Sister Janet Mead, the South Australian nun who became internationally famous for her rock rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, has died aged 84. Sister Janet Mead topped international charts with The Lord’s Prayer in 1974. She continued working as a teacher and helping the homeless.
She shot into the charts in 1974 with her international hit The Lord’s Prayer, putting the Our Father prayer to a rock tune.
The single was distributed to 31 countries and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.
She was the first Australian artist to have a gold record in the US and was even nominated for a Grammy award but lost out to Elvis Presley.
“I think that everyone has a song to sing really, haven’t they,” Sister Janet said.
She pioneered the concept of the rock mass in South Australia and held them regularly in the St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Adelaide.
Dedicated to teaching and helping homeless
Despite the fame and fortune, Sister Janet shunned the spotlight and donated all her royalties to charity.
She continued to teach at St Aloysius College despite the pressure of becoming a chart-topping star.
“It was a fairly big strain because all the time there are interviews and radio talkbacks and TV people coming and film people coming,” she said. She turned down offers to tour the US.
She spoke out against war, against welfare cuts and she raised money to support the sacked Patrick Stevedores workers in a waterfront dispute in 1998.
“It’s a decision that each of us has to make to strive for truth in what’s happening in our world and to strive for compassion so that our country might return to the way we were when we said this is a country for a fair go,” she said.
Sister Janet was named the South Australian of the year in 2004 for decades of caring for the homeless.
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