Compiled by a Woman of Nobility
[Italy], circa 1790. “Complesso delle Meditazioni estratte dai manoscritti di una Pia, e Noble Signora La di cui memoria sarà in benedizione.” [Compilation of Meditations taken from the Manuscripts of a Devout and Noble Lady Whose Memory will be Blessed.] Manuscript deeds on vellum delineating boundaries between the fens in the parishes of Helpringham, Swayton [Swaton], and Donington. With a small paper clipping loosely inserted, being a brief Latin text referring to a work from the year 1781 found in the parochial church of San Marie Majoris [Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore] in Rome. 8vo. 80 pages in manuscript including title page, an elegant presentation with wide margins and text ruled in ink by the writer. Half calf over glazed paper boards, paper label to spine with manuscript armorial drawing and initials. Volume measures approximately 15 x 20,5 cm. Minor loss to upper spine and front board, otherwise in very good condition, a solid and lovely early Italian binding, beautifully preserved, clean and bright internally, with a contemplative work of spirituality uncommon for its attribution to a female of nobility.
[The terms “Signore” and “Signora” were formerly signified landed nobility, being translations of “Lord” and “Lady.” They were used also in the military hierarchy and for persons in official positions or for members of a society’s elite.]
The volume begins with a short devotion by Thomas à Kempis, CRSA (c. 1380 – 1471), a German-Dutch canon regular of the late medieval period and the author of “The Imitation of Christ”, one of the most popular and best known Christian books on devotion.
Following are a few examples of further passages:
Maniera di richiamare alla mente la Divina Presenza [A Method to recall the Divine Presence to the Mind]
Cantici di Rendimenti di Grazie [Canticle for Grace]
Al Santissimo Sacramento [The Blessed Sacrament]
Regola per le Meditazioni [Principles of Meditation]
Figliuol Prodigo [The Prodigal Son]
Sentenze Spirituali Sessantasei Da ben notarsi ad una Religiosa. [Spiritual Sentences Sixty-six of Note for a Religious Person.] This work comprises sixteen pages and sixty-six affirmations to guide a spiritual lifestyle.
Memoria lasciata dal P. Pietro d’Angelo Spagnuolo della Compagnia di Gesu che mori Martire per la Fede di Gesu suCristo l’anno del Signore 1588… [Memoire left by Father Pietro d’Angelo Spagnuolo of the Society of Jesus who died a Martyr for the Faith of Jesus Christ in the year of our Lord 1588…]
Atto D’accettazione di Morte per prepararsi a ben morire. [Acceptance of death and preparation to die well/peacefully]
Esortazione di San Carlo Borommeo fatta al Pontefice suo zio Pio IV. per la vicina morte. [Exhortation of St. Charles Borromeo made to his Pontiff, his uncle Pius IV, at the time of his death.] Charles Borromeo (Latin: Carolus Borromeus) was Roman Catholic archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584, having previously been given the title and rank of Cardinal-Priest on 31 January 1560 by his uncle Pope Pius IV. Borromeo was a leading figure of the Counter-Reformation combat against the Protestant Reformation together with St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Philip Neri. In that role he was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church, including the founding of seminaries for the education of priests.