Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Soeur Sourire - Dominique (1963)

Sœur Sourire
The Singing Nun

Dominique, inique, inique
s'en allait tout simplement
Routier pauvre et chantant
En tous chemins, en tous lieux
Il ne parle que du bon Dieu
Il ne parle que du bon Dieu

A l'époque où Jean-sans-Terre
D'Angleterre était le Roi
Dominique, notre Père
Combattit les Albigeois

Certain jour un hérétique
Par des ronces le conduit
Mais notre père Dominique
Par sa joie le convertit

Ni chameau, ni diligence
Il parcourt l'Europe à pied
Scandinavie ou Provence
Dans la sainte pauvreté

Enflamma de toute école
Filles et garçons pleins d'ardeur
Et pour semer la Parole
Inventa les Frères-Prêcheurs

Chez Dominique et ses frères
Le pain s'en vint à manquer
Et deux anges se présentèrent
Portant de grands pains dorés

Dominique vit en rêve
Les prêcheurs du monde entier
Sous le manteau de la Vierge
En grand nombre rassemblés

Dominique, mon bon Père
Garde-nous simples et gais
Pour annoncer а nos frères
La vie et la vérité

Jeanne Deckers (17 October 1933 – 29 March 1985), aka Jeannine Deckers, better known as Sœur Sourire ("Sister Smile", often credited as The Singing Nun in English-speaking countries), was a Belgian singer-songwriter and initially a member of the Dominican Order in Belgium as Sister Luc-Gabrielle.

She acquired world fame in 1963 with the release of the French-language song "Dominique", which topped the U.S. Billboard and other charts.

Early years
She was born Jeanne Paule Deckers in Laeken in 1933, the daughter of a pâtisserie shop owner, and was educated in a Catholic school in Brussels. She was a keen Girl Guide who bought her first guitar to play at Guide evening events. Though she was thinking about becoming a nun even as a young woman, she trained and then worked as a teacher.
In September 1959 she entered the Missionary Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Fichermont, headquartered in the city of Waterloo, where she took the name Sister Luc-Gabrielle.

Music career
While in the convent, Deckers wrote, sang and performed her own songs, which were so well received by her fellow nuns and visitors that her religious superiors encouraged her to record an album, which visitors and retreatants at the convent would be able to purchase.

In 1961, the album was recorded in Brussels at Philips; the single "Dominique" became an international hit, and in 1962 her album sold nearly two million copies. The Dominican Sister became an international celebrity, with the stage name of Sœur Sourire ("Sister Smile"). She gave concerts and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on 5 January 1964. "Dominique" was the first, and remains the only, Belgian song to be a number one hit single in the United States.

Deckers found it difficult having to live up to her publicity as "a true girl scout", always happy and in a good mood. "I was never allowed to be depressed", Deckers remembered in 1979. "The mother superior used to censor my songs and take out any verses I wrote when I was feeling sad."

In 1963 she was sent by her order to take theology courses at the University of Louvain. She liked the student life, if not her courses. She reconnected with a friend from her youth, Annie Pécher, with whom she slowly developed a very close relationship.

The Singing Nun is a 1966 American semi-biographical film about the life of Deckers. It stars Debbie Reynolds in the title role. The film also stars Ricardo Montalbán, Katharine Ross, Chad Everett, and Ed Sullivan as himself.

In 2009, Sœur Sourire, a Franco-Belgian biopic, starring Cécile de France as Deckers, was released.

The song "Dominique" is topically heard early in episode 10 of season 3 of Mad Men, set in 1963.

No comments: