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.

It is from the classic pre-conciliar English Catholic publisher, Burns, Oates and Washbourne, published in 1958 and with a “new translation”. Maybe a future post here might compare some of the translations found in these missals.

Again, it is printed in Belgium. So many liturgical books, even English-language books, were printed in Belgium. If someone knows why this was so, please feel free to share here and claim some credit. The missal, somewhat un-typically, begins with the various calendars for England and Wales. The dioceses are listed in order of rank, thus the archdioceses comes first.

The next missal takes us back two decades to what is another classic and very English hand missal.

It presents “The Liturgy for Layfolk.”

Its epigraph from St Leo the Great sets a lens through which the contents are intended to be read; in this case, it is the Mass as the fulfilment of the sacrificial liturgies of the Old Testament.

Again it is from Burns, Oates and Washbourne, published in 1937. It has material for all anglophone countries and the major religious orders. There are some marvellously arcane Masses of Our Lady as well as a Mass for the profession of a Benedictine.

The Introduction is by the great English liturgist, rubricist, and patrologist, Adrian Fortescue. It continues the theme of the epigraph, sacrifice. How often do post-conciliar books deal with the primordial aspect of sacrifice when explaining the Mass?

The next missal is another notable volume. The clue is on the spine.

It has added interest in that the Imprimatur is from the bishop of Douai’s local diocese. Bishop William Cotter was bishop from 1910 to 1940. It is the eight edition, of 1931.

Of course it is also the diocese of Farnborough Abbey, of which Dom Fernand Cabrol, a liturgical theologian, was abbot from 1903 to 1937. It is jointly published by Herder and, a new one to me, A Mame & Sons. It has some exquisite artwork.

Cabrol provides a comprehensive introduction to the liturgy. It is worth getting hold for the introduction alone.

Next is another well-bound and classic hand missal.

The Saint Andrew Daily Missal is one of the classics of the authentic liturgical movement, from St André Abbey in Bruges, Belgium. It is clearly geared to the liturgical movement’s aim of increasing a liturgical spirit in the laity; thus the inclusion of vespers. There is, yet again, some lovely black-line artwork.

Archbishop Hinsley’s encomium confirms this aim and commends it. Dom Gaspar Lefebvre provides an excellent introduction. He is the main force behind the immensely successful St Andrew’s Missal series. The first, French, edition sold 80,000 copies between 1920 and 1923. The English edition appeared in 1924, with Spanish, Polish, Italian and Portuguese to follow, all to be reprinted in numerous editions until after the Council.

The full-page artwork is glorious.

Lastly for today is a beautifully-bound example of another series of hand missals.

It needs some fairly simple repair work.

The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual was the work of the Marist Father Sylvester Juergens. He also edited a Marian Missal. Our example here is published by Laverty and Sone of Leeds. Again it is printed in Belgium.

It is actually far more aware of the role of the laity than modern missals. Thus we find that it contains instruction for emergency Baptism by a lay person. Does your modern missal have this?

Again we find more lovely artwork, and here there is an effort to move beyond the liturgy to devotion throughout the day, with “The Most Necessary Prayers.” Calling the Ave Maria/Hail Mary “The Angelical Salutation” is a little unusual, even precious.

The liturgical commentary is a little more cerebral than most others, as signalled by the Dominican quotation, but it is fascinating and would be a good complement to Fortescue or Lefebvre.

It gives Scotland a supplement.

Next time, some missals that were totally new to me.



Join the Conversation

  1. I absolutely love these pre-conciliar Missals and have several pre 1900. As you say, they were much more ‘laity’ friendly, and regular Mass attendance ensured a familiarity with the Latin context – and of course the Leonine prayers said after all Low Masses. The Ave was always known as the Angelic Salutation and yes, many if not all 20th century Missals were printed in Belgium. Maybe as a predominantly Catholic country it was more familiar to the proof readers during the printing process and any irregularity would have been spotted by the time the Imprimatur was added.
    Happy days when the liturgy was truly universal – and dare I say Catholic.
    I envy you your perusals. You have found a treasure trove.

    1. I am not sure I would trust the Belgians to proofread English… well. not back then. But of course they just printed many of these missals; the setup was done in England. Maybe it was purely an economy of scale: big Belgian printing houses could serve the English Catholic market more cheaply.

  2. I also got an un-used Maryknoll missal on ebay for $20. Beautiful pictures. We should not have lost these helps to devotion Thanks.

      1. 1960 Father. Daily Missal of the Mystical Body, (I had to unwrap it, still using the old one that’s falling apart; I wrapped it in plastic to preserve it.) There are several on Amazon books right now. pax

  3. Beautiful missals. For the second one, I think you wanted to write that it was published in 1937, not 1837. Beautiful font choice for the front page (a bit like the incunabula and early printed books!).

    1. Thank you Ivan – well spotted! I have corrected it. Indeed they are striking fonts, and avoid excess in their decorativeness.

  4. I once had a Cabrol Missal. The problem was the font size. I still have my father’s St
    Andrews Missal, which I refer to on occasion. Wonderful Missal. Used it for the precious blood on July 1st, my favorite Latin celebration. All this reminds me of the lay breviaries that St
    John’s Abby of Minnesota, USA, put out from 1940 to 1975, the “Short Breviary.”

  5. It is interessting, how many different hand-missals existed in the English-speaking world. Since the late 19th century in Germany the Schott nearly was the only one, then from 1927 to 1963 the Bomm was available, too. I regret that nobody is willing to make a reprint of this great missal by Dom (later abbot of Maria Laach) Urbanus Bomm OSB (1901-1982).

  6. Do you know of any sources for biographical information on Fr. Juergens (1894-1969), who seems to have been general superior of the Marianist Fathers for ten years, please, dear Dom Hugh?

    1. Servus, Christoph!

      Alas, I have no biographical information on Fr Juergens. He did write on Newman a little but beyond that I know nothing about him. Maybe the Marist Fathers could help you.


      1. Servus, to you, too!

        Father Juergens (1894-1969) was not a Marist, but a Marianist Father and served as superior-general from 1946 until 1956. I am in contact with the Marianist Generalate in Rome now, in order to get even more information.

  7. These are lovely. I stumbled across this whilst trying to decribe my late mum’s missal to a friend,(they had a notebook with lovely thin tracing paper pages).
    Mum’s missal is there, the liturgy for layfolk version. Nice to see it again, it fascinated me as a little child.


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