I got my first CD from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Christmas at Ephesus, in the mail a number of years ago. I almost didn’t open the envelope, but something about it caught my eye.

And then…then I listened to it.

I promptly sent a little donation to the sisters for the gift their CD was to me.

Then (the timeline is fuzzy, so there must have been a life event taking place) their second CD came my way, Marian Hymns at Ephesus, courtesy of the United States Postal Service.

It was filled with more of what I loved about their earlier album, and I sent another check their way. How could I not?

In the last three years, the Benedictine sisters have made quite a name for themselves by topping the classical music charts. “The hits just keep on comin,” as the radio people say.

It’s a joy to see them discovered by the rest of the world, recognized for the gift they’re sharing so openly, rewarded financially (I hope!) to help them continue the important work they do.

The way the sisters prepare for these albums is about as counterintuitive as it could be. For this last album, according to an interview with Monica Fitzgibbons from De Montfort Music, they spent two days. Total. Period.

De Montfort goes in and sets up within the monastery. Fitzgibbons said, “I think they sing more than they speak.”

Which leads me to wonder what kind of peace must penetrate their monastery. Which leads me to appreciate, even more, the instant mental peace I have when I listen to any of their music.

Including their latest:

flat with bold B of M

Lent at Ephesus is a compilation of 23 Lenten hymns.

But if you’re like me, you can’t help but ask, what does that even mean? What, exactly, are Lenten hymns?

Well, first, they are beautiful. (Just like every other thing these nuns have sung in my earbuds.)

Second, they are preparatory. Just as with the Advent collection, they’re hymns that are appropriate for this season we’re in.

Did I mention beautiful? Pure and melodious and clear. Unlike anything you usually hear.

Go ahead, buy it. Your Lent deserves this kind of soundtrack.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/0hPgVRZeEvY”]

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