so – rearranging the furniture in my room so that it would most resemble my bedroom at home, constantly clinging to my bag that I kept with me which contained my glasses, iTouch, moisturizer for my lips, water bottle, instant coffee and throat lozenges . . . heaven forbid I should not have everything I need for my instant comfort! I obsessed too over having the time to warm up my singing voice so I could provide good quality singing – heaven forbid I should hit a wrong note! In all these things, I could see that I was not willing to give myself over totally to Jesus and trust in His care. If I was obsessing over such small and meaningless stuff, how could I possibly be truly open to what He wanted to do through me? I really got the message loud and clear that I need to let go a whole lot more and stop trying to micromanage the Spirit. As a team, we were asking these kids to let go of their cares and openly trust in the Spirit. I even did a prayer service where I asked the kids to imagine a kitchen table loaded with stuff, and then taking their arm and gently sweeping everything off the table. I was telling them to try it but was unwilling or unable to try it myself.

Now my heart burns with desire to be like so many of the team members who live their faith so radically. How fortunate I am to be surrounded by such extraordinary people, such wonderful examples of true discipleship. And it starts from the top down, beginning with our pastor whose whole life is one constant prayer, to the youth minister who loves so unconditionally, constantly pouring herself out, to my husband who has dedicated his life in service to the Church as a deacon.

I salute every extraordinary member of the St. Luke’s confirmation retreat team, and the wonderful students of Assumption College. I have received such powerful examples of what it means to be a radical follower of Jesus, and I want to follow right after you.

And what of the young people who were on retreat with us? I observed how open they were to receiving the message. They listened attentively, worked hard, and bonded with each other in the course of the 2-1/2 days. They gave up their weekend, leaving behind their worries about school, their boyfriends or girlfriends, their peers, even their cell phones. These kids were willing to listen and to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. They are now part of my heart and I want to hold them close and pray for them that the seeds planted this weekend will grow. The battle began for them the minute they left with retreat center with so many pressures pressing on them from family, peers, school, and society. I want to commit myself to praying for them constantly as I do for my own children.

I hope that by making this public confession that I can live out my commitment to pray for them and to follow the example of my own peers at St. Luke’s, living more radically for Jesus. I hope I can learn to step aside and let the Spirit truly lead. Lord Jesus, with Your help and Your grace, may each succeeding day be a footstep closer to that goal.