Stories from the Archives

“Chosen”: Who wrote the music?

One of our most cherished songs is "Chosen," which has a long history in the community.

We IHMs have long been known for our wonderful music both at Marywood University and in the community, but how often do we think about the Sisters who wrote the music for some of our beloved hymns? One of our most cherished songs is “Chosen,” which has a long history in the community. Mother Germaine O’Neill wrote the words to this reception day hymn at “the request of No. 19”1 (Mother Mary Magdalen Jackson who was Superior at St. Rose Novitiate) but who wrote the music?

Bridget Teresa Hughes was born in White Haven, PA, on July 4, 1863. At the age of 18 she entered the IHMs at St. Rose Novitiate in Carbondale, PA, in the early 1880s as well as being received and professed in that decade. It was during her novitiate that she wrote the music for our hymn. Sister served as a music teacher at the following schools: Holy Rosary Elementary School in Scranton, PA; St. John Academy in Pittston, PA; St. Cecilia Academy in Scranton, PA; All Saints’ Elementary School in Masontown, PA; St. Mary Elementary School in Hollidaysburg, PA; and St. Basil Elementary School in Dushore, PA. This sister was known as an accomplished musician.

In a letter from 1914, upon this sister’s death, Father Kolbe, the pastor of All Saints Parish in Masontown, PA, wrote Mother Germaine expressing sorrow as well as gratitude for the fine work of this sister; he commented on her zeal, energy, and kindness and that she had made this school the best school in the community and best parochial school outside of the large cities. We, too, thank God for her contribution of music to our community.

Sister M. Pancratius Hughes died at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary on February 25, 1914, and is buried here on the Marywood University Campus. She, indeed, was “Chosen” as “God’s Beloved.” We include here the words to the hymn for your reflection.


Chosen, chosen, God’s beloved,
Happy, blessed is thy lot;
Earth forgetting, joys renounced,
By the world unknown, forgot.
Pure the heart that answers Jesus,
Take thy cross and follow Me,
Happy soul that hears Him say,
Daughter, I have chosen thee.

Wilt thou give thy heart?
Wilt thou give thy heart?
In the lone and tempted hour.
Daughter, wilt thou give thy heart?

Canst thou leave thy home my child?
And for Me thy friends forsake?
Courage, for My Holy Love
Will thy spirit satiate.
‘fore Mine Altar wilt thou stay.
Like an incense-breathing flower.
Tarry while the world forgets.
Watch with Me the silent hour.

Take the Cross, espousal gift.
As a sign of union blest.
And when weary, come, My dove,
I will soothe thee, be thy rest.
When thy life shall be no more.
And the Cross fore’er laid down.
Will I wreathe thy virgin brow
With the lily’s fadeless crown.

  1. Note on Mother Mary is from typed copy of words to the poem ↩︎

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