While the “Alma Redemptoris Mater” is not exactly an Advent hymn, it is the Marian antiphon sung after the final Hour (Vespers or Compline) from Advent through to the Presentation of the Lord.
Although, like many ancient prayers, its origins are more complicated than simple authorship, it is often attributed, along with the Salve Regina and other hymns, to Bl. Herman the Cripple, a rather cool Blessed whom I discovered a few months ago.
The first entry I saw on him identified him as a saint, having me temporarily hope that he was the exception to the rule that there are no canonized saints with “birth defects,” as opposed to genetic disorders that manifiested themselves later in life, like St. Alphonsus’s osteoarthritis, contracted illnesses like St. Therese’s TB or disabilities due to injury.
I really identify with him. He was almost completely crippled-more so as he got older, and eventually lost his ability to speak. But in the meantime, he was raised by Benedictines and became one of the greatest scholars of his age, in science, mathematics, languages, poetry, music and other fields. He never left his monastery, but scholars from around Europe would come to consult with him, and he created several scientific and musical inventions.
Just shows what God intends for those whom society would discard, or those to whom, once adults, society would say, “You shouldn’t have children.”
Now, obviously, monks shouldn’t have children, but you know what I mean 🙂