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Cecilia Clare Bocard

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Cecilia Clare Bocard

Sister Cecilia Clare Bocard, S.P.
Born Frances Ada Bocard
(1899-04-13)April 13, 1899
New Albany, Indiana
Died February 15, 1994(1994-02-15) (aged 94)
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana
Residence Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Nationality  United States
Education Bush Conservatory of Music
Occupation Religious Sister, organist, composer and music teacher
Known for organ, piano and choral compositions
Religion Christian
Denomination Catholic

Sister Cecilia Clare Bocard, S.P., (1899–1994) was an American musician and composer of works for organ, piano, and chorus.

Born Frances Ada Bocard in New Albany, Indiana, she began studying piano in first grade and organ in third grade. Bocard began as her parish's organist at the early age of nine.[1] She entered the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1916 at the age of 17, taking the religious name Sister Cecilia Clare. In addition to her composing work, Bocard taught piano, organ, composition and theory at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Conservatory of Music for 47 years. Beginning in 1970, she served as organist at the Church of the Immaculate Conception until her death in 1994. She is buried in the Sisters of Providence Convent Cemetery.


Bocard earned a Bachelors degree in composition and orchestration at Bush Conservatory of Music beginning in 1923 and went on to earn her master's degree in composition there in 1925. She also studied liturgical music at the St. Pius X School of Liturgical Music of Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in New York in 1935, composition and piano at Northwestern University 1936-37, and Gregorian chant at Solesmes Abbey in France in 1961. In 1961 she also attended the Fourth International Congress on Catholic Church Music at Cologne, Germany. Throughout her years as a composer and organist, Bocard ended up studying under musicians including Wilhelm Middelschulte, Edgar Brazelton, Arne Oldberg, Moissaye Boguslawski, Arnold Schultz and Nadia Boulanger.

Works and honors

Some of her well-known religious compositions include "A Cycle of Psalms," written in 1956 and performed by the Sisters of Providence Choir in 1965 at the Chicago Civic Opera House; the organ work "Te Deum Laudamus"; the hymn "Our Lady of Providence"; and the five-volume work Propers for the Mass for Sundays and Feast Days.[1] Her Mass in Honor of Divine Providence won first place in the 1955 Nemmers Memorial National Contest. Not all of her works were religious; other tunes include "Kaifeng," "Goblins," and "Wings of a hummingbird flashing by."[2][3] She also received several awards in contests of the Indiana Composers' Guild, including first prize in 1942 and second prize in 1944.

Bocard was awarded professor emerita status at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1971, and received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from them in 1983. In 1987, the 105th session of the Indiana House of Representatives honored Bocard for "her contributions to the fields of Education and Music" through House Resolution #49. That same year she was honored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for her contributions to overall Catholic education.


External links

Christianity portal
  • Listen to "Our Lady of Providence" performed by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods
  • Listen to "A Cycle of Psalms" performed by the Saint Xavier University Women's Ensemble
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