Artistic Expressions –S. Miriam Elizabeth Dunn (1911-1997)
S. Miriam Elizabeth Dunn was born in Schenectady, New York, into a musically gifted family, playing both the piano and violin from an early age. She was the oldest of five children; her family moved to Jackson, Michigan, when she was young. S. Miriam Elizabeth entered the Sisters of Charity in 1936 and graduated from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1941 with a degree in music; she earned a master’s in music from the University of Cincinnati in 1951. Sister taught at St. Sebastian High School, Chicago, Illinois (1938-’41) and St. James, Bay City, Michigan (1941-’44) before a 33-year career teaching music at the College of Mount St. Joseph (1944-’72). Throughout she continued to give private lessons in piano and violin. She composed two complete Masses, Christ the King and another honoring the Eucharist, along with choral Advent and Lenten hymns published as a book in 1959 with the World Library of Sacred Music. Sister also composed music for a folk ballad, Legend of Fiddler’s Green, performed at the College; she authored a number of articles for music publications. In 1971 Sister became a licensed music therapist, interning in England, and later provided therapy for handicapped, elderly and emotionally disturbed persons at Longview State Hospital, the Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders, and Riverview Nursing Home. In her retirement she volunteered as a music teacher at the Mount Campus School. “Music says what words cannot express and each person has her own interpretation of it. It is an intimate internal experience,” she once said.