December 16 marks the beginning of a beautiful musical tradition within the Vincentian Family, the singing of the Christmas Novena.
The Novena for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, commonly known as the Christmas Novena, was composed in 1721 by Father Charles Vachetta, C.M., for use in the chapels and churches of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, beginning on December 16 and ending on Christmas Eve. Father Vachetta gathered most of his source material from the prophecies of the Old Testament which were especially concerned with the coming of the Redeemer, as well as the Roman Missal, the Breviary, and the Graduale Romanum.
Originally written in Latin, the Novena was edited and arranged in English in the 1960s by Sister Jane Marie Perrot, D.C., of St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The images seen here are covers from two editions of the Novena held by the Provincial Archives: the 1940 Latin edition (left) and the 1966 English arrangement by Sister Jane Marie (right).
For a scholarly article on the history of the Christmas Novena, see:
Rybolt, John C.M., Ph.D. (1985) “The Christmas Novena,” Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 6: Iss. 2, Article 6.