Song: Joyful Banner Blazing

© Maria Dunn, 2016

Arranged M. Dunn, A. Hillhouse, S. Johnson, S. McDade, J. McDade


Sister Cecily Dunn devoted her life to working with young people and their families. During her 32 years in Bermondsey, London, England, she founded the Bosco Centre, building a daycare, youth centre and college. A Salesian Sister, she earned the moniker “The Flying Nun” by going out and about on her scooter, meeting and working with people in the community. Her motto and message to young people: “You are young, you are precious, you are loved”. When she died a few years ago and the funeral car was taking her body from the convent to the church, the people of the community lined the roadway. With great affection, respect, and a playfulness she would have delighted in, they sang one of her favourite folk songs: She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain.


In streets where no one’s path is smooth

Polish rare as Sunday shoes

Lined all along the road are we

One big heart on one big sleeve

And in the wake of the hearse

Our voices float in verse

Every buoyant phrase and melody

Cries, Sister you will ever be


Comin’ round the mountain

Over the rainbow

A joyful banner blazing

You are young

You are precious        

You are loved


A young man’s thanks for all you did

So lads like him could just be kids

A safe place he could hang about

Drop the tough act, lose the lout

Single mom, determined gaze

Remembers how she freely played

And took to heart the stories, songs

That whisper still “girl, you are strong”


You’ll be

Comin’ round the mountain…


Your smiling eyes cut through it all

To our better selves did call

Confident that we were there

Coaxing us to dream, to dare

Challenging the deal in drugs

Raising money in the pubs

Pulling heartstrings, squeezing funds

Our shameless, selfless, flying nun


And we who line this road today

You nurtured, nudged along our way

Taught us skills to help us cope

Through the darkness into hope

You’re in the bustle of our streets

In the rain upon our cheeks

Your words a mantra we will keep

And pass to every child we meet


Maria Dunn vocal

Andy Hillhouse acoustic guitar

Shannon Johnson violin, harmony vocal

Jeremiah McDade whistle, harmony vocal

Solon McDade upright bass