Therese Schroeder-Sheker: Silence, Music, and Death (Part One)

Silence takes many forms: silent prayer, the silence of meditation and contemplation, the silence of the wilderness and the desert, the relationship between silence and creativity or silence and politics.

Silence also shapes and informs one of the great mysteries of life: the mystery of death.

Norman Lockwood was trying to teach me about fasting from sound, that helped cleanse both my inner life and the sensoria. And that set the stage for the possibility of being able to hear something new, as a composer or as a performing artist. — Therese Schroeder-Sheker

Harpist, singer and composer Therese Schroeder-Sheker has devoted her life to exploring this greatest silence of all, through more than forty years of clinical experience serving the physical and spiritual needs of the dying with prescriptive music. Ms. Schroeder-Sheker founded the palliative medical modality of music-thanatology and The Chalice of Repose Project, the first music-thanatology organization in the world. 

Her beautiful and award-winning recordings include The Queen’s Minstrel, Rosa Mystica, and The Geography of the Soul. She is the author of Transitus: A Blessed Death in the Modern World. As the title of that book suggests, her work has a contemplative dimension that explores how music can be a gift to those who are dying or in hospice or palliative care.

This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two will be released next week.

Some of the resources and authors we mention in these episodes:

Episode 89: Silence, Music, and Death: A Conversation with Therese Schroeder-Sheker (Part One)
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Therese Schroeder-Sheker
Date Recorded: December 17, 2019

Featured Image: Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash.

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Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.


  1. I just finished listening to the podcast
    “Therese Schroeder-Sheker: Silence, Music, and Death ( Part One )
    It was very beautiful and inspiring .
    Therese is an amazing women. Her life story and accomplishments are an example of true love and concern for others.
    I’m am very much looking forward to Part Two.
    Barbara Niece

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