Hope Sings So Beautiful and A Song Just for Me


BOOK REVIEW Thank you to Sr. Imelda Maurer, cdp



By Mary Kiki Wilcox

Fithian Press   2014

(Available at Amazon.com)


Carter Williams, social worker and elder advocate, professes with great conviction that relationships are at the heart of life. The small but fascinating book, “A Song Just for Me,” gives evidence of this simple and profound truth. In story after story author Mary Kiki Wilcox shares with her readers a little of the lives of the residents to whom she brings her music – and theirs. 


This collection of essays reflects such an abundance let into the lives of the frail elders Mary meets. It is the gift of music which is really the context for the gift of mutuality which buds and develops under Mary’s sensitive presence and awareness.


It is through sharing music that Mary sometimes comes to journey with a resident during his/her last weeks or days. She speaks of the sacredness of death and dying in a way that is known in its deepest recesses only when there is a personal relationship between the dying person and the one who sits by the bed, who companions the other.


Each essay reveals that what is most desired and cherished by frail elders who need more and more support in their daily lives is presence -- the presence of another that is marked by attentiveness, openness and compassion.


This book is highly recommended for anyone serving elders in any capacity in an aging services organization because it speaks succinctly and eloquently about what most makes a difference in the lives of those elders we serve.  There is only one word of caution. Mary uses the vocabulary she hears day to day in this organization so words such as “facility” and “unit” reflect an institutional mindset.  As a strong advocate for transforming the culture of aging services from an institutional mindset to that of HOME, I am very conscious that if we are to do that we must change our words. Our words reflect our mental images and our mental images give birth to our words.


Perhaps by way of full disclosure, I met Mary at a writer’s workshop in 2008. After hearing her read one of her essays to our group and hearing her talk more about her volunteer work, I expressed my conviction that if I were the director of the campus where Mary lives and volunteers, I would consider her absolutely the most valuable person on the staff – even though she is not an employee. After reading her book, that conviction stands firm!

Hope Sings, So Beautiful


 In Hope Sings, So Beautiful, award-winning author Christopher Pramuk offers a mosaic of images and sketches for thinking and praying through difficult questions about race. The reader will encounter the perspectives of artists, poets, and theologians from many different ethnic and racial communities.

This richly illustrated book is not primarily sociological or ethnographic in approach. Rather, its horizon is shaped by questions of theology, spirituality, and pastoral practice. Pramuk's narrative and cross-disciplinary approach to this difficult topic will stimulate fruitful conversations and fresh thinking, whether in private study or prayer; in classrooms, churches, and reading groups; or among friends and family around the dinner table.
(Noted from Amazon web-site)

http://www.hopesingssobeautiful.org/index.php/welcome/  Website named for book

Review from Margretta Dwyer, RSM

  • No matter the age, you are the right age for dreaming into something new and exciting.
  • Small thoughts on a Large subject
  • Multiple artists, poets, and theologians in the book Hope Sings So Beautiful by Christopher Pramuk, opens new vistas. Thought provoking racial images are presented as challenging, such as:
    • “to be clear, the turn of the privilege toward the poor can neither be paternalistic (let me help you become more like me’) nor sentimental (Let’s go sing Kumbaya with the smiling poor”). This examining how and why we do what we do calls for reflection.


Perhaps these 165 pages may lead to creative ideas in the practice of mercy.  The invitation is to relate in a new way to a global village. Dream up new ideas.

Our creative idea dreamed by me is: have a lottery, enter names of willing persons of (any) color for an all-expense paid trip (some have never traveled nor would be able to afford such a trip on their own) to such places as marches on Washington.  They would represent the Sisters of Mercy as they work the crowds.  They carry the future of Mercy, No need always to send ourselves.

What else can you read and dream?

Latest comments

12.08 | 07:17

Mary, If you sent your email via this message page, please send directly to me as I cannot see your email from this site... this is a privacy issue.

11.08 | 11:46

I already sent my email address!!

11.08 | 11:42

Send your email address to jsassatelli@mercywmw.org and I will send a PDF oF the information.

11.08 | 11:22

I am interested in the Aging Conference in Buffalo. Unfortunately, I am unable to read the bio of the speakers because the font is too small. Can you help?