O Mary by Thy Fiat

FAIRFIELD—Writer, poet and author of hymn texts, Anna Bendiksen of Fairfield, has written a new hymn to ask the Blessed Mother’s protection in a deeply troubled world.

“O Mary by Thy Fiat,” was completed on November 7, when the writer was thinking about “how badly we need Our Lady” in a world “that is cold and spurns Thy son, our King.”

The new hymn text is set to the 19th-century tune “Unde et Memores” by William H. Monk (1823-1889), an English church musician who was influenced by the Oxford Movement, in which St. John Henry Newman played a leading role.

The first stanza proclaims, “O Mary by thy Fiat came the dawn of goodness, truth and beauty born anew; Yet in the presence of the holy One we make reply with lips and lives untrue; O Mother still a Maid, we know not how; Arise and be a Mother to us now.”

Bendiksen, who has graciously shared many of her compositions with those who visit the diocesan website, said this tune is usually sung with the text “Lord, Who at Thy First Eucharist Didst Pray.”

“Several weeks back, I started hearing different words to the last phrase—the words “Arise, and be a Mother to us now.” This, of course, was inspired by St. Teresa of Kolkata, who often prayed, “O Blessed Mother, be a mother to me now.”

A native of Detroit, Anna Bendiksen spent her childhood in the Midwest, learning piano, viola, and voice as a schoolgirl in Brookings, South Dakota. Having moved to Rochester, New York, she studied voice in the Preparatory Division of the Eastman School of Music and began taking Russian at Brighton High, the public high school from which she was graduated. It was at Brighton High that several great teachers inspired me to take poetry seriously both as a reader and as a writer.

She earned degrees from Bryn Mawr College (A.B. in Russian summa cum laude), where she served as director of the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Russian Choir, and Yale University (M.A., M. Phil. in Slavic Languages and Literatures). She is also trained in teaching English to speakers of other languages (certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University).

A convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism, she is a Fairfield resident along with her husband and son, and member of the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull.

For more information about Anna Bendiksen’s sacred music compositions, visit:

Please click here for the full piece of music.