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and as the Flemings had often been refused, it was not fair to break the inclosure now for an English nun. In spite of-or rather because of-her strictness, Mother Margaret was much beloved by her nuus, thongh they were of many nations and different classes in life, and certainly lived very hardly.
"The bread was of coarse rye, their beer exceeding small. Their ordinary fare was a mess of porridge made of herbs called warremus [? ] sodden together with water only, and therewith they added at dinner a little piece of black beef about the greatness of two fingers, and at night for supper they had only a dish of some three or four little pieces of mutton sodden with broth, which was to pass a table of ten nuns, and to this was added bread and butter, and nothing else."
This tempting fare was exchanged in Lent for porridye and half a herring each nun, and peas dressed with lamp-oil. Once a week the mayor's wife gave them in charity a mess of salt fish with some salad oil, “which was accounted great cheer.” Their collation was a piece of black [rye) bread, small beer, and once a week a piece of gingerbread. The Flemish nuns suffered in cheerful silence seeing their English sisters better fed with white bread and oatmeal porridge, for, with that characteristic weakness of digestion which seems allotted to our race through many ages, they could not eat the Flemish food, and would simply have starved upon it. The English ladies, however, were not a whit behind the rest in industry and cheerful obedience. They shared in the general wash, including the foreign mode of beating the linsey-woolscy habits, &c., till all their bones ached, steeped the linen in lye which took the skin off their hands, madle up the heavy batches of rye bread, mended and kept the paved courts in order, and swept the conreut. They also wove the coarse linen in clumsy looms, which even the nu historian says was “a man's work, and very hard for tender women.” The English nuns also, being young, helped the old Dutch religions in their cells to go to bed, and swept their cells with joy and humility for God's sake, such as might in the world have been their chamber-maids."
This insight into convent life of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries shows us how far harder and more painful it was, and what heroic courage the multitude of English women showed who were not only driven away from their beloved country, their own surroundings, and the very use of their language, but had also to suffer the additional hardships of new customs, habits, climate, food, and occupations. They had not even daily recreation, which is so great an outlet and assistance to heavily-tasked nature ; but were allowed to talk two afternoons only in the week, and during the whole of Advent and Lent had no recreation at all. They had then also a much longer and more cumbrouz office thau the Roman rite, and got up at midnight for matins.
Although the English nuns were saved from religious persecution, they suffered many things in the Low Countries. During Mother Margaret's prioress-ship the town was several times assaulted, once by the Prince of Orange, and filled with soldiers. Their convent was once flooded to the altar, when the Blessed Sacrament had to be carried up into a garret, and they endured successively both pestilence and famine. In this last affliction the community was saved by English alms. The account of Mother Margaret's
jubilee, or 50th year of profession, is very curious, and is most quaintly and simply told. It was in the year 1606, and a general contribution was made,
a to be able to show as grand a function as possible; part of which —"a whole set of viols" played at mass-would have greatly disturbed the equanimity of some of the Bishops of our own day. The choir and church were all “hanged” with costly stuffs, green cords, and pretty devices. “After mas the crown was set upon the head of the nun of fifty years, and she was led into the choir by two of the 'ancients.' The rejoicings were kept up all the week in various religious ways, and the townspeople were invited to the convent to pay “the old Mother” their respects. The Sub-prioress gave leave for all these preparations, which if Mother Margaret had known she would have “letted." The various religious houses of Mechlin played their part by sending their choristers in turn each day to sing, "and so the whole week was brought about with great jubilation.”
The foundation of S. Monica's, the offshoot of S. Ursula's, seems to have sprung entirely from the presence of the English nuns ; and although Mother Margaret had then been blind for six years, she willingly offered herself for “the naked house, which had nothing but the bare walls.” First, there was a chapter, and the nuns about to leave humbly acknowledged their faults in the usual manner, “the old mother” leading the way, “and with such fervour desired pardon for whatever might in the time of her government have given them cause of offence, that she made them almost all to weep.” Then the Dutch mother followed, and asked pardon for whatever might have disgusted the English nuns. After this there was a Messa cantata and Communion, and a general leave-taking. They went through the streets two and two, in hukes (cloaks), and “the people ran out of their houses to look at them, and said, 'Oh! they knew the old mother of S. Ursula's,' who came last, led by the Reverend Father Fen on the one side, and Mr. Worthington on the other.": Mr. Worthington carried them in triumph to his own house, where he had prepared, unknown to them, a great dinner for these simple, good women ; and the Jesuit Father Talbot, Rector of the English College, met them there, and brought with him “two great tarts, the one of minced meat made costly, the other of fruit very good.” Mr. Allen had these “tarts” sent on to the convent, where they served the sisters for a whole week. After they had gone on to the new convent and dressed the altar, and Father Fen had blessed some holy water, the nuns arranged their beds and furniture, and the rooms for Father Fen and the male servant Roger. They had laid in a barrel of beer and a batch of bread, but when the supper-time came, and each nun sat down to her one egg and bread and butter, they found that there was not even salt in the house, to eat with the eggs.
The eighth nun was Frances Herbert, the daughter of Sir Edward Herbert, the ancestor of the Powys family, and later on the Bishop sent eight more from S. Ursula's, after which the convent was established in its usages, and began to flourish. “The old mother,” after welcoming her two great-niecesCopleys of Gatton in Surrey—to the convent [1610), was taken ill one day in choir, when, carrying out her courageous endurance to the last, she would not move till the office was ended, and died four days afterwards in great peace.
Those among our readers--and they are many-in whose ears the name of “Mother Margaret” is a pleasant household word, will be deeply interested in every detail of this former “valiant woman," whose sound English Catholic stock was also, like hers of our own time, fed and strengthened by examples of Flemish virtue and self-denial.
Father Morris has further done us excellent service by his clear summaries, introducing each paper.
It is not possible to give even the slightest account of the remaining contents of Father Morris's volume, though the chronicle of S. Monica's convent alone would well occupy many pages, and the short extracts from Sir IIenry Tichborne's manuscript writings will be read with the deepest interest by all.
Looking back to the splendid achievements of the English Catholic families, so filled with heroic virtue, chivalrous daring, and storied names, il certain sadness creeps upon us as we hesitatingly ask ourselves whether our present and future prospects are likely to equal the annals of the past ? Whether this faith, loyalty, and self-denial, or powers of “ enduring hardness” in our growing members are as conspicuous as in their forefathers ? It is well at times to measure our progress and growth by some high standard, and Father Morris has performed a singularly opportune work by bringing the English Catholic body face to face with the splendid deeds of their forefathers of a troubled generation.
Sequel to the Conversion of the Teutonic Race. S. Boniface and the Conversion
of Germany. By Mrs. Hope, author of “Early Martyrs,” &c. With a Preface by the Rev. Joun BERNARD DALGAIRNS, &c. Washbourne.
1872. N our April notice of the first portion of this work, “The Conversion of
the Franks and the English,” we adverted to its special value as showing the Divine vitality and abidance of the Church as put forth in her history, and her identity-though manifold in circumstance—with herself in all ages. In his admirable Preface to the “Sequel," Father Dalgairns touches upon the same point, and goes on to urge that history must be told as a whole, and not with a view to “edification.” We rejoice that such a voice has been raised against a certain one-sidedness of narration, which has before now done some mischief. If history had always been studied and written in full, whether “edifying” or not, what we may now call Döllingerism could never have triumphantly pointed to its “discoveries” of historical truth.
“The origin of this book," Father Dalgairns says, “lay in a deep conviction on the part of both author and editor that the great proof of the Divine origin of the Church is its history. I believe that the more the grand story of the Catholic Church is known, the more it will be certain that the Christian revelation lies historically in the Church in communion with Rome; that
that has ever been the centre of its life, and that all bodies out of it are visibly sects in a state of dissolution and death. ... . History is often written as if its end were edification. It must be remembered, however, that in the long run truth is always edifying, though isolated facts may often be scandalous and startling. .... To slur over scandals is to omit the enemy in the story of a fight. On the whole, the career of the Church has been one of most marvellous victory, and it only requires to be told courageously as a whole in order to make this clear."
The story of the guin and loss of the Church, again, which it is so marvellous to follow in its ebb and flow of grace, is touched upon in this preface in one or two masterly pages, which we much wish had been prolonged of the “Sequel" itself we shall not now speak at length, as we intend to refer to it more at large in connection with the preceding volume. It opens with the first English missions of the Northumbrian converts, who spread orer Ireland, and were there received most generously and supplied with “food, books, and teachers, free of all cost.” One of these pilgrims was the famous Bishop of Lichfield, S. Chad. Another, Egbert, who had intended going to convert the Frisians, but was ordered in a vision to give it up, went to Iona , and persuaded the Celtic monks to give up their obstinate adherence to their way of keeping Easter, and observing the peculiar tonsure which was called the “tonsure of Simon Magus.” S. Willibrord took up Eybert's work with the Frisians, but wentafterwards to the Court of France, where Pepin Heristal was then Mayor of the Palace. S. Willibrord was eventually a bishop, and died in 744, leaving his work to Winfred, a Devonshire man [Crediton), who is better known as S. Boniface, and who had been given to the Benedictine Abbey of Exminster, near Exeter, when he was six years old. This extraordinary man combined the chief best qualities of an Englishman. Brave and fearless as a lion, exceedingly modest and unpretentions, silent until called upon to preach or instruct, and then urging Christian truths with a power of nervous eloquence and a force of illustration which brought crowds to his teahing. Winfred was soon known as the most famous expounder of the Scriptures in England. A train of monks and abbesses eagerly sought his expositions of the Divine teaching, and to the common people he explained the parables of our Lord with singular force and practical application. In this way Winfred lived as a simple monk not in holy orders till he was two-and-thirty, when his superiors besought him to be ordained priest. Consenting with reluctant humility, he reverently confined himself to one mass daily, though many priests were accustomed, till the eleventh century, to say three or more. In 716 Winfred embarked on his missionary work in Friesland and in Germany, where the account of his labours is beautifully told by Mrs. Hope. Throughout his three years' travels and labours in Friesland, Winfred seeins to have looked upon it as a merely temporary resting-place, and to have been continually urged and guided by Divine suggestions, as a true Apostle, to extend his labours to the whole German people, and especially to the “Old Saxons,” in whom our English race has its source. The tone of Winfred's mind may be best discerned by a letter written to a young man called Nidhard, to inspire him with a great love and reverence for studying the Holy Scriptures.
“For what, Christian brother, is more worthy of pursuit by the young ? Or what is more valuable to be possessed by the old than the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, which, guiding the ship of our souls without shipwreck through perils and storms, will land us on the beautiful shores of Paradise, amid the unending joys of the angels? Wherefore, if Almighty God will, whenever on my way I return to those parts, as I purpose to do, I promise to be a faithful friend to thee in all things, and a devoted help, ils far as my powers go, in the study of the Holy Scriptures.”
On his second visit to Rome S. Boniface was orilained Bishop by Pope Gregory II., who gave him a special association with Rome. The account of his interview with the Pope, his oath on S. Peter's relics, and Gregory's prophetic words (chapter vii], must be read at length to be fully enjoyed. In 732 A.D., S. Boniface received the Archbishop's pallium from Pope Gregory III., and on his third visit to Rome met with a crowd of English pilgrims : Ina, who was founding his school, the English College, the Abbess S. Eadburga, and, above all, first S. Winibald, and then his brother, the pure, gentle, and most loving S. Willibald, the nephews of S. Boniface, who gave themselves up to their uncle, and both eventually laboured with and under him in Germany.
Every one knows the story of S. Boniface's martyrdom, when he was past his seventieth year, by the pagun Frisians, but every one has not heard it so stirringly set forth as in her twenty-second chapter by Mrs. Hope, of which we cannot attempt even a brief account. As he drew his daily strength and spirit of love from the Holy Scriptures,--so he died with the book of the Gospels in his hands,--and, lifting them up Heavenward as his last gesture, the Book was nearly severed in two by the blow which released him to receive his crown.
More than his missionary work had been done, for S. Boniface had prepared the way for Charlemagne and his strong Christian empire; and when it
o broke up, at the great emperor's death, it did not, as Mrs. Hope admirably observes, fall back into anarchy and Paganism, because of the spiritual unity the apostle of Germany had breathed into it.
While following the beautiful and life-like narrative of his labours, we are keenly aroused to invoke the martyred apostle that his spirit may finally awaken the Teutonic race of our own day to the vital need of loyal love to the Church. With this keystone secured, the future greatness of Germany can scarcely be measured, while, failing this, its newly-built empire will break up and perish, as the race of Merovingian kinys crumbled and decayed, and its place was found no more.
Historical Sketches. By John Henry NEWMAN. London : Pickering. THIS is the last volume which has appeared of F. Newman's reprinte.
on the “ Office and Work of Universities,” but now called more appropriat'