“Lady Bird,” the coming-of-age film nominated for five Academy Awards, features the a cappella choral piece “Rosa Mystica” as sung by the University of Notre Dame Folk Choir.
The twice-nominated writer and director of “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig, selected the Notre Dame Folk Choir’s version of “Rosa Mystica” to accompany the final scene of the film. Composed by the late Trappist monk Rev. Chrysogonus Waddell, O.C.S.O., the piece is from the folk choir’s 1996 album “Prophets of Joy.”
Father Waddell’s “Rosa Mystica” is based on a medieval devotional text to the Virgin Mary. He set the text in a manner that “hearkens to chant and polyphonic melodies from the canon of Catholic sacred music,” according to folk choir director J.J. Wright.
A music supervisor for “Lady Bird” approached World Library Publications (WLP), which holds the copyright to the folk choir’s recording, to gain permission to use the choir’s version in the film. After vetting the nature of the film, WLP granted permission and Gerwig incorporated the folk choir into the final scene.
Composed of 60 vocalists and musicians from across the University, the folk choir serves the Notre Dame community as one of its principal liturgical choirs, primarily singing at the 11:45 a.m. Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart each Sunday during the academic year.
In addition to Gerwig’s nominations for directing and writing, “Lady Bird” was nominated for best picture, best actress (Saoirse Ronan) and best supporting actress (Laurie Metcalf).