About this blogger:
Richard J. Clark is the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He is also Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. His compositions have been performed worldwide.
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“More and more as we grow older, we find that the people we see most of are recent acquaintances; not (perhaps) very congenial to us, but chance has thrown them in our way. Meanwhile, the people we used to know so well—for whom we once entertained such warm feelings—are now remembered by a card at Christmas (if we can succeed in finding the address). How good we are at making friends, when we are young; how bad at keeping them! How eagerly, as we grow older, do we treasure up the friendships that are left to us, like beasts that creep together for warmth!”
— Msgr. Ronald Knox (1888-1957)

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"Woman of No Distinction" World Premiere
published 22 February 2019 by Richard J. Clark

HRIS KINSELY wrote a landmark poem in 2006 about the Samaritan woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus. What makes this poem unique is its perspective: written entirely from the point of view of the Samaritan woman. This poem has much to teach us today. (See the poem below.)

Jennifer Lester, Director of The Seraphim Singers, asked me to compose a work When I saw the text, I thought “This is the poem.” It was an honor and privilege to composer on this work and this topic. (Liturgically notable is the role the Samaritan Woman plays in Lent, and in particular the First Scrutiny for Catechumens seeking full reception into the Church.)

In Orthodox and Eastern Catholic traditions, the Samaritan woman at the well is revered as a saint and considered “equal to the apostles.” Witnessing to the truth of Christ, she was martyred during the persecutions of the Emperor Nero.

I ASKED SOPRANO Anna Ward to be the “voice” of the Samaritan Woman. She adds her superlative artistry and perspective to this work!

* *  YouTube • A conversation with Lester, Ward, and Clark about the work and what it has to say to us today.

IF YOU ARE IN THE BOSTON AREA be sure not to miss this premiere as part the Seraphim Singer’s “Women’s Perspectives.” This concert will present works exploring the voices of women as composers, subjects, storytellers, and poets.. There will be two performances:

Friday, Friday, March 1, 2019, 8:00pm
St. Cecilia Parish, 18 Belvidere St., Boston, MA

Sunday, March 3, 2019, 3:00pm
First Church (Congregational) 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA

Tickets: $22 General Admission / $18 Students & Seniors online or $25/20 at the door
• Tickets are available at the door or purchase online here
• Download the concert poster here

Hope to see you there!

WOMAN OF NO DISTINCTION
By Chris Kinsley

I am a woman of no distinction
of little importance.
I am a woman of no reputation
Save that which is bad.

You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances,
Though you don’t really take the time to look at me,
Or even get to know me.

For to be known is to be loved,
And to be loved is to be known.
Otherwise what’s the point in doing
either one of them in the first place?

I want to be known
I want someone to look at my face
And not just see two eyes,
a nose, a mouth and two ears;
But to see all that I am, and could be
all my hopes, loves and fears.

But that’s too much to hope for,
to wish for,
or pray for
So I don’t, not anymore.

Now I keep to myself
And by that I mean the pain
That keeps me in my own private jail
The pain that’s brought me
Here at midday to this well.

To ask for a drink is no big request
But to ask it of me?
A woman unclean
Ashamed, used and abused
An outcast, a failure
A disappointment, a sinner.

No drink passing from these hands
To your lips could ever be refreshing
Only condemning
As I’m sure you condemn me now
But you don’t.

You’re a man of no distinction;
Though of the utmost importance.
A man with little reputation, at least so far.

You whisper and tell me to my face
What all those glances have been about
And you take the time to really look at me.
But don’t need to get to know me.

For to be known is to be loved and
To be loved is to be known.

And you know me.
You actually know me;
All of me and everything about me.
Every thought inside and hair on top of my head;
Every hurt stored up, every hope, every dread.
My past and my future, all I am and could be.
You tell me everything,
You tell me about me!

And that which is spoken by another
Would bring hate and condemnation.
Coming from you brings love, grace,
Mercy, hope and salvation.

I’ve heard of one to come
Who could save a wretch like me
And here in my presence,
You say, “I am he.”

To be known is to be loved;
And to be loved is to be known.

And I just met you.
But I love you.
I don’t know you,
But I want to get to.

Let me run back to town
This is way too much for just me.
There are others
Brothers, sisters, lovers, haters.
The good and the bad, sinners and saints
Who should hear what you’ve told me;
Who should see what you’ve shown me;
Who should taste what you gave me;
Who should feel how you forgave me.

For to be known is to be loved;
And to be loved is to be known.
And they all need this, too.
We all do
Need it for our own.