Guest Article: Musicians, Singers, and Composers Among the Saints

Posted June 26, 2017 8:48 pm by Peter Kwasniewski

Guest Article: Musicians, Singers, and Composers Among the Saints
I am happy to publish today a delightful table, with introduction, that was submitted to NLM by Isaac Olson, “a young Catholic, professional classical musician, and devotee of hagiography.” Mr. Olson’s goal was to compile a list of saints who were musicians in one sense or another. He writes that this list is not necessarily complete: there are, for instance, a Bl. Paula (buried in San Carlo ai Catinari in Rome) who played violin, and Marie-Anqelique of Jesus, OCD (Pontoise, France), who played the piano and violin and was a cousin of Mendelssohn by her grandmother. It may be that readers would like to add any names that are missing from the table. Thank you, Mr. Olson, for sharing this with NLM.

Musicians, Singers, and Composers Among the Saints

by Isaac Olson

Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) noted that “it belongs to the essence of human beings that they come from God’s ‘art,’ that they themselves are a part of God’s art and as perceivers can think and view God’s creative ideas with him and translate them into the visible and the audible.”

From the rich, Catholic theological understanding of God and art has grown a keen interest in the interrelatedness of my own line of work – as a classical and studio musician – and the work of God – holiness. Hence, I have recently compiled an initial list of Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, and Servants of God who were musically gifted. This includes instrumentalists, singers, composers, hymnographers, music teachers, choir directors, and more.

The topics of saints and music are mutually complementary, in that they each reveal “the beauty that is already waiting and concealed in creation”. I treasure how the form of created beauty takes its shape or matter in the lives of those who correspond to God’s diffusive love through their gifts to our rich heritage of music. Would that all musicians might join their intentions with that of the musical Servant of God, Rosa Giovannetti, who responded to the applause of men with the heartfelt cry, “It is all for Jesus! The cello, the concerts? I use this gift for You only, to sing your praises and to praise You. Not to me the honors, but to You, the author of all grace.”

Note on the chart below: the term “musician” is applied as a general term to those saints whose specific musical accomplishments are unknown at this time of research. The term “composer”, as a general term, encompasses the classification of hymn-writers.

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Name Lifetime Contribution
Aldhelm of Sherborne, St. 640-709 harpist, fiddler, bagpiper, vocalist
Alphonsus de Liguori, St. 1696-1787 composer, harpsichordist
Amalia Streitel, Ven. 1844 – 1911 music teacher
Ambrose of Milan, St. 338-397 composer
Anatolios, St. 4th century composer
Andrew of Crete, St. 650-740 composer
Anne Catherine Emmerich, Bl. 1774-1824 organist
Bede the Venerable, St. 672-735 music teacher
Benignus of Armagh, St. 5th century vocalist, music arranger
Benildus (Pierre Romancon), St. 1805-1862 concertina/accordionist
Benno (Benedict) of Meissen, St. 1010-1106 musician
Caradoc of Wales, St. 11th century harpist
Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez Santiago, Bl. 1918-1963 pianist, organist, choral director
Catherine of Bologna, St. 1413-1463 musician
Charles Samuel Mazzuchelli, Ven. (aka Matthew Kelly) 1806-1864 musician
Colman of Cloyne, St. 530-600 musician
Columba of Iona, St. 521-597 composer
Dunstan of Canterbury, St. 909-988 composer, harpist
Edward Kazmierski, Bl. 1919-1942 vocalist, composer
Edward Poppe, Bl. 1890-1924 violinist
Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. 1880-1906 pianist
Ephrem the Syrian, St. 306-373 composer
Eugenius of Toledo, St. 7th century musician
Felix Echevarria Gorostiaga, Bl. 1893-1936 organist, choral director
Francis Solano, St. 1549-1610 violinist (lute)
Francisco Bandres Sanchez, Bl. 1896-1936 musician
Fulk of Toulouse, Bl. (known as the Minstrel Bishop) 1155-1231 minstrel
Fulton J. Sheen, Ven. Archbishop 1895-1979 organist
Gertrude the Great, St. 1256-1302 vocalist
Giovanni (Giovenale) Ancina, Bl. 1545-1604 musician, composer, music editor
Godric of Finchale, St. 1069-1170 composer (via miraculous visions)
Gregory the Great, St. Pope 540-604 collected melodies and plain chant
Grimbald, St. 9th century musician
Henry Garnet, St. 1555-1606 vocalist, lutist
Herman of Reichenau, Bl. 1013-1054 composer
Hermann Cohen, Ven. 1821-1871 pianist
Herve, St. 6th century vocalist, minstrel
Hildegard of Bingen, St. 1098-1179 composer
Hugh of Lincoln, St. 1140-1200 vocalist
Jarogniew Wojciechowski, Bl. 1922-1942 pianist
Jesus Mendez-Montoya, St. 1880-1928 musician, music teacher
John Damascene, St. 676-749 composer
John Koukouzelis, St. 1280-1360 musician
José Luciano Ezequiel Huerta Gutiérrez, Bl. 1876-1927 vocalist, organist
Jose Tapies y Sirvant, Bl. 1869-1936 organist
Joseph the Hymnographer, St. 810-886 composer
Leo II, St. Pope 7th century vocalist, musician
Louis de Montfort, St. 1673-1716 composer (used popular bar tunes)
Maria Climent Mateu, Bl. 1887-1936 vocalist, musician
Maria Crucified Satellico, Bl. 1706-1745 musician, vocalist, organist
Maria Orsola Bussone, Ven. 1954-1970 guitarist, vocalist
Maria Romero Meneses, Bl. 1902-1977 pianist, violinist
Marie-Elisabeth Pelissier, Bl. 1741-1794 vocalist, musician
Mechtilde of Hackeborn, St. 1241-1298 vocalist
Newman, Bl. Cardinal 1801-1890 violinist, composer
Nicetas of Remesiana, St. 333-414 composer
Noel-Hilaire Le Conte, Bl. 1765-1794 music director
Notkar Balbulus, Bl. 840-912 musician
Odo of Cluny, St. 879-942 musician
Paschasius Radbertus, St. 785-865 composer
Peter Julian Eymard, St. 1811-1868 pianist, violinist
Philemon of Antinoe, St. 4th century musician
Philip Evans, St. 1645-1679 harpist
Philip Neri, St. 1515-1595 developed musical style of oratorio
Rafal Chylinski, Bl. 1694-1741 harpist, lutist, mandolinist
Ranieri Scacceri, Bl. 1117-1161 minstrel
Raymond Lull, Bl. 1234-1315 troubadour
Robert Montserrat Beliart, Bl. 1911-1936 musician
Romanus the Melodist, St. 490-556 composer
Rosa Giovannetti, Servant of God 1896-1929 cellist
Solanus Casey, Bl. 1870-1957 violinist
Theodore Studite, St. 759-826 composer
Thomas Aquinas, St. 1225-1274 composer
Tutilo of Saint Gall, St. 850-915 composer, harpist
Venantius Fortunatus, St. 530-607 composer
Victor Chumillas-Fernandez, Bl. 1902-1936 organist, vocalist, choral director, composer

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