Benedictine Bling

For most Benedictines today is the greater of the two feast days of our founder, St Benedict. Today honours his passing to eternal life; 11 July commemorates the translation of his relics to Monte Cassino (or was it Fleury? Depends who you ask!). That we are in Lent does not dampen our celebration in any way save for the absence of the A-word.

This evening at pontifical vespers the abbot will wear our patronal, or Malvern, cope. It comes from our (Douai Abbey’s) short-lived foundation at Great Malvern, which was founded in 1891 has a ready refuge in case of our expulsion from France. When expulsion did indeed come in 1903, we settled at Woolhampton at St Mary’s College, the Portsmouth diocesan minor seminary, which the Bishop of Portsmouth kindly handed over to us. Our school and the seminary combined to form Douai School (which closed in 1999).

One of the patrons of the Malvern priory was the Douai monk and Bishop of Port Louis in Mauritius, Archbishop Benedict Scarisbrick OSB. He endowed Malvern with some lovely items for use in the opus Dei, not least this wonderful cope. The striking damask is not of English origin, possibly Belgian as our other striking vestments from that period were made by Grossé in Belgium. The embroideries, which include our patrons St Benedict and St Edmund, as well as a hood showing the Good Shepherd—represented to all Benedictines in the person of St Benedict—were probably made by the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus in Southam in Warwickshire. Continue reading “Benedictine Bling”

A Patron Saint

Before there was St George, there was St Edmund, King, Virgin and Martyr, whose feast falls today. St George was a soldier saint from the region we now call Syria (what little of it remains intact notwithstanding). He was a decent chap and a worthy saint, but he did not become England’s patron saint until the fourteenth century. He was brought back by crusaders and had been favoured under the Norman occupation because he was neither Anglo-Saxon—and thus a potential emblem for resistance among the subjugated English—nor a Norman—and thus likely to be rejected out of hand buy the English. Before him St Edward the Confessor (on whose feast my birthday happily falls) had been widely considered the national patron of England, though even he was not original. The first saint we call the patron of England was St Edmund, the patron of my monastery, and the raison d’être of the great abbey and town of Bury St Edmunds. Continue reading “A Patron Saint”

Missals in the Monastery Cupboard—2

Sorry – another mega missal post, but the last, so—courage. [As usual, if you click the photos they will open in full size.]

First from the cloister haul is this example of a missal I had not come across before: a Missal-Vesperal. Many of the 20th-century people’s missals began to include vespers and even compline, as a way of bringing the life of Christian worship out beyond the confines of Mass and to imbue daily life with the spirit of the liturgy.

Continue reading “Missals in the Monastery Cupboard—2”

Missals in the Monastery Cupboard—1

This will verge on a megapost. There was quite the variety of missals in the cupboard. As a great lover of the old hand missals I found these of special interest. If the old missals do nothing for your adrenalin levels then this post may not be of interest to you. There is no particular rationale to the following sequence.

The first is a representative of the high-water mark of the hand missals for the laity that were one of the great fruits of the authentic liturgical movement.

It has an intrguing inscription. Either Christopher is something of an indian giver, or Judie is very possessive.

Continue reading “Missals in the Monastery Cupboard—1”

O happy fault!

London has been hit by terrorists again, with all the hallmarks of those inspired by the Islamic jihadists of Daesh. The details are gradually becoming clearer now but it seems prudent to withhold comment until we know quite certainly the full nature of the attacks. Of course for now we pray: for the seven dead and commend them to Christ’s mercy; for the injured and commend them to the Spirit of Consolation; for those who mourn or who are afrighted and commend them to the Father’s paternal care.

So as we worship this Pentecost day we might remember the victims, pray also for the conversion of terrorists, and offer ourselves to the Father with Christ in solidarity with the persecuted Church in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and in parts of Africa and Asia.

But this is not what the title of the blog post refers to. If I may, a brief pause from the worries of terror.

In yesterday’s post, one of the items covered was a two-volume set of choir breviaries. A reader, papamac71, spotted what I had not: Continue reading “O happy fault!”

Even More in a Monastery Cupboard

Some people actually seem interested in this, so herewith the penultimate post about the cloister hoard.

**NB In this series, any picture is able to be clicked to reveal the full-sized version.**

Today, office books. First is this diurnal, ie the day hours off the office as found in the monastic breviary.

Continue reading “Even More in a Monastery Cupboard”

More in a Monastery Cupboard

Since it is a Friday, it seems fitting to supply some opportunity for penance. Thus, here follows some more discoveries from a cupboard in the monastery’s long cloister.

Last time we left off with a taster of a book that you will not have seen in bookshops before.

devout mass server

This little book was published by no less than Douai Abbey. I had never heard of it.

devout 1

Continue reading “More in a Monastery Cupboard”