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History of Hymns: "My Soul Gives Glory to my God"

"My Soul Gives Glory to my God"
Miriam Therese Winter
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 198

Miriam Therese Winter

“My soul gives glory to my God.
My heart pours out its praise.
God lifted up my lowliness
In many marvelous ways.”*


Dr. Miriam Therese Winter (b. 1938) has provided us with a metrical paraphrase of Mary’s song, the Magnificat, one of the great canticles of Luke (1:46b-55).

Born Gloria Winter in Passaic, N.J., she became a Medical Mission Sister at age 17. She is now professor of liturgy, worship, spirituality and feminist studies at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Dr. Winter also directs the Women’s Leadership Institute at Hartford, composes liturgical music and writes on biblical women and women’s liturgy.

“M.T.,” as she is known by many, is perhaps most recognized for her recording Joy Is Like the Rain (1966), a series of biblical narratives in an accessible folk style, and “Mass of a Pilgrim People,” recorded live in 1967 at Carnegie Hall.

Dr. Winter had planned on becoming a physician, but her love for music was not to be denied.

She recorded with 10 other Medical Mission Sisters their first album, Joy Is Like the Rain, in a seven-hour recording session during the mid-1960s in New York City. The album went gold. “Singing is part of healing, it’s medicine,” she said. “It’s tonic to the spirit!”

She received a bachelor’s degree in music from Catholic University, a master’s degree in religious education from McMaster Divinity College and a Ph.D. in liturgical studies from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Dr. Winter has traveled the world, ministering to homeless and helpless people in places such as the Thai-Cambodian border and to starving children in Ethiopia. At home, she has ministered to the women at the Niantic State Correctional Institution since 1988.

This hymn was first included in Dr. Winter’s God With Us: Resources for Prayer and Praise (1979). Following a revision to make the hymn language-inclusive, the song appeared in WomanPrayer, WomanSong (1987).

“Often through the centuries the Magnificat has been considered a dangerous hymn because it sings of overturning the status quo, promising food for the hungry, power for the powerless and a reversal of economic fortunes,” Dr. Winter notes. “It is a song of hope for times of disparity and for any situation in which we feel personally or systemically overwhelmed. It is just the song for a time such as this.”
The hymn was composed in 1978 to the tune of MORNING SONG, an early 19th–century American folk hymn. The author says the text, with an earlier version of stanza five, “was sung at student-led vespers service at a time when the male pronouns in the scriptural text were becoming unacceptable to a growing number of women.”

In The United Methodist Hymnal and several other denominational hymnals, stanza two begins, “My God has done great things for me: yes, holy is this name.” The song was recorded on the album of WomanSong as “holy is her name.” Dr. Winter comments, “I suspect God smiles on this. I know I do.”

She has given workshops and lectures on justice and gender, peace and reconciliation, global inequality and personal piety in places such as Botswana, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and India. She has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Dr. Winter has honorary doctorates from Albertus Magnus and St. Joseph’s Colleges, and Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax (Nova Scotia). She has been selected for the Connecticut Woman’s Hall of Fame. One of her most recent books is Out of the Depths: The Story of Ludmila Javorova, Ordained Roman Catholic Priest (2001), a book about a woman ordained a priest in the underground church of Czechoslovakia.



*©1978, 1987 Medical Mission Sisters. Used by permission.

Dr. Hawn is professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology.

"My Soul Gives Glory to my God"
Miriam Therese Winter
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 198

Miriam Therese Winter

“My soul gives glory to my God.
My heart pours out its praise.
God lifted up my lowliness
In many marvelous ways.”*


Dr. Miriam Therese Winter (b. 1938) has provided us with a metrical paraphrase of Mary’s song, the Magnificat, one of the great canticles of Luke (1:46b-55).

Born Gloria Winter in Passaic, N.J., she became a Medical Mission Sister at age 17. She is now professor of liturgy, worship, spirituality and feminist studies at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Dr. Winter also directs the Women’s Leadership Institute at Hartford, composes liturgical music and writes on biblical women and women’s liturgy.

“M.T.,” as she is known by many, is perhaps most recognized for her recording Joy Is Like the Rain (1966), a series of biblical narratives in an accessible folk style, and “Mass of a Pilgrim People,” recorded live in 1967 at Carnegie Hall.

Dr. Winter had planned on becoming a physician, but her love for music was not to be denied.

She recorded with 10 other Medical Mission Sisters their first album, Joy Is Like the Rain, in a seven-hour recording session during the mid-1960s in New York City. The album went gold. “Singing is part of healing, it’s medicine,” she said. “It’s tonic to the spirit!”

She received a bachelor’s degree in music from Catholic University, a master’s degree in religious education from McMaster Divinity College and a Ph.D. in liturgical studies from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Dr. Winter has traveled the world, ministering to homeless and helpless people in places such as the Thai-Cambodian border and to starving children in Ethiopia. At home, she has ministered to the women at the Niantic State Correctional Institution since 1988.

This hymn was first included in Dr. Winter’s God With Us: Resources for Prayer and Praise (1979). Following a revision to make the hymn language-inclusive, the song appeared in WomanPrayer, WomanSong (1987).

“Often through the centuries the Magnificat has been considered a dangerous hymn because it sings of overturning the status quo, promising food for the hungry, power for the powerless and a reversal of economic fortunes,” Dr. Winter notes. “It is a song of hope for times of disparity and for any situation in which we feel personally or systemically overwhelmed. It is just the song for a time such as this.”
The hymn was composed in 1978 to the tune of MORNING SONG, an early 19th–century American folk hymn. The author says the text, with an earlier version of stanza five, “was sung at student-led vespers service at a time when the male pronouns in the scriptural text were becoming unacceptable to a growing number of women.”

In The United Methodist Hymnal and several other denominational hymnals, stanza two begins, “My God has done great things for me: yes, holy is this name.” The song was recorded on the album of WomanSong as “holy is her name.” Dr. Winter comments, “I suspect God smiles on this. I know I do.”

She has given workshops and lectures on justice and gender, peace and reconciliation, global inequality and personal piety in places such as Botswana, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and India. She has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Dr. Winter has honorary doctorates from Albertus Magnus and St. Joseph’s Colleges, and Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax (Nova Scotia). She has been selected for the Connecticut Woman’s Hall of Fame. One of her most recent books is Out of the Depths: The Story of Ludmila Javorova, Ordained Roman Catholic Priest (2001), a book about a woman ordained a priest in the underground church of Czechoslovakia.



*©1978, 1987 Medical Mission Sisters. Used by permission.

Dr. Hawn is professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology.