J'irai la voir un jour

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J'irai la voir un jour

Postby cinnamoons » Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:14 pm

Hey gang!

I was thinking about J'irai la voir un jour after writing my review and I thought the lyrics are quite strange for a lullaby.
My sister suggested it might be a Canadian French religious song so I decided to look into it.

I wasn't able to find a single French page about that song but it didn't stop me from investigating and I finally found some info on an Italian page of all places!

http://www.donbosco-torino.it/ita/Maria ... 0d%EC.html

It turns out it IS French and a religious song. I have never heard of it here but then again, I'm not catholic and I wouldn't say France is the most religious country there is... the Quebec French however remains very much attached to Catholicism so I wouldn't be surprised to hear Patty's mom sang it as a lullaby.

My Italian is rusty but here's a rough translation of the relevant parts...

****
There are moments in life when unexpected questions emerge... questions that are not merely superficial or random but that come from a genuine desire to get to the bootom of an event, a story, to capture its life force in any way possible and contemplate the wonders of God.
The story I'm about to tell you stems from a single fact : I have sung in many occasions (and found myself constantly singing) "J'irai la voir un jour, au ciel dans la patrie...". [...]
There is a certain something behind that song that pushed me to try discovering its origins for years.
The inspiration is instantaneous, strong, able to simplify a concept without weakening its content. And yet, the chorus is a cry that comes from the soul, that sweeps us up, that provokes us. But who is the author of this 'J'irai la voir un Jour'?

This question found quite an unexpected answer. One day Michela, our younger daughter, came to me with the news that, reading a book by Catherine Rihoit (The LIttle Princess of God), she had found a story about how the mother of Santa Teresina (whose name was Zelia) had been devoted to the Holy Mother since her youth. And that with her friends, she sang 'J'irai la voir un jour...'. Rihoit wrote about it 'This song was particularly dear to Zelia. The author, Pierre Janin, had been healed by the Virgin in La Salette and had then entered the Marist order and had written this hymn to praise her.

Those detailed references opened a track to investigate. There was a connection between the song and some healing. There was a priest and a congregation. Still I wanted to get to the bottom of things. [...] The decisive contribution, however, came from my contacts with the order of the Marists, especially from conversations with the archivist of this congregation, Father Carlo Maria Schianchi. [...]

Pierre Janin was born on November 30th, 1824 in Montluel, France. His cultural development was robust (he studied mathematics, sciences, philosophy and theology) but his spiritual development is of particular interest. As a young man, his dedication to God not only expressed itself through his daily religious undertakings, but also through poetry and songs. [...] In 1946, he was struck by a grave disease. It was the year of the apparition of the Holy Virgin in La Salette. The young Janin asked the Virgin Mary for help and overcame the disease. To him, his recovery was a sign of a special attention from the Mother of God. His devotion to Our Lady of la Salette will from then on influence his whole life. [...] He subsequently entered The Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) before being ordained in March of 1851.

[...] In April 1853, Father Janinn with several others from the community of Marists made a pilgrimage from Langogne to Puy for the jubilee, walking through the snow. On this occasion, he sang with such fervor that he lost his voice for 2 weeks, during which he wrote a long poem to ask the Holy Mother to give him his voice back that remains his most sophisticated song to Her.
A few weeks later, in the end of the Month of Mary (May), he wrote the song later called 'J'irai la voir un jour' using the melody of his latest pastoral hymn. The original title was Un Radieux Espoir (A Beaming Hope) and the lyrics were composed of 5 verses, one for each letter in Marie.

[...] The whole song is built around the idea of Heaven and the final encounter with Mary. And in the hour of Joy, he will be able to express his love to her as a son to his mother with faith and fidelity.
In this perspective, the whole hymn seems to be about the ascension, and the reality of the end of all things. The encounter with the Virgin is already experienced on earth, it is a reality that supports us in the hardships of life, an extremely personal experience and a spiritual event that brings us in the family of God, forever [...]

Father Janin sang to his 'Lady' until his death in Sydney in 1899.
The founder of the Marist order loved the song very much and blessed its author, Padre Janin. "I can't listen to this hymn without crying", said Father Colin, during the last year of his life. After his death, Father Janin was told that he had asked to hear J'irai la voir un jour on his death bed.
****

Well... I dunno if anyone else was curious about that song but I thought I'd post the results of my search here anyway...

Carla
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Postby Mis » Sun Jun 05, 2005 12:40 am

I, being the geek that I am, found this incredibly interesting, Carla. Thanks very much for making the effort to post all of that!

I love Patty's version of this song...it's one of my favorites of hers. And it's cool to me that it's a song that has been passed down through her family, and that she chooses to perform it for everyone. That's a really wonderful tribute to the people who sang it before you.

It's interesting how when songs have been passed down through families, you don't really think about it in any other context other than "X family member used to sing this all the time." You make it your own, and apply it to your own experience, but you don't necessarily consider the history of where it came from before it got down to you. Your post about the history of this song has made me think about some of the songs passed down in my family that I am now going to go and investigate a bit more.

Very interesting stuff!
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Postby cinnamoons » Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:56 pm

I'm glad someone else is a geek around here :wink:

And I love what you said about songs inherited from our family... I had never thought of it that way.
There are a number of songs I sing every now and then that my mom sang all the time when I was a kid and they're just part of a bond that goes beyond time and space... a way to reconnect with a part of ourselves that doesn't quite belong to us but is us nonetheless...

thanks for the food for thought, Mis!

Carla
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Postby Klary » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:37 pm

Wow Carla thanks for that extensive research :D

I remember thinking, like you, when I read the lyrics: that's a bit death-centered for a lullaby! but I did not have the energy to google it out.
Glad you did.

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Postby Rob » Mon Jun 06, 2005 5:54 pm

Merci beaucoup, Carla!

Il est tres intéressant de noter l'origine de cette chanson. (Is 'song' feminine or masculine? I guessed feminine.)

Et je suis tres desole si mon Francais n'est pas sans faute (moyen?)!

Sorry to all, I thought I would show off my lousy French and give the board a little extra dash of the wonderful culture of Carla's 'pays' (that's French for 'country') because she contributes much to the board, especially this fascinating look at a wonderful song.

And I was actually thinking about the song's origins yesterday as I listened to it while driving.

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Postby cinnamoons » Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:28 pm

You're welcome... Rob, that's really not bad at all... you avoided the feminine/masculine mistakes! Song is feminine... don't ask me why... lol!

as for the research... I guess I had a little too much time on my hand and I was on a mission... lol... it happens. I like to get to the bottom of things and the internet allows me to indulge... a little too much! :wink:

Carla
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