When Creation was Begun, (Holy Mary Full of Grace)

This is a folk-style Marian hymn.   It was originally written in French, titled "Vierge Sainte, Dieu T'a Choisie" by G Roussel (details unknown). 

The translation was made English Roman Catholic academic, teacher and hymnologist, Michael Hodgetts (1936-2022).

The original hymn has 15 verses;  generally only a few of these are sung at a time.   The verses can be used in any combination, but if the doxology (ie the verse starting "Praise the Father and the Son") is used, it should be last.

All the verses are quoted below, with the permission of the literary executor of Hodgett's estate.   Permission to record or reproduce these words must be requested from hymns@hodgetts.eu

With meter with  refrain, tunes that the hymn has been set to include:
  • VIERGE SAINTE composed by French organist and choir director Abbe Paul Decha (1928-1966) - this is widely known in Ireland and elsewhere
  • SUMMER, a tune recorded (and composed?) by Filipino Roman Catholic priest Fr. J. Roel Lungay in 1998.

Books where it has been published include:


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Cantor with congregation, organ backing - recorded live in a church service:

Singer with organ and band - professional recording:

Solo singer with keyboard backing:

Singer, unaccompanied:

School choir with guitar - recorded live in assembly:

Professional recording to the tune SUMMER:


1 When creation was begun,
God had chosen you to be
Mother of his blessed Son,
Holy Mary, full of grace.

Chorus: Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

2 When creation was restored,
You were there beside the Lord
Whom you cherished and adored,
Holy Mary, full of grace.

3 Christ, the gift you gave to men,
Fills the world with joy again:
What a gift you gave us then,
Holy Mary, full of grace!

4 All of us are children too,
Often doubtful what to do,
Needing to confide in you,
Holy Mary, full of grace.

5 You are with us day by day,
In our joys and our dismay:
Make us joyful as we say
‘Holy Mary, full of grace’.

6 Lady, take us by surprise:
Dazzle our unseeing eyes,
Show us where true beauty lies,
Holy Mary, full of grace.

7 Lead us to your Child above:
He will teach us how to love,
How to pity and forgive,
Holy Mary full of grace.

8 Blest are those who do not hoard,
Those whose treasure is the Lord:
They shall share your own reward
In the Kingdom of your Son.

9 Blest are those who grieve and mourn,
And endure contempt and scorn,
Proud of all that they have borne
In the Kingdom of your Son.

10 Blest are those who face the worst,
Putting God and justice first:
They shall one day slake their thirst
In the Kingdom of your Son.

11 Blest are those who do not grudge
Food or clothes or room to lodge:
They shall find a gentle judge
In the Kingdom of your Son.

12 Blest are those whose hearts are clean
And whose faith is evergreen:
They shall gaze on God, and reign
In the Kingdom of your Son.

13 Blest are those who work for peace,
Prisoners longing for release;
Wars and persecutions cease
In the Kingdom of our Son.

14 In the vision which transcends
All our dreams, and never ends,
God will gather all his friends
In the Kingdom of your Son.

15 Praise the Father and the Son
And the Spirit, Three in One,
Since creation was begun,
Now and evermore. Amen.

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  1. Song is originally called: "Vierge Sainte, Dieu T'a Choisie"

    composed by: Paul Decha
    Lyrics by: G. Roussel