St. Francis Inspired Music – Streaming Concert for Peace, Reflection and Discernment

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

October 01, 2016

In this month of St. Francis’ Feast, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature The Rose Ensemble’s Il Poverello Medieval Music for Saint Francis of Assisi.

During the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, the social, economic, and political climates of the North Italian city-states in Umbria and Tuscany were undergoing profound shifts. The explosion of trade in Florence and Assisi led to the growth of an entirely new social class and the emergence of a new set of social values. At this time, penitential religious fervor in Christian Italy was at an all-time high. Sacred poetry set to popular tunes became a perfect vehicle for an accessible and powerful religious message, and thus was born a genre of non-liturgical religious song called laude spirituali. Singing, the writing of religious lyric poetry, and the composition of new songs became significant as devotional vehicles and instrumental in the eventual dissemination of a multitude of songs known as laude.saint-francis-from-all-saints-parish-berlin-wi

A beautiful example of these monophonic laude is “Sia Laudato San Francesco,” which focuses on the Saint’s holiness and miracles. This anonymous work from the 13th-century features the women of The Rose Ensemble accompanied by Ginna Watson on vielle and Isacco Colombo on recorder.

This piece comes from The Rose Ensemble’s commercial recording Il Poverello: Medieval & Renaissance Music for Saint Francis of Assisi, which is available for purchase at, iTunes, and Amazon.


Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Jordan Sramek, The Rose Ensemble has achieved an international reputation as a premiere American early music ensemble. Each performance illuminates centuries of rarely heard repertoire, bringing to modern audiences research from the world’s manuscript libraries and fresh perspectives on history, culture, politics and spirituality from around the globe. With ten critically acclaimed recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, the group has thrilled audiences across the United States and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and over 25 languages.franciscan-sisters-feature-rose-ensemble_full_20154830_duo-2

The Rose Ensemble is the recipient of the 2005 Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, and first prize winner in both sacred and secular music categories at the 2012 Tolosa Choral Contest in Spain (part of the European Choral Grand Prix). The group’s concerts and recordings have been called “first class” (Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung), “impassioned and brightly alive” (Choral Journal) and “engaging … satisfying” (Gramophone). Founder Jordan Sramek received the 2010 Louis Botto Award from Chorus America “for entrepreneurial zeal.”franciscan-sisters-feature-rose-ensemble-director-jordan-sramek-2

The Rose Ensemble’s recent performance highlights include appearances at Early Music Now (Milwaukee, WI), the University of Vermont Lane Series (Burlington, VT), California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, CA), Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), St. Quirinus Cathedral (Neuss, Germany), and the Misiones de Chiquitos Choral Festival (Bolivia). In 2014, The Rose Ensemble made their debut appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra in a special holiday program.

The Rose Ensemble can be heard regularly on American Public Media and the European Broadcasting Union (most notably with annual Christmas broadcasts) and has recently featured in special live broadcasts on Iowa Public and Vermont Public Radio.

Enjoy the additional music of these artists: Sancte Francisce Propera by Padre Constanzo Porta, OFM (1529?-1601) and Beatus Franciscus by Jeronimo de Alliseda (1548-1591)

For more program notes on the album, click here: poverellobooklet-final


The St. Francis window can be seen at All Saints Parish in Berlin, WI

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