Novena for the Feast of the Nativity (St. Louis, 1940) (used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
Christmas Novena (Emmitsburg, MD, 1966) (used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
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.
Virgin of Guadalupe (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, commemorating the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe, near Mexico City, after the European conquest of the Aztecs. Mary, looking like a Mexican princess, appeared four times to a peasant named Juan Diego. She left her image on a cloak that is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Under this title, Mary was named Patroness of New Spain (1710) and Latin America (1910), Queen of Mexico, Empress of the Americas (1945), and Patroness of the Americas (1999).
The image seen here hangs in the Guadalupe Room on the Emmitsburg Campus.
Among the wonderful art works in our collections, the Provincial Archives boasts a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe presented by Mr. O’Conway of Philadelphia paid $200 for it in 1811 and presented it to Elizabeth Ann Seton. The donor, Mathias O’Conway, was the father of Cecilia O’Conway, first American Sister of Charity with Mother Seton. Another O’Conway daughter, Isabella, was a pupil at Mrs. Seton’s school on Paca Street, Baltimore.
For more on the Virgin of Guadalupe see our December 12, 2013 blog post.
Oil painting of Vincent de Paul (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
Today we mark the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul.
“So, our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but all over the world; and do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with His love.”
Vincent de Paul, Conference of May 30, 1659
(Letter #207, Correspondence, Conferences, and Documents, edited by Sister Marie Poole. Vol.12, p.215)