Canto Divina – Singing Psalms for Transformation

by Deborah Ann Keefe

Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.



This book has been written in the presence of the Holy Eucharist, in adoration chapels across the country. As the author surrenders her will and her work to the divine will of God, she remained immersed in the sacraments of the Catholic Church. In order to share her faith, education and cultural perspective, She offers the reader the following experience in her life that influences this work.


We all know the importance of building relationships and making connections in our lives. The advent of social media has radically changed the manner in which we connect to others and the speed to which we do so. Google searches, Apple apps, and instant messaging continue to offer a world in which connections are made instantaneously. You can find research and applications on a multitude of subjects without leaving the sanctuary of your home. There is no longer a pause before we ask someone to ‘be our friend’, we just click a button and send a request,. We are valued today by how many connections we have, without considering the quality of them at all.


Facebook and Instagram lead the way with individuals posting pictures of themselves, their families, and all their activities. It has been said that a picture says a thousand words. Yes however, a picture is only a snapshot of a moment in time: pictures do not tell the whole story. Given the appropriate tools and techniques, anyone can look good in a picture, the real question is, what is the whole story? Love takes time to develop but lasts forever.

Canto Divina: Singing Psalms for Transformation is based upon the process of Lectio Divina and adds the gift of sacred music and the baptism of the Holy Spirit for transformation. This work strategically develops the research on music and medicine and the connection to Catholicism. Deborah presents her education, experience, and personal transformation through the music of our faith and supports this information with a summary of the history and science of music and medicine. The process of Canto Divina is them defined and practiced with appropriate examples to model this transformation. The psalms were chosen for this process of transformation as they clearly reflect the emotional connection to the heart of God through the words of King David. In this work the research and application of music and medicine has been fully integrated with Catholicism while providing a new intervention for transformation. As St. Augustine once noted, when we sing, we pray twice.


We need to pray in the first place. We need to pray without coasting. We need to draw close to the heart of Jesus and intercede with him for others. Yet even our prayer, like the proclamation of the Gospel can be enhanced by music. In these pages, she draws from ancient sources, as well as modern disciplines and from the ancient sources, as well as modern disciplines and personal experiences, as she proposes a thoroughly Christian program for healing physical, psychological, moral and spiritual healing. Its keynotes are the Psalms, the songs of ancient Israel that the Church took to the world. They are perfect prayers, reflecting the full range of human emotion and need. They convey it all in valid poetry, which we put to memorable melody because we need to remember. Begun in prayer, in the souls of the apostolate, this book is a heartfelt work of evangelization an extension of Jesus’ healing to a world in need.

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