These were the questions that came to me when at the end of my musical training I became aware of the difficulties facing even the greatest talents among my fellow musicians. They may have won international competitions but still had few means to express their art and live from it. Moreover, a large number of people in our society had no opportunity to receive the beauty and hopefulness of live classical music.
As a Capuchin-Franciscan, I was given the mission to serve the needs of the music world, and I turned for inspiration to the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, himself a musician. Brother Francis greatly respected artistic talent as a special gift from God, welcoming troubadours among his friars as messengers of peace. He also dedicated his life to the poor and the sick. In tune with his spirit, Pro Musicis would give concert artists opportunities to express their talent and to share it with those among us starving for the sustenance that music provides.
Pro Musicis artists experience an ineffable shift in relation to their talent. Their spirit is transfigured by touching the hearts of those suffering from illness, disability, loneliness and poverty. Many of these artists have gone on to internationally acclaimed careers.
Father Eugène Merlet, founder of Pro Musicis in France and the United States, died in Paris on July 11, 2013.