Friday, January 15, 2016

The Culture of Life, Music Missionary Danielle Rose, and the Gift of Song

 John Baab, me, Danielle Rose, and my husband Kevin
 at St. Michael the Archangel Church after the concert in September 2011.

Danielle Rose is the most pro-life singer I have ever met.  Meeting Danielle in person was a very memorable highlight of being involved in the prayerful effort to respect and protect the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.

I was first introduced Danielle Rose's music when I made my Cursillo weekend in June 2006.
This Catholic music missionary was in Richmond for the weekend speaking, doing a concert at St. Michael the Archangel Church, and singing at all of the Masses.  I had the blessing of being Danielle's driver while she was in town back in September 2011.  We had some wonderful conversations and prayer time.  

My husband and I were blessed to spend time over four days with this prayer warrior, music missionary, spiritual diva, beloved daughter of God whose love, gentleness, joy, and compassion clearly show God is at work in and through her.
A group of us had planned to go out to the airport to pick her up, but come Friday night, Kevin and I were the only ones heading out there.  We joked about making signs and getting a megaphone, but we hadn’t done either.  Fortunately, I, at least, had a sign with the charity receiving the proceeds from all of her concerts that year: China Little Flower.  Her face brightened and she came over and hugged us immediately when she saw the sign. 

Our dear brother in Christ, John gave us the copy we have of Culture of Life as he has given us a lot of the Christian music we have listened to of hers.  I still remember him showing up outside our building on a rainy day to give me the copy of Pursue Me he had purchased for us.  

The first time I listened to the Culture of Life album, I couldn’t stop sobbing.  The lyrics, prayers, sentiments, longings, and suffering overwhelmed me.  Many of the feelings I’d experienced and wasn’t sure how to express, she describes beautifully through very moving songs.

Most of the time I still can’t make it all the way through Danielle Rose's Culture of Life album without tears filling my eyes.  The first song usually is enough to pull at my heartstrings. Yesterday evening was the first time I watched the official music video for The Little Flower song and revisited The China Little Flower organization's website.  

Listen and watch here:

Celebrity Priorities: Her Utmost for His Highest
Some performers demand certain things be provided for them that fall under the category of luxurious, ridiculous, or completely unreasonable.  Some insist on expensive gifts, lavish meals, and only certain colors of M&Ms be waiting for them in their gigantic hotel room suites.  Not this woman.  Her two main requests were that she be able to go to Mass each day and spend an hour praying before the Blessed Sacrament.   
It was clear in so many ways that she was being led by love, humility, and the Holy Spirit as opposed to self-centeredness or pride characteristic of many popular artists.  She let the children come to her.  She even invited them up to sing some songs with her.  I have a feeling that those children and teenagers will carry the experience of singing her song based on Psalm 139 deep in their hearts for quite some time.  “I praise You, God, for I am fearfully, wonderfully made!   

Edifying Etiquette: When Someone Calls You by Name
The evening she arrived, Danielle, Kevin, our dear brother John, and I went to the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) near her hotel for dinner.  As soon as our waitress came to the table, Danielle greeted her warmly by the name on her nametag.  Throughout the meal, she talked with her and encouraged her that she was doing a good job, which made the woman feel much better about learning the ropes during her first month there. 
Upon entering the hotel, Danielle greeted the woman at the front desk as though she were a dear friend.  She immediately read her nametag and always said hello or goodbye and God bless to the woman, whose name was Mary, as she passed through the lobby.  She extended this same courtesy to everyone, which had a very positive effect on many of them.   

Struck by Star's Sincerity and Tenderness
At the end of Masses when she had sung two songs and played her violin as well as at the end of her concerts, she gave each person who came up to her a hug, listened with them as many shared how touched they were by her music or asked her to pray for them or for someone they love.    
At one of the Masses, a young autistic boy and his father were sitting in the choir section near where Danielle was playing her violin.  The boy was talking kind of loudly and was getting restless.  After changing seats and moving around a bit, he went over and picked up Danielle’s violin.  What did she do?  She gave him a huge smile and said hi, assuring his father that it was okay.     
On the way out to the car, a young girl and her mom were walking alongside us.  The mother told Danielle that her daughter really enjoyed singing.  She gave some words of encouragement to the little girl, adding that it’s wonderful to use the gift of music to glorify the Lord. 

A Rose is a Rose Every Bit as Sweet

Someone gave Danielle a long-stemmed red rose after the concert on Sunday night.  She 
took it back to her hotel, kept it in water overnight and the next morning brought it with her when we went to Mass at St. Bridget’s.  After Mass was over and people had cleared out, she went up and placed the red rose before the statue of Our Blessed Mother.  Yet another small gesture with a great deal of love in it. 

Ultrasound Irony: 
Within a couple weeks of her visit, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new ultrasound machine donated to The Pregnancy Resource Center of Metro Richmond by the Knights of Columbus.  My mom later pointed out that pro-lifers here in the United States are celebrating the generous donation of a new ultrasound machine because its use often helps women see the child growing inside of them is not just a blob of tissue. 
When talking about the culture of death in China, Danielle Rose told us that women in China are subjected to forced ultrasounds every few months so the government can make them have an abortions if they are found pregnant.  I’ve known about the one-child policy in China, but I didn’t think about what horrifying lengths they go to when enforcing it.  Most women in China have had five forced abortions and are thereby rendered infertile by the time they are thirty years old. 

Sacrificial Giving: Love Until It Hurts 

Danielle talked with me about the trouble she was having raising funding for the new album she was recording.  Studio time, accompanists, and such are not cheap, and she had only recently re-entered the world after discerning God was calling her back out of the convent.  There wasn't a whole lot left in her savings account, and there was still more work to be done on the project.    
Kevin and I prayed about it and felt that we were supposed to give her a somewhat significant (considering our financial situation) donation towards the Culture of Life project. She was genuinely surprised and very appreciative when I gave her the check from us.  

I still have the beautiful thank you note she sent us along with the two handmade rosaries from pregnant women in China who were in hiding to avoid being forced to abort their unborn babies.  The sale of the rosaries allowed them to have a little income.

I was inspired to give the the yellow rosary set to a married couple who are friends of ours. They also love children, but like us aren't sure if they will ever be able to have their own.  With it, I included photos I had taken of them talking with Danielle after the concert. 
Note to reader: Since her visit to Richmond, Danielle Rose has gotten married.  She and her husband have had their first child, a beautiful baby girl. 

To read more about her life, listen to her music, or to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, check out her website at 

Here are few hands-on, practical ways to get involved: 

     1.)   Read about the situation in China and consider supporting the orphanage that will received the proceeds from all of Danielle Rose’s concerts that yearChina Little Flower. 

2.)   Support your local pregnancy resource center through prayers, volunteering, and/or donating.

3.)   Join prayer warriors at the closest 40 Days for Life location near you.  See how 40 Days of prayer, fasting, and community outreach will transform your mind, heart, and soul, all while saving lives.   
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