Austin (KXAN) - You may have seen them around Austin wearing their religious habits. A young group of Roman Catholic nuns have chosen, with the help of prayer, Central Texas as a place to grow their mission, and their musical message is helping make that expansion possible.
The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist sing songs of praise daily at 5 p.m. in Vespers. However, it is not everyday Roman Catholic nuns turn those sacred songs into a top selling CD. Twenty of The Dominican Sisters of Mary recorded Mater Eucharistiae at their home base in Ann Arbor, Michigan in March 2013.
"The most fun part for me was when we were doing four part harmony,” said Sister John Michael. “I sing the lower parts."
It took just two days for Grammy award winning producer Blanton Alspaugh and recording label DeMontfort Music to help the Sisters create what they call their gift to Christ and what they hope will be a gift to all who hear it.
"This really resonates and brings you to a place of silence and brings you to a place where you can encounter God in your daily life," said Sister Pio Maria.
The response to the CD has been amazing. Released in August 2013, it has reached number one on the Amazon best seller list and has remained on top of the Amazon Classical best seller list for weeks.
In addition to being a ministry, the CD is helping the sisters build a new home. Part of the money raised from the CD sales is funding a new community for the Sisters on 60 acres near Georgetown.
"You're seeing kind of the first glimpse of the vision of having ultimately 100 sisters in Texas," said Sister Maria Silva.
Some of those 100 Sisters are already in the Austin area overseeing the construction of what will be their Texas branch. The first structure, a mission house, is almost complete. Four Sisters will live in it until the larger priory is built. Then the community can grow more reaching more than 100.
The Sisters have been making a difference in Central Texas for four years. Their primary mission is teaching like in Holy Family Catholic School in Northwest Austin. They have an office in at the Diocese of Austin now, but will move it to the Georgetown location. However they serve in locations all around Central Texas.
"You'll see us at universities, at high schools, at parishes giving talks trying to feed people and spiritually and nourish others with just the truths of the faith," said Sister Maria Silva.
Central Texans will be seeing more of these habit wearing women in as their community grows, and they may be hearing more of their music in a second CD.
"Ha! If that's the Lord's will, we'll be ready to jump right in and do it," said Sister John Michael.
As the CD continues its sales success, the Sisters hope it provides a clear difference for listeners from what modern culture offers.
"They have an excuse to slow down and just reflect,” said Sister Maria Silva. “They want those moments. They desire those moments. I think that's really why you're seeing a lot of people falling in love with it."
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