no. 3   july - september 2007


Rare Carmelite Book of Hours Obtained

A rare fifteenth century illuminated Book of Hours was obtained by the Carmelitana Library of the PCM Province at an auction in Sotheby’s in London. The pocket-sized book (111mm by 87mm) contains 242 leaves which is probably about 20 less than the book originally contained. The auction house of Sotheby described the book as "book of hours and prayer book of Carmelite use, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum."

The litany contains many German saints as well as Carmelite ones. The liturgical calendar includes St. Erhard, Kunegund, Heinrich, and Boniface among others.

The origins of the book are unknown. Based on its style of script and illumination, it was probably compiled in France in the late 1400s.

The text is in dark brown ink with headings in red and enlarged initials of various sizes are in dark red, blue, and gold on panels with delicate tracery in white and gold. The borders are formed of colored flowers and acanthus leaves on partly colored liquid gold grounds with daisies, strawberries, birds, as well as other objects.

The book also contains on March 15th, the feast of St. Longinus, whose lance pierced Christ’s side, a feast that was introduced in 1480, St. Martial of Limoges, a Carmelite feast on July 7 which was introduced in 1339, and the 11,000 Virgins, celebrated on October 21 after its introduction into the Carmelite liturgy in 1339.

The book also contains the Penitential Psalms and Litany of Saints, including the prophet Elisha, and Saints Martial, Kylian, Edmund, Sigismund, Angelus of Jerusalem, and Albert of Sicily.

Among the prayers are the Joys of the Virgin, reputedly composed by St. Thomas à Becket and prayers on the relics of the Holy Lance and the Crown of Thorns, the veneration of which were elevated to Carmelite feasts in 1488.

Such books are very rare. This copy came from an owner in Wellington, New Zealand.

Adapted from an article by David Waite, O. Carm., in the Spring 2007 (41 no. 1) bulletin of the British Province.

Two pages from the 15th century illuminated Carmelite Book of Hours.

Paintings Uncovered in Carmelite Library in Straubing, Germany

The Carmelite monastery in Straubing is the oldest of the Carmelite houses in continuous use. Forbidden to accept new members during the Secularization (beginning in 1802), the books in the house library were removed. Only when the Carmelites agreed to give up a piece of land did they regain possession of their books. They were also required to paint over the ceiling of the library as its decorations promoted the Order.

After 2000, the physical structure of the room had deteriorated to the extent that significant repairs were necessary. It was also decided to remove the ceiling paint and restore the ornate decorations although no one was sure exactly what these would look like.

After a year of painstaking restoration and a job only half completed, the library is even more beautiful. The center portion of the ceiling contains paintings promoting the intellectual history of the Order. On the sides are images of major intellectual figures of the Order and representations of subjects studied in the house.

Particulars of the fresco discovered recently on the ceiling of the library of the Carmelite monastery in Straubing, Germany. (CITOC foto)

Celebration of the Life of Italian Bishop Francisco Raiti, O. Carm.

On March 3, 2007, the 75th anniversary of his death, the City of Linguaglossa wanted to solemnly honor one of its most revered citizens, Francesco M. Raiti (1864-1932), Bishop of Trapani, Carmelite, and zealous pastor.

In the Council Room of the City Hall, in the presence of the mayor, of the Archbishop of Acrieale, and of the Archbishop of Trapani, a group of the illustrious bishop’s relatives, many citizens, and representatives of various religious groups came together.

Talks intending to illustrate the Carmelite as a zealous pastor were given by Emanuele Boaga, O. Carm., instructor at the Marianum in Rome, and by Bishop Gaetano Zito, Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese of Catania and instructor at the Studio Teologico S. Paolo in Catania. From the presentations emerged the picture of a man of deep prayer, of great culture, and of creativity. He was called "Father of Charity": all of his life was an unceasing hymn of charity and good works, in a continuous reference back to the Gospel.

The session concluded with some testimonials to the bishop.

At the end was the declaration of the Linguaglossa City Government that a city square be named for the Carmelite bishop, as a place of meeting and of socialization dedicated to the teaching of this figure, example and model of faith, Apostle of hope, and champion of charity.

A Marvel to Behold Following Its Latest Renovation
The Newly Restored Sacristy of the Carmelite Church in Krakow, Poland
The magnificent sacristy of the Carmelite church in Krakow, with its current interior design and decoration, was constructed 1656 – 1670. However, the polychrome covering the sacristy was installed in the first half of 20th century.

The sacristy is actually two connected rooms— a proper sacristy with an altar, areas for vesting and storage, as well as an adjacent entrance hall which leads to the cloister of the monastery.

The interior of the sacristy has been renovated many times. Unfortunately sometimes the remodeling was not done very professionally by the Carmelites themselves. Each time another coat of paint with a randomly chosen color was applied. Over a series of these renovations, the lower portions of the walls, originally made of stone ashlars, were covered with a lime-cement plaster. Other damage came from structural cracks in the walls and increasing dampness caused by rain. The most recent damage occurred when holes were punched in the walls to install electricity.

In 2005, a conservation project for the sacristy was initiated to restore the interiors to their original appearance and to conserve the seriously damaged polychromy on the vault of the ceiling.

The most modern technology and the most proven materials were used.

The seriously damaged altar inside the sacristy was also restored as was the very prominent chandelier and the cabinets used to store liturgical items.

The old staircase, leading from the sacristy’s entrance hall to the first floor of the monastery was also replaced.

From the staircase it is easy to see the small portrait of Pope John Paul II with the inscription "Santo subito" REN.A.D2005. This addition to the masterpiece captures the hopes of the people of the Carmelite parish for their beloved former archbishop who became the first Polish pope.

Andrzej Zonko, O. Carm., prior and restorer of the Krakow sacristy. (CITOC foto)

Ceiling medallion with the hopes for Pope John Paul II's canonization. (Photo courtesy of the Polish Province)

Beatification of the Catalonian Martyrs

The Vatican has announced that the beatification of Carmelite Servant of God Àngel Maria Prat Hostench and his 16 Companions will take place at St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, on October 28, 2007. These Carmelites fell victim to the hatred of the Christian faith during the religious persecution during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s. It is estimated that over 1 million from all ages and social classes—bishops, priests, both male and female religious and laity—were killed.

In addition to the Servant of God Prat Hostench, those Carmelites being beatified are Eliseo María Maneus Besalduch, Anastasi María Dorca Coromina, Eduardus María Serrano Buj, all of whom were priests. The group also includes professed students Pere María Ferrer Marín, Andreu María Solé Rovira, Miguel María Soler Sala, Joan María Puigmitjà Rubió, Joan María Prat Colldecarrera, Eliseu María Fontdecava Quiroga, and two novices Joseph María Escoto Ruiz, and Elias María Garre Egea. They all died on July 28, 1936 in Clot dels Aubins, Lleida.

Two other Carmelites, Ludovico María Ayet Canós and Àngel María Presta Batllé, were incarcerated in July 1936 and then killed October 13, 1936 in a cemetery of Barcelona.

Carmelites Ferran María Lloverá Puigsech, who died on November 22, 1936, Eufrosí María Raga Nadal, who died on October 3, 1936, and the enclosed nun from the monastery of Vic, María del Patrocini de Sant Josep Badía Flaquer, who died on August 13, 1936, are also included in the group.

The decree promulgating the martyrdom of the Carmelites was approved by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

Some 498 Spanish martyrs will be beatified during the ceremony. This is the largest single beatification to take place in the Catholic Church in modern times (not considering the 800 Blessed Martyrs of Otranto for whom there is not a complete list of names). The ceremony will be lead by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, the prefect of the Congregation for the Saints’ Causes.

It was standing room only at the presentation of a new biography of Lliberada Ferrarons by Miguel Àngel Ferrés i Fluvià entitled Lliberada Ferrarons: una fe sempre jove. The book is published by Centre de Pastoral Litúrgica in Barcelona.

The presentation was on the 204th anniversary of the birth of the Servant of God Lliberada Ferrarons i Vivés, a Third Order Carmelite. She has become a model for young workers, especially young women. For more information about the book, see the Res Carmelitana section of this issue.

CITOC READERS from the Carmelite monastery of Montegnacco, Italy check out the latest issue of CITOC — Over 800 copies of CITOC are now sent to communities and individuals around the world in English, Spanish, and Italian. Many others access CITOC through the internet. (CITOC photo)