Friday, December 24, 2021

Book Review: Proust's Defense of Gothic Cathedrals

From Wiseblood Books:

"Suppose for a moment that Catholicism had been dead for centuries, that the traditions of its worship had been lost. Only the unspeaking and forlorn cathedrals remain; they have become unintelligible yet remain admirable."

So begins Marcel Proust's Death Comes for the Cathedrals (La mort des cathédrales), originally published in Le Figaro (1904). Proust addresses the political and religious debate concerning the "the Briand bill," a parliamentary proposal which imperiled the fate of French Cathedrals-"the first and most perfect masterpieces" of Gothic architecture. The great author of In Search of Lost Time gives prophetic voice to his own fear that "France would be transformed into a shore where giant chiseled conches seemed to have run aground, emptied of the life that inhabited them and no longer bringing an attentive ear to the distant murmur of the past, simply museum objects, themselves frozen." As Proust makes plain, though the cathedrals of France and the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite are the spiritual inheritance of the Church, they are part of the patrimony of all humanity and, pending preservation, their loss would leave all the world impoverished.

This Wiseblood Books edition of Death Comes for the Cathedrals includes an introduction by its translator, Dr. John Pepino, and an afterword by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, who wonders whether life may yet return to the cathedrals. Throughout, beautiful color images of Chartres and its architectural features grace the pages.

With impeccable--or providential--timing, Wiseblood Books released this translation of Marcel Proust's pamphlet urging the Third French Republic not to close the great Gothic Cathedrals of France and turn them into museums or other cultural sites as news came of the proposed, controversial changes to the interior of Notre Dame de Paris, which have been approved to some extent by the French National Heritage and Architecture Commission. 

The one comment I'd make about these changes at Notre Dame de Paris is that they seem to be aimed more at the tourist, who knows she simply has to visit the Cathedral as the guidebook tells her, and less at the worshipper, who comes to pray, to go to Confession, and to attend Mass. Note these lines from the Smithsonian Magazine story linked above:
Advocates argue that the approved plan will make Notre-Dame “even more beautiful and welcoming” for the millions of people who visit the site each year, according to a diocese press release. Critics, however, say that the renovations will reduce the standing of the historical building into a theme park. . . .

Visitors will now be able to enter the cathedral through its grand central doors rather than the side entrance as previously directed. The diocese also plans to rearrange altars and other items to free up space for people to move around, per the Times. . . .

The commission rejected some details of the diocese’s plan, including a proposal to remove statues from some chapels, per the Times. Experts have also asked to review a prototype of newly proposed benches, which would replace the traditional straw chairs. In theory, the benches might be designed to descend into the floor when not in use—freeing up more space for tourists, reports the AFP. . . .
What about the people of Paris who attend Mass, Evening Prayer, the devotions to the Crown of Thorns, or other services? Or Catholics from around the world visiting Paris and attending Sunday Mass? How are they served by these renovations? 

Back to the book:

Proust's argument is that these Gothic cathedrals, great monuments of French art, were built for the  celebration of the great and Holy Sacrifice of the Catholic Mass. They were built to facilitate the celebration of what we now call the Traditional Latin Mass, the Mass of the Ages. Their art and architecture, their acoustics were meant to resound with Gregorian and Polyphonic prayers, antiphons, and sequences. He does not want them destroyed by taking away their reason for being built, maintained, and used through the centuries, in spite of war, revolution, desecration, and other fashionable changes (clear glass replacing stained glass in Notre Dame de Paris during the reign of Louis XIV, for example).

Mark and I visited the Sainte Chapelle a couple of times during our 10 visits to Paris, which is a beautiful example of Gothic Art, but it is a hollow shell, exactly what Proust envisioned could happen to Chartres or other Gothic Cathedrals (Amiens, Reims, Paris, etc, etc.) There aren't any Altars in Saint Louis' reliquary for the Crown of Thorns, no Tabernacles, no Real Presence--the lower level sanctuary contained the tourist shop when we visited and of course, one must pay to enter this tourist attraction.

Proust is an unlikely source one might think for such a defense of the practice of the Catholic Faith in Notre Dame de Chartres and other great cathedrals, but he recognized the truths of French history, of her culture and the legacy of the high Middle Ages. As an artist he recognizes the integrity and continuity of that past and warned the people and the government of its loss. He also advised the Church in France to find in artists like him allies for defending that legacy. Proust knew that a nation, a people, the Church, an individual cannot be cut off from the past without great loss of identity and meaning. Fortunately for us--although some churches throughout France like Sainte Chapelle have been repurposed and lost--he persuaded the government and the public against what Aristide Briand had proposed. Proust, like Renan, and Flaubert, both of whom he quotes, may not have been a believing, practicing Catholic, but he was honest.

The book is well designed with several images of Chartres, but because the photos are not on glossy stock, the bright colors of the stained glass do not "pop" off the page as they could. The introduction provides good historical context and the afterword offers a personal view after the author's visit to Chartres.

When the fire devastated Notre Dame de Paris in 2019, I looked at our photo albums and re-read our travel journals from those visits. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI prayed Vespers in Notre Dame de Paris including the veneration of the Crown of Thorns and his comments resonate still with my memories of the Gregorian Masses (Novus Ordo with Gregorian Chant) we attended in Notre-Dame de Paris:

We are gathered in the Mother Church of the Diocese of Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, which rises in the heart of the city as a living sign of God’s presence in our midst. My predecessor, Pope Alexander III, laid its first stone, and Popes Pius VII and John Paul II honoured it by their presence. I am happy to follow in their footsteps, a quarter of a century after coming here to offer a conference on catechesis. It is hard not to give thanks to the Creator of both matter and spirit for the beauty of this edifice. The Christians of Lutetia had originally built a cathedral dedicated to Saint Stephen, the first martyr; as time went on it became too small, and was gradually replaced, between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, by the great building we admire today. The faith of the Middle Ages built the cathedrals, and here your ancestors came to praise God, to entrust to him their hopes and to express their love for him. Great religious and civil events took place in this shrine, where architects, painters, sculptors and musicians have given the best of themselves. We need but recall, among so many others, the architect Jean de Chelles, the painter Charles Le Brun, the sculptor Nicolas Coustou and the organists Louis Vierne and Pierre Cochereau. Art, as a pathway to God, and choral prayer, the Church’s praise of the Creator, helped Paul Claudel, who attended Vespers here on Christmas Day 1886, to find the way to a personal experience of God. It is significant that God filled his soul with light during the chanting of the Magnificat, in which the Church listens to the song of the Virgin Mary, the Patroness of this church, who reminds the world that the Almighty has lifted up the lowly (cf. Lk 1:52). As the scene of other conversions, less celebrated but no less real, and as the pulpit from which preachers of the Gospel like Fathers Lacordaire, Monsabré and Samson transmitted the flame of their passion to the most varied congregations, Notre-Dame Cathedral rightly remains one of the most celebrated monuments of your country’s heritage. Following a tradition dating back to the time of Saint Louis, I have just venerated the relics of the True Cross and the Crown of Thorns, which have now found a worthy home here, a true offering of the human spirit to the power of creative Love.

Since I doubt that I'll ever return to Paris or Chartres or Amiens or Reims, I'm glad I have those memories and the feeling we often had while praying and worshipping in those Cathedrals, so well expressed by Pope Benedict in 2008:

Dear friends, during Vespers this evening, we are united in thought and prayer with the voices of the countless men and women who have chanted this psalm in this very place down the centuries. We are united with the pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem and to the steps of its Temple, and with the thousands of men and women who understood that their earthly pilgrimage was to end in heaven, in the eternal Jerusalem, trusting Christ to guide them there. What joy indeed, to know that we are invisibly surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses!

Merry Christmas! 
Our Lady, pray for us!

Friday, December 17, 2021

"Rorate Caeli Desuper" and "Ne irascaris, Domine"

On the First Saturday of December (12/4), the Saturday of the First Week of Advent, I attended an early morning Mass, a "Rorate Caeli" Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite. It was celebrated by candlelight, with candles only illuminating the darkness of the church. Candles on the Altar and the side altars, candles on window ledges beneath each stained glass window, candles--lit just before Mass began--held by the members of the congregation. It was a Votive Mass of Our Lady in Advent and is called the "Rorate Caeli Mass" because of the first words of the Introit of the Mass:

Roráte caéli désuper, et núbes plúant jústum. (Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.) (Isaiah 45:8)

During this Ember Week in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite according to the Roman Missal of 1962, this Wednesday was the Ember Wednesday of the Advent Season, and was also a "Rorate Caeli" Mass, celebrating the Incarnation of Christ Our Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, the Blessed Virgin: the Annunciation.

The "Rorate Caeli" antiphon is also used in Advent Prose, as the Cantica Sacra website explains:

The complete text is assembled with passages from different chapters by the prophet Isaiah. When sung in a liturgical setting, the first two lines of the text are often treated as an antiphon: the passage is chanted at the beginning and end of the entire text and at the end of each stanza by the entire choir and congregation.

The first verse of the Advent Prose is also from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:

Ne irascaris, Domine, satis
et ne ultra memineris iniquitatis nostrae.
Ecce, respice, populus tuus omnes nos.

Civitas sancti tui facta est deserta.
Sion deserta facta est,
Jerusalem desolata est.

(Be not angry, O Lord,nor remember our iniquity forever.
Behold, look upon us, we are all thy people.

Thy holy cities are deserted.
Zion has become a wasteland,
Jerusalem a desolation.) (Isaiah 64:9-10)

This is the text of one of William Byrd's famous motets, which is often seen as reflection of the status of Catholics in Elizabethan England and was published in his 1589 Cantiones Sacrae.

As this article by Richard Evidon on the Schubert Club website analyses Byrd's setting of this text:

This is a double motet, composed of two symmetrical parts. Part I, the exiles’ plea for divine mercy, begins with the lower voices darkly intoning “Ne irascaris, Domine, satis” (“Be not angry, O Lord”), a calming phrase that moves into the upper voices and then is taken up by all five vocal parts. After another set of supplicating entries on the words “Et ne ultra memineris iniquitatis nostrae” (“Nor remember our iniquity forever”), the musical flow comes to a stop. What follows is a chordal appeal to the Lord – “Ecce, respice” (“Behold, look upon us”) – with a change in tone and texture that quietly yet dramatically conveys the captives’ sense of being abandoned. But the real center of gravity – in both parts of the motet – comes in a concluding, greatly extended contrapuntal phrase. Here it’s a long set of imitative entries on the text “Populus tuus omnes nos” (“We are all thy people”) that builds up in pitch, texture and intensity to depict the anguishing multitudes. . . .

Please read the rest there, including his analysis of the second part of the motet. Evidon recommends this performance by VOCES8, licensed by the group for publication.

The Catholic Encyclopedia includes this comment at the end of its article by Joseph Otten on William Byrd:

Two of his motets, "Domine, ne irascaris" and "Civitas sancti tui", with English texts, are in the repertoire of most Anglican cathedrals. In spite of the harrowing religious conditions under which he lived, in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James I, Byrd remained faithful to his principles and duties as a Catholic, as is shown in his life and by his works. In his last will and testament he prays "that he may live and dye a true and perfect member of the Holy Catholike Churche withoute which I beleeve there is noe salvacon for me".

Monday, December 13, 2021

Blog Tour for "My Queen, My Love" by Elena Maria Vidal

My friend Elena Maria Vidal asked me to "blurb" her latest historical novel, the first in a trilogy on the life of Henrietta Maria, King Charles I's Catholic consort. And she asked me to join the blog tour organized to promote her novel! Here is my blurb:

"Dreams of princesses, fairy tale palaces, and living happily ever after collide with the realities of favorites, mistresses, courtiers, and intrigues in the lives of Marie de Medici and her daughter Henrietta Maria in this first volume of Elena Maria Vidal's Henrietta of France trilogy. Vidal depicts the religious conflicts of the seventeenth century vividly in this historical novel, as the marriage of King Charles I of England and Queen Henrietta Maria overcomes many obstacles of language, faith, and even different calendars. Even knowing how their story ends, the reader looks forward to Vidal's delicate and dramatic retelling."—Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

This is the copy provided by the organizer of the blog tour:

Welcome to the mini tour for My Queen, My Love by Elena Maria Vidal. Read on for details and a chance to win a paperback copy of the book!

My Queen, My Love: A Novel of Henrietta Maria (The Henrietta of France Trilogy Book 1)

Publication Date: November 25th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Henrietta Maria

Publisher: Mayapple Books

The youngest daughter of Henri IV, the first Bourbon King of France, Henriette-Marie always knew she would have to marry a prince. When the Prince of Wales, Charles Stuart, travels through Paris he sees her dancing at the Louvre and within two years a marriage is arranged. However, Henriette is Catholic and Catholicism is banned in England. In preparing to become Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, Henriette has no idea of the obstacles that must be overcome before she can find happiness with Charles. The main hindrance, she soon realizes, is not the difference in religion but Charles’ best friend, George Villiers, the handsome Duke of Buckingham, who is determined to subdue Henriette to his will. Buckingham forgets that Henriette is also half Medici and underestimates her determination to succeed as well as the depth of her love for Charles. My Queen, My Love is the first novel in the Henrietta of France Trilogy by acclaimed author Elena Maria Vidal. It describes the early years of the tumultuous marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria which preceded the English Civil Wars of the Seventeenth Century.

Add to Goodreads


11 May, 1625 dawned dark and dreary, as the heavens opened and drenched Paris in a driving rain. Henriette had a quiet morning at the Louvre, with Madame Garnier and Mamangat insisting that she eat. Then she bathed, and around two o’clock in the afternoon was enveloped in a wrapper to be driven in a coach with an armed escort through the torrential downpour to the Archbishop’s palace. The streets of Paris were crowded in spite of the deluge, and she was cheered through the streets, which in the showers were like streams. When they reached the Archbishop’s palace next to Notre Dame she was bundled up to the room where her gown and jewels were awaiting her. Several of the highest ranking ladies in the kingdom were there to dress her. Her gown had been brushed and cleaned, having been spotted with wax from dripping candles and a few stains of red wine. It now sparkled more gloriously than ever. And this time, she was wearing a crown! Her mother Queen Marie supervised the adjusting of the diamond crown with a single large pearl in the front on Henriette’s curls, which the dampness of the air had made more tight and abundant. Around her shoulders was placed an ermine-lined blue velvet mantle, embroidered with gold fleur de lys. The Princesse de Condé, the Princesse de Conti and the Comtesse de Soissons, mother of Henriette’s rejected suitor, were to carry the mantle and the cloth of gold train but found them too heavy. It was feared that Henriette would be pulled backwards so it was decided that an officer would walk under it, supporting the mantle and train with his head and hands.

    At five o’clock in the evening, she was finally ready, and her brothers Louis and Gaston arrived to escort her to the Cathedral. Louis XIII was crowned and arrayed in a tunic of scarlet velvet, covered with cloth of gold. He was to walk on her right and her brother Gaston on her left. Gaston was debonair in a suit of silver lamé. Anne had come with Louis; she was also crowned and completely resplendent in a gown and mantle of cloth of gold and silver. Maman wore black silk embroidered in gold with a pearl and ruby coronet.

    In the hall of the Archbishop’s palace the procession was arranged. Henriette could see the doors open as they set forth. Remarkably, the rain had ceased and the sun was shining! Leading the way was an officer known as the Captain of the Gate, behind whom walked a hundred of the King's Swiss Guard, drums beating and banners flying. They were followed by a band of musicians, then the heralds with trumpets, whose blaring made Henriette’s heart leap with exultation. After them marched the Marshals of France, then the peers of the realm. They were followed by the proxy bridegroom the Duc de Chevreuse and the English ambassadors, the Earls of Carlisle and Holland, all three of whom were in cloth of gold like King Louis. Behind those three gentlemen, Henriette walked with her two brothers, trailed by the ladies and gentleman carrying the train. Finally there came Queen Marie and Queen Anne.

    A long wooden gallery lined in colorful carpets and tapestries led from the Archbishop’s palace to the west portals of the Cathedral, where a platform under a canopy of cloth of gold had been erected. The vows would be exchanged at the doors of the church, according to the ancient tradition. Within and without the Cathedral wooden stands had been built for people to sit and see what they could see. Citizens were also gathered on roofs of houses, on balconies, and leaning out of windows. On the platform, under a canopy of cloth of gold, Cardinal de Rochefoucault awaited the bridal party. As Henriette and her brothers appeared, the crowds cheered deliriously. The entire bridal party ascended the platform. Henriette wished she had been able to practice climbing the steps in all her regalia; mercifully the steps had been carpeted or else she would surely have slipped off. Henriette and the Duc de Chevreuse knelt on prie-dieus before the Cardinal, who received their marital vows. After being married, Henriette arose and turned; she saw the English ambassadors kneeling before her.

    “Your Majesty,” said the Earl of Carlisle in English, kissing the hem of her skirt.

    “God save the Queen!” The Earl of Holland proclaimed, using English as well.

    “I am Queen of England,” she thought, wishing Charles was with her. And she descended the platform and entered the great cathedral with her brothers, as the organ and chanting of the choir lifted her heart to heaven.

Available on Amazon 

About the Author

Elena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, “fair as the garden of the Lord” as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.

Elena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children’s etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwards she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.

In November 2009, THE NIGHT’S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. She is a member of the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family. Her fourth novel, THE PARADISE TREE, about her Irish ancestors, was published in Fall 2014. Her first biography, MARIE-ANTOINETTE, DAUGHTER OF THE CAESARS, was published in Spring 2016.

In November 2021, My Queen, My Love: A Novel of Henrietta Maria, was published as the first installment of the Henrietta of France Trilogy.

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Click the link below for a chance to win a copy of the book!


Mini Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

Friday, December 3, 2021

Father Kapaun Coming Home: Where is Home?

Visiting one of our local bookstores, I glimpsed the cover of The Journal, a quarterly publication of the Kansas Leadership Center. The cover story for the Fall 2021 issue is "Making a Home for Father Kapaun" featuring a picture from the pilgrimage to Pilsen, Kansas, Servant of God Emil Kapaun's home town.

In March of this year, the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, (the DPAA) announced that Father Kapaun's remains had been identified in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. This meant that his remains could be returned home, that a Funeral Mass could be offered for him, and that he could be buried at home after his death 70 years ago.

But the question was, where at home? In Pilsen, Kansas, a small community in Marion County, where his memory has been celebrated through the decades? The family, led by his nephew Ray Kapaun, decided with Bishop Carl Kemme of the Diocese of Wichita, that he would be at least temporarily interred in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. His cause for canonization is still in process in Rome--in 2020, just before COVID struck, there was a meeting scheduled at the Congregation of Saints to perhaps declare him Venerable and it has not been rescheduled.

The article points out many of the challenges the Pilsen and Marion County community and officials face if his cause does proceed and the required miracles for his beatification and canonization are accepted. The main issues are transportation, accommodations, and other services for pilgrims if his shrine is to be located in Pilsen:
The Marion County Commission has hired a consultant to explore how to best prepare for the increase in tourists. That includes working with state officials and recruiting hotel developers, commissioner David Mueller says.

Because Pilsen Road is a county road, it is not the responsibility of the Kansas Department of Transportation, says agency spokesman Tom Hein. Mueller and others wonder if surging traffic volumes may prompt a change to state maintenance.

State officials say they’re monitoring the situation in Marion County, but Mueller acknowledges local authorities are frustrated by what feels like a lack of support.

“I wouldn’t say we’re in over our head” in Marion County, he says. “We’re doing everything we can to prepare. It’s just hard to know how much to do, and what route is best.”
At the same, the residents of Pilsen want their little town to remain their community. And some are disappointed that his remains aren't there already, although that was a decision of the family:
“They’re not ready,” says Ray Kapaun, Emil’s nephew, who lives on Whidbey Island in the state of Washington. “They’re not even going to be ready for what’s going to hit them to start with, even with his remains not being out there.”

The decision to place the potential saint’s remains in Wichita, an hour away, rankles residents of Pilsen.

“They said security wasn’t so good out here,” says Kathy Svitak, whose farmstead carries traffic for those who depart Pilsen’s little cemetery via the rear exit. “Well, I guarantee there’s a lot more crime around the Wichita church than there is out here. And we can put the same safe codes they could do. We just have not been given the choice of the chance.”
Reading the article reminded me that like so many things in the history of the Catholic Church, the Divine and the human mix in such mysterious ways. There's God's timing, providence, and wisdom, and there's our efforts to plan, control, and prepare. God's providence is more powerful than our efforts, we should know by now. The people of Pilsen may not be able to guarantee that their community will stay the same if Servant of God Emil Kapaun is raised to the honors of the Altar: he would be just the fourth saint from the USA and only the second saint to have lived in Kansas (Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne lived among the Potawatomi at Sugar Creek near Mound City, Kansas in 1842).

As I attend daily Mass a few times a week at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, which has always been well-attended by a group of a familiar faithful, I've seen the pilgrims coming to pray at his tomb. Volunteers staff an information desk, and tours (not during Mass) may be arranged. The official website for Father Kapaun includes guidance for arranging tours at the museum and church in Pilsen (the museum is not handicap accessible). The Cathedral website for visits and tours also highlights the other Wichita location connected to Father Kapaun, my high school alma mater Kapaun-Mount Carmel as well as the Pilsen destination, so it seems like we're doing the best we can now to maintain this delicate balance of God's Will and our efforts to submit to it. History shows us that the process of Canonization can take centuries; we're still dealing with decades!!

Chaplain Kapaun, pray for us!

Image Credit (public domain): Unknown author - U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Father Nathaniel Bacon, Alias Southwell

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Father Nathaniel Bacon adopted the alias of Southwell, I would presume in homage to the great Jesuit poet and martyr, Saint Robert Southwell (thus the portrait). Father Bacon, alias Southwell, died in Rome on December 2, 1676:

Better known under the assumed name of Southwell, a Jesuit priest and bibliographer, b. in the county of Norfolk, England, in 1598; d. at Rome, 2 Dec., 1676. He received his early training at St. Omers, entered the English College at Rome in 1617, and after his ordination to the priesthood in 1622 was sent to labor on the English missions. Two years later he entered the Jesuit novitiate, but shortly after was transferred to the Roman province, where he discharged the duties of procurator and minister of the English College. Appointed in 1647 Secretary to the General of the Society of Jesus, Father Vincent Caraffa, he displayed such talent for business that he was retained as Secretary by the four succeeding Generals of the Order. Upon his retirement from this office in 1668, he began the well-known "Bibliotheca Scriptorum Societatis Jesu" in folio, published in Rome in 1676. This compilation was based on an earlier work of Father Ribadineira, issued in 1602 and brought down to 1641 by Father Alegambe. Father Southwell revised the original works, adding copious notes of his own. Dr. Oliver praises this volume as "a compilation truly admirable for research, accuracy, elegance of language, piety, and charity of sentiment." Father Southwell was also the author of "A Journal of Meditations for Every Day of the Year" published in London in 1669. On the same authority we learn that he was accounted by his religious brethren a model of virtue and sanctity. He died in the professed house of the Gesu, at Rome.

The Benedictus monthly prayer book, offering the very convenient feature of each Sunday Mass in Latin and English according to the 1962 Roman Missal without having to flip from one part of a hand Missal to another (from the Propers to the Ordinary of the Mass), has been featuring daily meditations from Father Bacon, alias Southwell. 

By the way, another Nathaniel Bacon died in 1676: He was the leader of Bacon's Rebellion against the English governor, Sir William Berkeley. He died of dysentery on October 26 that year.