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A Song For Mary

Collage of people cheering during Ateneo gamesUp to the time that the Ateneo de Manila had moved to Loyola Heights, the school anthem was “Hail Ateneo, Hail”, a song of triumph, of marching on to victory with loyalty. However, the move from Padre Faura to Loyola Heights seems to have evoked change. The new campus stood for something new, something nobler.

Fr. James Reuter, S.J. wrote a song that seemed to embody the “newness” that permeated the new Ateneo. It, perhaps, better suited what the school is all about.

“We stand on a hill between the earth and sky. Now all is still where Loyola’s colors fly. Our course is run and the setting sun ends Ateneo’s day. Eyes are dry at the last goodbye; this is the Ateneo way.

Mary for you! For your white and blue! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

Down from the hill, down to the world go I; rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly. Through joys and tears, through the laughing years, we sing our battle song: Win or lose, it’s the school we choose; this is the place where we belong!

Mary for you! For your white and blue! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

Collage of people cheering during Ateneo gamesIts music is adapted from Calixa Lavalée’s music to the hymn “O Canada”, composed in 1880, which is why many people believe that the Ateneo copied the music of Canada’s national anthem. However, it is interesting to note that Canada only adopted “O Canada” as its own national anthem in 1980. The Ateneo de Manila adopted “A Song for Mary” as its alma mater song three decades earlier.

“A Song for Mary” speaks more clearly and more ardently from the Atenean’s heart. Life is not merely about competition or about assailing enemies “in strong array.” The struggle is, as in chivalry, for one’s Lady. And the Ateneo’s own Lady is no less than Mary, the Mother of God, and our own mother. The aim is not merely victory, but steadfast faith and commitment—to keep “constantly true”, whether we win or lose.

The song also speaks of a purpose higher than to “win our laurels bright,” a greater challenge than being able to “do or die.”

The song declares that we go “down from the hill, down to the world,” to live, to give, and to serve.

That is the Ateneo way.

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Next: St. Ignatius Of Loyola And The Society Of Jesus

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