By Franz Klein
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – 2007 Regis High School graduate Kathleen Geraghty’s two loves are singing and her Catholic faith.
I’ve been cantoring for Mass since fifth grade,” she said. “It’s the way I like to serve God.”
Besides high academic qualifications, another requirement Geraghty faced in high school for induction into the National Honor Society was service. So she says she asked herself, what better way to serve than to serve God? And furthermore, what better way to serve God than with the talents He had given her?
“It’s nice how those two can go together,” said Geraghty, who was honored by the diocese this spring with the Bishop’s Medal, given to one graduating senior from each of the diocese’s seven Catholic high schools.
Beginning when she was a freshman, Geraghty has been in correspondence with the Cistercian nuns at Valley of Our Lady Monastery in Prairie du Sac, Wis. Due to a sudden surge in vocations, the nuns are currently conducting a $7 million capital campaign to construct a new monastery just outside the Diocese of La Crosse in rural Highland, 60 miles due west of Madison.
“In one of our email conversations, it came up that the nuns were praying for benefactors for their new building project,” Geraghty explained. “I thought it would be a great cause.”
Thus did Geraghty decide to employ her talents and the talents of several others to produce a CD titled “Carmina Regis,” or “Songs of the King.” With her parents footing the recording fee, Geraghty is donating 100 percent of the $10 she charges per copy. She said she has already sold more than 250 copies, mostly to Regis alumni and members of her parish, Immaculate Conception.
“But now we’re starting to get orders from all over the Midwest, and some have come from as far away as Texas,” Geraghty said. “Last month I went to the monastery and presented them with $1,800. They were so happy.”
Already aired on Relevant Radio, the CD includes such diverse songs as Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” Marty Haugen’s “Shepherd Me Oh God,” and Francisco Durante’s “Virgine, Tutto Amore.”
Providing some vocals were Becky Santine, Clare Bohrer and Nick Bohrer. Annelies Slack accompanied them on the piano. Additionally featured is Regis chaplain Father James Kurzynski, who either composed or set to music three songs on the CD: “With the Bonds of Love,” “Magnificat” and Ubi Caritas Est Vera.”
Father Kurzynski had many words of praise for Geraghty.
“She has always been very sincere in her faith life, and was also a leader in campus ministry at Regis High School,” he said. “The CD is just a small expression of the depth of her prayer life and her faith life.”
Father Kurzynski especially commended the way Geraghty recognizes her musical talents as God-given gifts. “She really is approaching this, in my opinion, from a standpoint of taking the gifts that God has given her and trying to lay that at His feet in service to the Church,” he said.
Beginning this fall, Geraghty will be attending the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., to major in music education.
Does she have a vocation to the Cistercians?
“I’m still not sure, Geraghty said. “It’s always a possibility. I’m staying open minded right now, but I really love that community.”
Editor’s Note: To purchase a copy of “Carmina Regis,” make your check for $10 payable to Valley of Our Lady Monastery and send it to Kathleen Geraghty, 6250 Inwood Drive, Eau Claire, WI 54701. To donate directly to Our Lady of the Valley’s campaign, mail your check to Valley of Our Lady Monastery, E11096 Yanke Drive, Prairie du Sac, WI 53578. To learn more about the Cistercian nuns, visit http://www.nunocist.org/.