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See also DAME CATHERINE GASCOIGNE'S DEFENSE OF FATHER AUGUSTINE BAKER'S WAY OF PRAYER, 'COLECTIONS', MAZARINE 1202, IV

DAME GERTRUDE MORE, O.S.B.

ON FATHER AUGUSTINE BAKER'S WAY OF PRAYER

FROM BIBLIOTHÈQUE MAZARINE, MS 1202, III
 
 

Permission, Ampleforth Abbey Trustees
 

 century later than Father Augustine Baker 's July 1624 arrival at Cambrai to give spiritual direction to the English Benedictine nuns there, a manuscript was written out, July 1724, in the Paris daughter house by an anonymous English Benedictine nun, speaking of him as 'father Anonimus'. (This was how Father Baker styled himself in his Life of Gertrude More.) Cambrai's foundation of Our Lady of Comfort would become Stanbrook Abbey , Worcestershire, and Paris' foundation of Our Lady of Good Hope, Colwich Abbey , Staffordshire, both communities returning to England from which they had lived for centuries in exile, following the French Revolution. Dame Gertrude More was the most prominent of the young English Foundresses, 1623, of Our Lady of Comfort, dying in 1633, Dame Catherine Gascoigne was its Abbess from 1629-1676. This manuscript's centennial celebration of Father Augustine Baker's method of prayer, suppressed by an atheist revolution, lost to its religious communities, deserves today being shared and used, by Stanbrook, by Colwich, and by ourselves, by religious and lay, women and men.

Dame Gertrude More and Dame Catherine Gascoigne both wrote defenses of Father Augustine Baker's teaching on prayer, presenting these to the General Chapter of the English Benedictine Congregation in 1633, when all their contemplative manuscripts were called in and examined at Cambrai. During this process, Dame Gertrude was stricken with smallpox and died. So persuasive were their two texts that the English Benedictine Congregation's Chapter told the surviving Dame Catherine, 'Goe on couragiously, you have choosen the best way: we beseech Allmighty God to accomplish that union which your hart desireth'. Dame Catherine was to have to resist again, in 1655, as Dom Augustine Baker had foretold them would happen, against the calling in again of all their contemplative manuscripts. On her deathbed in 1675, Dame Catherine Gascoigne appealed to the then-President of the English Congregation, Dom Benedict Stapylton for 'a new and very ample confirmation' of these writings, 'as being the greatest treasure that belongs to this poor community'. One reason for this conflict was that Father Augustine Baker had revived the medieval form of contemplation through studying and sharing such fourteenth-century texts as Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love , Walter Hilton's Scale of Perfection, William Flete's Remedies Against Temptations, The Cloud of Unknowing, and the works of the Continental Friends of God , like John Tauler and Henry Suso . What had become fashionable instead were the Jesuit Spiritual Exercises, of imaging, though these in turn reflected far more ancient practices connected with Paula 's worship in Bethlehem and Calvary, oberved by Jerome, and copied by countless pilgrims to the Holy Places. Those contemplative writings were lost at the French Revolution, apart from two small manuscripts, one of these the Cloud Author's 'Epistle of Privat Counsell', that were preserved in the nuns' pockets during their imprisonment, 1793-1795, part of that time with the French Carmelite nuns, who were to be guillotined, in the Compiègne prison. These two manuscripts are now treasured at Stanbrook Abbey, along with the clothing of the executed Carmelites.

However, the Cambrai nuns had already founded a daughter house in Paris, in 1651, and had made sure that all their precious manuscripts, among them, Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love , were duplicated, many being written out by Dame Barbara Constable , O.S.B., who remained at Cambrai, and that these texts were taken with the nuns going to Paris, Dame Clementia Cary , their mother foundress, Dame Bridget More , their prioress. The Paris Our Lady of Good Hope carefully stated in their Constitution, in both the French (written by Dame Bridget More) and English (written by Dame Clementia Cary) versions, their desire to continue Dom Augustine's legacy of spiritual reading and writing, so doing deepening their call to the Benedictine religious life. Dom Serenus Cressy became the chaplain of the Paris nuns and saw to it that Dame Gertrude More's writings (1657,1658), including Gertrude More's defense of Augustine Baker's teachings (made at the same time as Catherine Gascoigne's), Augustine Baker's Sancta Sophia, Holy Wisdom (1657) and Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love (1670) were all printed and published. Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love's publication was under the patronage of  Abbot Placid Gascoigne of Lamspringe, Dame Catherine Gascoigne's brother and likewise a Benedictine, during her lifetime (A. Allanson, Biography of the English Benedictines, Ampleforth Abbey, 1999, on Placid or John Gascoigne, as Abbot, 1651-1681), Serenus Cressy noting in his preface, 'Whatsoever benefit thou mayst reap by this Book; thou art obliged for it to a More Venerable Abbot of our Nation, by whose order and liberality it is now published, and by Consequence sufficiently Approved', the marginal note identifying the benefactor as 'The V.R.F.Jo.Guscoyn.L.Abbot of Lamb-spring'. Indeed, it is likely that Catherine Gascoigne, or her sister Margaret, brought the Julian manuscript to Cambrai in the first place. The Gascoigne family claimed Sir Thomas Gascoigne, Chancellor of Oxford and devotee of St Birgitta's Syon Abbey, as relative. The Lowes , connected with Syon Abbey from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, owned Julian's Showing. Dame Margaret Gascoigne wrote about Julian's Showing, and Dame Bridget More copied her text. The Mores and Gascoignes would logically have entered Syon Abbey, then in exile in Lisbon, but for a libel published by a pirate against Syon, causing these English families with the greatest Brigittine ties, to break them and found instead Benedictine Cambrai. Thus the precious legacy of Julian of Norwich Showing of Love manuscripts changed from Brigittine cloisters to Benedictine ones, the Westminster, Amherst and Paris texts being Brigittine, Paris representing the text prepared for Tudor/Elizabethan printing by the Brigittines, the Gascoigne, Upholland, Sloane, and Stowe being Benedictine, likewise the first successfully printed edition by Serenus Cressy.

The Paris English Benedictines, as were the Cambrai English Benedictines, were imprisoned during the French Revolution, but upon finally being freed were able to negotiate the return of most of their manuscripts and books to England, where they are now to be found at Colwich Abbey. However, this manuscript, written by one of their nuns, likely found in her cell at her death as was the custom with such contemplative collections, ended up in Paris' Bibliothèque Mazarine.
 
 
 

~ Nothing has my lord god left un
-done which might win me wholy to
himself, and make me to dispise my
self, and all created things for his
love. for when I sinned, he recal'd
me and forsook me not in that my
 

Permission, Ampleforth Abbey Trustees
 

                      Colections D.G.               322

 
misery of offending such an infinit
goodness so shamefully, & that alsoe
after my entrance into religion,-
nay even after my proffesion in that
blessed state, the hapiness, & worth
wherof I did not yet know by which
means I grew weary of tending bear-
-ing therin his sweet yoke and
light burthen, the which is heavy
only thro our fault, & not in it self
through which default & ignorance
of mine, it became so greivous, and
intolerable to me, that I wish'd oft-
-en it might have bine shaken of from
by me pretending it was soe incom-
-patible with my good, that I could
323          Colections D.G.

scarcely work my salvation, in
this my state & profesion, this my
god you are wittness of was true, &
soe it did continue with me about
two years, after that I had in show
forsaken the world, & the world, ind-
-eed forsaken me, but did my lord
in these biter afflictions forsake me
no, no, but he provided such a help
for me, that quickly was my sorrow
turn'd into joy, yea into such an un-
speakable joy, that it has sweetned
all the sorows which since that time
has befalen me, for as soon as my soull
was set into a way of tending to my
god by prayer and abnegation, I found
 

           Colections D.G.                324

all my miseries presently disperse
themselves, & come to nothing; yea
even in five weeks my soull became
so enamour'd with the yoke of this -
my dear lord, þt if I must have ma
de not only four, but even four th-
ousand vows, to have become wholy
dedicated to him, I should have em-
-braced this state with more joy, and
content then ever I did find in obta-
-ining that which ever I most of all
wish'd & desir'd; yea & thou knowest
my god by my souls being put into a
course of prayer, I seem'd to have now
found a true means, wherby I might
love without end, or measure.


325          Colections D.G.

~Woe to that soull, who over-
-come by threats, or persuasions
from without or by temptations
within her, or other occasions wt
soever gives over her mental pra
yer by mean wherof only she is ca-
-pable of diserning & folowing the
divine tract, inspiration, & will whnce
her whole good is to proceed, & ther
fore O you souls especialy that are
the more capable of internall pray-
er doe you accordingly prosecute it,
and be gratefull to god for the grace
of it, for it causeth the greatest ha-
-piness that is to be goten in this
life & an answerable hapiness, in
the future.
 

              Colections D.G.                  326

by it in this life one paseth through
all things how hard & painfull soever
they be by it we come to be familiar
even with god himself, & to have our
conversation in heaven, by it all im-
pediments will be removed between
god and the soull, by it you will receive
light & grace. for all that god would -
doe by you, by it you will come to reg-
-ard god in all things, & profitably
neglect your selves. by it you shall
know how to converse one earth
without preiudice to your selves souls,
and infine by it you will praise god
& become so united unto him, that
nothing shall be able to seperate
 

327         Colections D.G.

you for time or eternity from his
sweet goodness.

 

JULIAN OF NORWICH, SHOWING OF LOVE I, II, III

DAME MARGARET GASCOIGNE, DAME BRIDGET MORE

DAME BARBARA CONSTABLE, UPHOLLAND MANUSCRIPT

'COLECTIONS', MAZARINE 1202,  I AND III

SPIRITUAL LETTERS OF ARCHBISHOP FÉNELON TO MADAME GUYON, MAZARINE 1202, IIA

SPIRITUAL LETTERS OF ARCHBISHOP FÉNELON TO MADAME GUYON, MAZARINE 1202, IIB

DAME GERTRUDE MORE'S DEFENSE OF FATHER AUGUSTINE'S WAY OF PRAYER, 'COLECTIUONS, MAZARINE 1202

DAME CATHERINE GASCOIGNE'S DEFENSE OF FATHER AUGUSTINE BAKER'S WAY OF PRAYER, 'COLECTIONS', MAZARINE 1202, IV

AUGUSTINE BAKER WEBSITE Link §

Augustine Baker:

*Augustine Baker OSB. Alphabet and Order. Ed. John Clark. Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Salzburg, 2001. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr Augustine Baker OSB. Holy Wisdom or Direction for the Prayer of Contemplation. Introduction Dom Gerard Sitwell OSB. Wheathampstead: Anthony Clarke Books, 1972.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. St Benedict's Rule. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.24, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2005. 2 vols. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Collections I-III and The Twelve Mortifications of Harphius. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.21, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2004. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Directions for Contemplation. Book D. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.11, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 1999. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Directions for Contemplation. Book F. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.12, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 1999. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Directions for Contemplation. Book G. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.13, ed. James Hogg. Salzburgu: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2000. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Directions for Contemplation. Book H. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.14, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2000. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Discretion. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.9, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 1999.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Doubts and Calls. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.102, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 1998. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Five Treatises: The Life and Death of Dame Margaret Gascoigne; Treatise of Confession. Analecta Cartusiana 119.23, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2006. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. A Secure Stay in all Temptations. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.8, ed. James Hogg. Salzburgu: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 1999. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Secretum. Introduction and Notes, John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.20, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2003. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Secretum. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.7, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 1997. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. A Spiritual Treatise . . . Called A.B.C. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.17, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2001. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*Fr. Augustine Baker OSB. Vox Clamantis in Deserto Animae. Ed. John Clark. Analecta Cartusiana 119.22, ed. James Hogg. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2004. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.

*That Mysterious Man: Essays on Augustine Baker OSB 1575-1641. Ed. Michael Woodward. Introduced Rowan Williams. Analecta Cartusiana 119.15, ed. James Hogg. Salzburgu: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg, 2001. James Hogg, Salzburg, 2006.


 

JULIAN OF NORWICH, HER SHOWING OF LOVE AND ITS CONTEXTS ©1997-2015 JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY  || JULIAN OF NORWICH  || SHOWING OF LOVE || HER TEXTS || HER SELF || ABOUT HER TEXTS || BEFORE JULIAN || HER CONTEMPORARIES || AFTER JULIAN || JULIAN IN OUR TIME ||  ST BIRGITTA OF SWEDEN  ||  BIBLE AND WOMEN || EQUALLY IN GOD'S IMAGE  || MIRROR OF SAINTS || BENEDICTINISM|| THE CLOISTER || ITS SCRIPTORIUM  || AMHERST MANUSCRIPT || PRAYER|| CATALOGUE AND PORTFOLIO (HANDCRAFTS, BOOKS ) || BOOK REVIEWS || BIBLIOGRAPHY ||