Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles
|Formation||c. AD 1995|
|Founder||Sr Mary Wilhelmina, OSB|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
|Headquarters||Gower, Missouri, United States of America|
The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, are a Benedictine order of nuns founded by Sr Mary Wilhelmina, OSB, in Gower, Missouri. The nuns are also recording artists, and their first two albums of recorded chants and hymns reached number one on the classical traditional Billboard charts. They were thereafter named Billboard's Classical Traditional artists of the year in 2013, the first order of nuns to win an award in the history of Billboard.
Their album sales have been used to improve the monastery and pay off the abbey's debt. The community also attends Mass in the extraordinary form (Traditional Latin Mass) and prays the 1962 Monastic Breviary.
The community was established in 1995 as a small order of Benedictine nuns under the auspices of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, who are based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. They were founded by Sr Mary Wilhelmina, OSB, an African-American nun formerly part of the Oblate Sisters of Providence (founded by Mother Mary Lange in 1829 as the first-ever Black religious order in America).
Wilhelmina had found her traditional tastes incompatible with the Oblates' changing ethos, and decided to start her own community. Her new group of sisters were originally called the Oblates of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and began following a monastic horarium defined in the Rule of Saint Benedict, and chanting the Divine Office in Latin according to the 1962 Breviarium Monasticum.
Upon his arrival in the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph in 2005, Bishop Robert Finn said that vocations to the priesthood and religious life would be seen as a "super-priority" for his diocese. In March 2006, Finn invited the order to his diocese. The nuns relocated to Gower, Missouri and were established as a public association of the faithful with the new name "Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles".
In September 2018, its priory was raised to abbey and their new Abbey Church was consecrated by Bishop Robert Finn. Mother Cecilia was the first abbess to received the Abbatial Blessing according to the traditional Pontificale in the United States.
The nuns sing together daily, typically for five hours per day, as part of their daily life of prayer. The group have released a number of recordings of their songs. Their debut recording Advent At Ephesus, released at the end of 2012, reached number 2 on Billboard's Classical Traditional Music Chart and number 14 on the Classical Music Overall Chart. They were named Billboard's Classical Traditional Artist 2012 and 2013, the first order of nuns to win an award in the history of Billboard magazine.
Both their first two albums of their recorded chants and hymns reached number 1 on the classical traditional Billboard charts in 2013. As of 9 August 2013, the group's second album Angels and Saints at Ephesus reached the number 1 position on the Billboard traditional classical albums chart for 13 weeks, a record duration on that chart since 2006. As of July 2013, the album also reached number 3 on Billboard's Bestselling Internet Album Chart, number 7 on its Contemporary Christian and Christian Gospel charts, and number 127 on the "Billboard 200" weekly ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States. The album has sold 49,000 copies in the United States as of February 2015.
- Advent at Ephesus, De Montfort Music/Decca Records, released 20 November 2012
- Angels and Saints at Ephesus, De Montfort Music/Decca Records, released 7 May 2013
- Lent at Ephesus, De Montfort Music/Decca Records/Universal Music Classics, released 11 February 2014
- Easter at Ephesus, De Montfort Music/Decca Records/Universal Music Classics, released 3 March 2015
- Adoration at Ephesus, self-published, released 26 April 2016
- Caroling at Ephesus, self-published, released 1 November 2016
- The Hearts of Jesus, Mary & Joseph at Ephesus, self-published, released 1 May 2018
- Christ the King at Ephesus, self-published, released 26 October 2021
- "Sister Mary Wilhelmina". The Catholic Key. 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
- "A Glimpse at Life in 6 Traditional Religious Communities". NCR. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
- "Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles make Billboard Chart history". Religion News Service. 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
- Bunderson, Carl (2018-05-03). "Benedictine nuns' new album an offering to Saint Joseph". Catholic News Agency.
- Graves, Jim (2017-02-18). "The rich treasure of the monastic life". The Catholic World Report. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
- "About Ephesus". Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "Vocations to Priesthood and Consecrated Life: a Super-Priority". Our Lady of Lourdes Vocation Conference. 2012-07-14. Archived from the original on 2013-08-09. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "This Is The House Of The Lord, Firmly Established". Catholic Key. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- Jurgensen, John (June 14, 2013). "The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles: Hear the 22 Singing Nuns Who Beat Out 'Fifty Shades of Grey'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- "Angels and Saints at Ephesus tops Billboard classical music chart". Christian Today. 2013-07-11.
- "Chart-topping Nuns Releasing Lent Album". Eternal Word Television Network. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- Jurgensen, John (June 13, 2013). "The Nuns at the Top of the Charts". Wall Street Journal. (subscription required)
- "Traditional Classical Albums". Billboard. 2013-08-17. Archived from the original on 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "Nuns' CD has 3-month run as top classical album". Catholic World News. August 9, 2013.
- "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on February 28, 2015.
- Montagne, Renee (February 11, 2014). "Monastic Life At The Top Of The Charts". NPR. Retrieved February 11, 2014.