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”

In a monastery cupboard

If you do not like books, you are bound to be bored here. If you are indifferent to liturgical books, you are likely to yawn a little. If books and liturgical history fascinate you, even if presented in a fairly superficial and fleeting way—then read on Macduff.

A monastic friend has asked if we have copies of an old liturgical book. I endeavoured to track down our stash of them, seen years ago in a now-reformed part of the monastery. They must have been moved somewhere else, right?

As yet there is no sign of them. Perhaps they were moved without not within the monastery. However, along the way I discovered a small (St) Aladdin’s cave of liturgical and monastic incunabula (I use the term loosely of course 👨🏻‍🎓). Some of you may be interested to see some of the things that cupboard held. Continue reading “In a monastery cupboard”

A request for advice (or, an Aside in the “A Changing Church” series)

Calling all those who know a little about upholstery tapestry/ecclesiastical furnishings and their repair/renovation.

Yesterday at the abbot’s council here at Douai we approved the resotoration of the old sedilia, used in the abbey church in its first stage. They are a darker oak, and the original tapestry MAY be underneath the latterly-added green fabric. The base of the celebrant’s chair itself wore out. We would like to restore and re-upholster them in a hard-wearing tapestry, with the pattern of a simple Puginesque cross or even the pattern from the tiling in the refectory in our former monastery in Douai, France. We will re-introduce the restored sedalia to liturgical use in the abbey

If anyone knows of a firm or individual who could help us with this, please do let me know. We are prepared to pay for quality but we need to avoid extravagance (I know, I know; we want to keep our cake and eat it…). Mind you, I am not beyond praying for a benefactor who might like to finance the restoration as a good work for the Lord, or even as a memorial to a loved one, or something like that.

Anyhow, some pics are attached. (These are not huge seats, you will see). Thanks and blessings in advance for any help!

A changing church – part 2

Thesis writing and the various thrills and spills of the vita monastica have caused me to neglect the blog. Maybe that is a good thing. A series of events, not with an ominous air when seen together, have challenged any sanguine approach I might have had towards the current state of play in the Church and the world. The dismal presidential election in the USA, the hideous new presidency in the Philippines, the aggressive posturing of Putin, the demonic embodiment that is IS/Daesh, exhortations to “celebrate” the tragedy of the Reformation, the recent radical reformation of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and a series of earthquakes in Italy that have destroyed the basilica in St Benedict’s home town, Norcia – all these militate against optimism. Continue reading “A changing church – part 2”

An English Benedictine Discovery

Recently the abbot stumbled across an image hitherto totally unknown to him. It has lain unrecognised (by us, at least) in the Bibliothèque National in Paris until they digitised the image. It is rather important for my community of St Edmund, or Douai Abbey. It is displayed at the very end of this post.

Continue reading “An English Benedictine Discovery”