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Sister Irene O'Connor - Fire of God's Love (1973)


Among the sea of sound-a-like private-pressed Catholic lps that came out in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Sister Irene O’Connor’s 1973 album stands out with its primitive drum machine and spooky, echo-laden vocals. Released in 1973 on the ‘Alba House’ label, the dual-titled Fire of God’s Love/Songs to Ignite The Spirit lp features several haunting and remarkable songs, including the three below.  In particular, the title track “Fire of God’s Love” strikes me as so otherwordly and uniquely eerie that I wonder how far Sister Irene’s O’Connor’s seeming solipsism extended beyond music. (source)
In 1973 two Sydney based nuns recorded "Fire of God's Love", an album that has since developed an international cult following. A decade earlier the two met while teaching young children in Singapore.

In the 60s Singapore was a hub for sisters traveling on missions throughout South East Asia and Sister Marimil Lobregat was passing through, on her way to Indonesia, when she met Sister Irene O'Connor.They only spent a short time together but a friendship blossomed that was rekindled more than a decade later when they both found themselves staying in a convent in Sydney's Point Piper.


Sister Irene had already made a number of records while stationed in Singapore, and had also contributed music to several educational albums for the Sydney Catechist Centre. She had an albums worth of new songs and was looking to record them.

Sister Marimil was working in Homebush at the Catholic Audiovisual Centre as a recording technician and, across a series of Sunday afternoons, the two made use of a small soundproof room at the convent and the studios in Homebush to record the album which was released both in Australia and the U.S but only sold in small numbers.The two moved on to new projects not long after and never recorded together again.

At 79 Sister Irene is still making beautiful music geared for enriching the soul.

She has written a musical about the life of Francis of Assisi and is currently working on "meditation music".Sister Marimil is now 84 and working harder than ever. She develops and runs massage therapy for the terminally ill, teaches Tai Chi as well as running weekend retreats on spirituality of the body. (source)

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