Thursday, 18 July 2019

Saint Catherine of Siena


On the website of the J Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles) we find a description of this beautiful work of art by Domenico Beccafumi painted in the second decade of the 16th century:
This small panel depicts an episode from the life of the Dominican tertiary and mystic, Saint Catherine of Siena. Upon arriving at church late one day because of her difficulty walking, Saint Catherine was dissuaded by her companions from taking communion because they knew her ensuing ecstasy would last for several hours. She concurred but prayed for God's help in receiving the Eucharist. Miraculously, an angel took a piece of the consecrated host and gave it to the saint. Celebrating Mass at a side altar, her confessor looked around with concern for the missing piece of the host. Neither he nor the others could see the miracle, so their expressions reflect bewilderment.

This panel and its companion, Saint Catherine of Siena Receiving the Stigmata, were probably made for the predella of an altarpiece dedicated to the saint.
We find the celebrant vested in a flowing linen alb ornamented with apparels to the skirt and cuffs.  He is wearing a cloth gold chasuble of very sparing ornament.  The shape of the chasuble is typical of this period, according to the specifications of S' Charles Borromeo, being very long (and pointed) but reaching only just beyond the elbows.

At an adjacent altar, a very large reliquary is seen resting upon the altar itself.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

A Night Prayer

Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; 
and by thy great mercy defend us 
from all perils and dangers of this night; 
for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

This brief but lovely prayer is found in the 1559 version of The Book of Common Prayer, and had its antecedent in pre-Reformation English Catholic use. The prayer was intended to be said at Evensong, the last Hour of the day.  But this prayer was of Catholic origin, being the last prayer of the Office of Compline in the Sarum Use.

The redoubtable Father Hunwicke has an exposition of this prayer for us, which is most interesting.

Whatever the intention of the ancient author of this oration, we can now look at Cranmer's choice of the translation "lighten" in two ways :

"Shed your light upon our darkness"   or

"Lift the burden of our darkness".

In such an understanding, Darkness may refer to our sinfulness, or to our spiritual or intellectual blindness. It is certainly a prayer for those who wish to be at rights with God before sleep descends.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Gothic Revival Festal Chasuble

Father Patrick May
In this post, we describe a set of vestments in the Gothic Revival style, which was commissioned by an ordinand in the United States.

These vestments, in the Studio's Saint Austin style were made from a fine English ecclesiastical brocade and ornamented with one of the Studio's unique braids, named Saint Marie.

Unfortunately, the simple elegance of this item of liturgical art was disturbed by our customer's subsequent addition of a disproportionate and unsuitable vesica or medallion to the front of the chasuble.


The Gothic Revival chasubles of the Studio, all of which feature our unique braids, are designed not to incorporate vesicas.  But most especially we have a policy of not placing vesicas on the front of any chasuble.  This will be the subject of a further post.

Readers may enjoy the adjacent image of this particular set of vestments as the Saint Bede Studio made them.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Vestments in the Mediaeval style

We are pleased to feature this set of semi-conical vestments, recently completed by the Saint Bede Studio for a returning customer from Canada.

The vestments were made from a beautiful English silk damask, in a shade of cream, with a lining of red silk.  The ornament is in the form of the Y orphrey, enriched with a chevron of red and gold brocade.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : Visit this page

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

For the Season "Per Annum" 2019 : 1

The Saint Bede Studio
As the Season Per Annum continues, we feature this simple set of green vestments, recently offered for sale by the Saint Bede Studio.

The vestments were made from a simple brocade which has beautiful drapery. The chasuble is unlined, but has a facing on the underside of the neckline to give a neat and substantial finish to the opening.

These vestments are in a lovely deep shade of green : quite distinctive. The ornament is formed from an orphrey braid designed by the Studio, being derived from the work of AWN Pugin. The colours of the braid are blue, gold upon a red base.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Quality versus Expediency :
If spending money on God's House is justified

Good-quality vestments, especially if they are handmade and use silk fabrics, are quite costly.  Indeed, they always have been.  In Australia, there is a prevailing mentality that spending significant amounts of money on such things is inappropriate and the Church should celebrate its liturgy more simply; its ministers should not appear to be ostentatious by wearing a richer quality of vestment. This same mentality is found all around the world, of course.

Is it perhaps not surprising that those who are uncomfortable with beautiful vestments being used for the Sacred Liturgy see little problem with having the latest electronic devices, very comfortable residences and annual overseas holidays?

Some years ago, on a website, was found a strategy for being able to afford a vestment which seemed too expensive.  It may be useful for readers.  It goes something like this...

Father had his heart set on a particular set of vestments, but didn't have the money to purchase them. The Parish had many commitments and could not justify making such a purchase. But the Parish did buy them and then they were put on display in the Church, with this sign:

"These new vestments were recently purchased. When we have raised enough money to cover their cost, they will be used at the Altar. Until then, they are only for display."

It didn't take too long for the money to be raised for the vestments to be used for Mass and more besides; in fact, enough for another set to be purchased! The Parish loves the vestments and loves to see Father wearing them for Mass.


There is another facet of this story which many priests will be familiar with : the Faithful appreciate being asked to contribute to the beautification of their Parish church and its Sacred Liturgy. After all, it is the Faithful who look at the vestments worn by the priest. Is it not natural to wish to look at things of beauty?

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Festal Dalmatic

Recently, the Studio completed this festal dalmatic for a returning customer, a priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia (USA).

Our customer commissioned this dalmatic to match existing vestments made by the Studio in 2011 and seen at this post.

Enquiries :
Visit this page

Friday, 14 June 2019

Whitsuntide 2019 : 2

The Saint Bede Studio
The Studio recently completed this set of red vestments (shewn in the adjacent image) which forms part of a benefaction to the Church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Lewisham (Archdiocese of Sydney).  This historic church has recently undergone a comprehensive restoration and refurbishment, for which the Saint Bede Studio was a consultant.

These attractive vestments were made from a lovely ecclesiastical brocade in red and were lined in a  gold-coloured taffeta. The chasuble is in the Studio's Saint Austin style. The ornament is formed from one of the braids designed by the Studio, in colours of green and gold upon red, based on the work of AWN Pugin.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : Visit this page

A section of the ornamental work designed by the
Saint Bede Studio for the chancel wall
of S' Thomas of Canterbury's church Lewisham

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Now is the hour ...

An importance notice to our customers :

If you are an ordinand intending to place a commission with the Studio for 2020, NOW is the time to contact us.  Please do not delay, since there is only a limited number of ordinands we can help each year.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Whitsuntide 2019 : 1

Borromeon vestmentsAfter some weeks, we are pleased to resume posts on vestments made by the Studio during 2019.  In this post, we feature a set of vestments made for a priest of the Archdiocese of Houston (Texas) USA in the Borromeon style.

The vestments were made in a rich red shade of silk damask and ornamented in the Roman manner with a brocade in burgundy and gold, outlined with one of the Studio's custom galloons.  The vestments were lined in a shade of bronze taffeta.

Enquiries : Visit this page

Borromeon vestments








Borromeon vestments