OLSH

Alma Mater

Across the hills and valleys
Resounds this blessed name.
Of Mary Queen and Mother
Whose virtues we proclaim.
To follow her example
Is something we wish to do,
So listen lovely maiden,
We dedicate this song to you:

Dear Lady of our high school,
We pledge our loyalty,
To follow your example
Of truth and purity.
Through all the years
Ahead of us,
We never wish to part,
From you, our Leader and our Patron,
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart,
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart!

Music and lyrics by Jane Wojtkowski Lucci, '54

OLSH Alma Mater from Jessica Cerchiaro on Vimeo.

Background

Pope Pius declared that 1954 would be a Marian Year, the first in Church history. The year would be spent honoring the Virgin Mother, and would include sermons and discussions geared toward deepening Catholics' devotion to Mary. While the Blessed Virgin Mary was always central to the teachings at OLSH, Sr. Cecelia, then principal at OLSH, wanted to pay homage to her in a special way. She announced to the students that a contest would take place to write a song to the Blessed Virgin Mary in honor of the Marian Year. The song would be sung at an assembly and on graduation day.

Jane Wojtkowski, a senior at the time, had always loved music. She often spent her free time, especially on Sundays when no visitors were allowed, in the choir loft practicing the organ or in the music room on the piano. It was only natural that she would write a song to present to Sr. Cecelia. She remembers being in the music room pounding out the notes on the keys of the piano, "It was just what came out at the time. It came so quickly," she recalls.

First, she composed the refrain. The Blessed Mother was central to the teachings of the Felician Sisters. Jane and her classmates were encouraged to treat Mary as their role model. She remembers the Sisters telling the students, "if you need something from Jesus, go to His Mother, He will not deny her." That idea is echoed in the refrain.

Then, she needed to compose a suitable introduction. Jane's inspiration was all around her. She looked out the window at OLSH over the landscape and heard the chapel bells ringing. This too was a regular occurrence of her life at OLSH: the bells rang in the morning, at noon for the Angelus, and at 5:00 for the Benediction. The bells resonated throughout the neighboring area, and Jane and her classmates knew that the bells tolled in honor of Mary. It was in that time of reflection that the words came to her, "Across the hills and valleys, resounds this blessed name, of Mary, Queen and Mother, whose virtues we proclaim."

Jane's song won Sr. Cecelia's contest. After she sang the song with her seven classmates at their graduation, Jane left the song to OLSH.

Jane admittedly did not think about the song much after that; however, Jane's song was quickly adopted as OLSH's alma mater. Today, every OLSH student learns the alma mater during the freshman year, and it is sung at all school events.