Cor unum: a family creed

I just finished the Story of the Trapp Family Singers last night and had to recommend it to everyone. Obviously, the Trapp Family is known due to their popularization through the Sound of Music. But, this book–by Maria Von Trapp–is the inside story of what made the family great. It was not their musical talent, but the firm conviction that they were following and had to keep following God’s will in all they did.

This is a story of faith unlike many I’ve heard. It is a modern family dealing with the trials of modern life (and a World War as well) that comes out better for having toiled in the vineyard. The Trapp Family is a testament to the fact that love and faith can truly sustain us through life.

Beginning with her life as a postulant in the convent, Maria tells the story of being sent to the Trapp family, of falling in love with the children and then with the Captain, fleeing to the convent again to ask the will of God, and being told to follow where He leads despite not knowing the way. Maria found what many fail to see today, the beauty of a vocation to marriage. Most modern people think that marriage is the default and “vocations” are reserved for priests and religious. Not so. When Maria returned to the Abbey to ask direction from her Mother Superior, the nuns all gathered in Chapter and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit as to whether Maria was meant to remain with them. The answer: she was to get married and pursue holiness in her marriage and motherhood.

There would be a revolution today if more married couples saw 10% of what Maria saw in her vocation to marriage. Just imagine married couples who saw their union not as the result of mere human love, or the means to an end like having children and stability, but as it truly is, a vocation to love and serve one other person known from all eternity by God as your spouse. That puts things in a very different perspective, a divine perspective that Maria kept throughout her life and that she instilled in her family.

This is a book that every family should at least read if not own. It should be a constant reminder of what is possible to instill in a family–a sense of love, a sense of belonging, a desire to be of “one heart” (“cor unum,” the Trapp Family motto). There is a rich story under the patina that Hollywood applied. This book tells that story and does it with grace and humor. I heartily recommend it to you.

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2 Replies to “Cor unum: a family creed”

  1. I read this over the summer! I loved her descriptions of how they celebrated Easter and Christmas. So beautiful and such rich traditions. And I was totally moved by the way the family surrounded their father and celebrated the sacraments at his death bed.

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