SERMONS AND PRAYERS, for the use of a Carmelite house, in Dutch, MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[southern Netherlands, possibly Antwerp, c.1620s]
153 x 102mm. ii + 234 + i: 1-298, 302, COMPLETE, written in brown ink in a cursive Dutch bookhand, catchwords on the final verso of each gathering, headings, rubrics and initials in red and certain words and letters touched red (some offsetting of text, particularly throughout the final gatherings, leaves soiled at edges). Contemporary vellum over cardboard with original ties (somewhat soiled).
The Litany repeatedly invokes Mary as patron and protector of the Carmelite order: the manuscript is therefore likely to have been made for use in a Carmelite convent or hermitage by one of its sisters, possibly the Maricoles at Antwerp or Bruges, during the first quarter of the 17th century. Especially indicative of the period in which it was written is a sermon on All Souls' Day at ff.159-170v by Fr. Josse Vanderborcht (d.1634), Provincial Superior of the friars minor at Mechelen in the 1620s and 30s ('pater Judocus a castro gairdieaen der minder broeders'), and responsible for the spiritual development of the Franciscan sisters at the hermitage of Saint Jean in Tongeren throughout the 1620s (see La France franciscaine: mélanges d'archéologie, d'histoire et de littérature, 24, vol. 7, 1924, pp.163-66). He was a renowned preacher from Brussels, and it is evident from the inclusion of one of his sermons in this little manuscript that the Carmelites too fell under his sphere of influence.
Exeter, Devon Record Office, Temporary Deposit 330.
Blank f.1; Jhesus collacien, numbered I-XLVI (for the Lord) and I-XXVI (for the Holy spirit), ff.2-135; Litany, for Carmelite use, ff.135-141v; The Seven Sorrows of Mary, beginning with the prophecy of Simeon ff.141v-151v; prayers, indulgences and assorted readings, f.151v-227v, including the sermon on All Soul's Day by Judocus à Castro, ff.159-170v; added prayers and readings in a later hand, ff.228-234v.
AN UNASSUMING BUT EXCEPTIONAL MANUSCRIPT likely belonging to a Carmelite sister and containing the complete cycle of 72 sermons of the Jhesus Collacien (also known as the Lelienstock or 'Branch of Lillies' -- see Anna Maria Baaij, Jhesus collacien. Een laatmiddeleeuwse prekenbundel uit de kringen der Tertiarissen, 1962) along with a UNIQUE SERMON BY JOSSE VANDERBORCHT in Middle Dutch known only from the present copy. Daniël Ermens and Willemien van Dijk call this manuscript 'the greatest discovery' of the Repertorium van Middelnederlandse preken in handschriften tot en met 1550 (in Queeste. Tijdschrift over middeleeuwse letterkunde in de Nederlanden. Jaargang 15, 2008, pp.175-76).