Saturday 26 September 2015

A few words from a Studio customer

After a year of ups and downs for the Saint Bede Studio, this Appreciation, offered by one of our American customers, we are pleased to share with our readers :

Up until recently, it seems that major producers of liturgical vesture were more intent on recreating the Catholic aesthetic rather than reverencing it: catering to fads and novelty, rather than appealing to beauty and tradition.  Now, however, we can be grateful that truly dignified vesture is becoming more readily available to those concerned with cultivating authentic Catholic worship. The Saint Bede Studio has firmly established its place within this renewal, through the intelligently researched and carefully executed efforts of the Studio's proprietor, Michael Sternbeck. His workmanship and professionalism is to be highly commended, and customers will discover all those qualities to be expected in any true art: attention to detail, expert knowledge of methods, and quality materials.  Not unimportantly, in the Saint Bede Studio we have Catholic artisans working only for the Catholic Church.

A further word about materials is needed, however.  One of Saint Bede's most treasured assets must be its wide range of orphrey braids. These are designed by the Studio for the Studio's vestment-making use.  Few other producers of worthy Catholic vesture have access to materials made only for themselves. Without exaggeration, then, these unique braids thereby distinguish the Saint Bede Studio from every other producer of liturgical vesture. Certainly anyone in search of exceptional quality vesture of the Gothic Revival need look no further than the Saint Bede Studio. Still, as customers have come to understand, the work of the Studio hardly limits itself to this one style alone.

In the end, we can only be hopeful that renewal of Catholic worship will continue in many places. Quite simply, the Saint Bede Studio is to be highly, highly recommended. May God continue to bless and sustain its work: ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus.

Friday 18 September 2015

Priestly Ordinations 2015 : 9

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

This post concerns Father Andrew Garnett of the Diocese of Rockville Centre (New York, USA), who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of Saint Agnes (Long Island NY) on 20th June along with four other candidates.

Father Garnett commissioned vestments in the Borromeon form. The chasuble (shewn adjacent), was sewn from a white-coloured silk damask in colours of silver and straw-gold and was ornamented in the Roman manner with a brocade in the colours of old rose and old gold, outlined with a narrow galloon. The vestments were lined in a straw-coloured taffeta.

Please pray for Father Garnett and for all newly-ordained priests.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.


Father Garnett during the Offering
of his First Holy Mass.

Image supplied by Father Garnett.

During the Ordination Mass in
Saint Agnes' Cathedral, Long Island USA.
Father Garnett is pictured 2nd from the left.

Image from the Diocese of Rockville Centre website.

Interior of the Cathedral of Saint Agnes
presently undergoing restoration.

Friday 11 September 2015

Chasuble Styles of the Roman Rite : 2 (Revised)


A semi-conical chasuble
prepared by the Saint Bede Studio
for an American priest.

Frequently, the Studio receives enquiries asking about the distinctions between the different styles of chasubles. Comments are also often seen on websites which indicate that this subject matter is still not well-known. Although this has been written about before on the blog, we wish to present a series of articles describing the styles of chasuble down the centuries until our own time.

Semi-conical chasuble of S' Bernard 
kept at the Aachen Cathedral.

The modification of the shape of the chasuble which was handed on from the earliest centuries of the Church, and which was discussed in our previous article, seems to have been initiated solely for convenience to the wearer: the enveloping conical form greatly restricted arm movement. Although many authors specify the Thirteenth century as the period for the modification to the form, we find surviving chasubles  from the Twelfth century in the semi-conical form.

Semi-conical chasuble of S' Thomas Becket at the Sens Cathedral
Photograph reproduced under licence from Kornbluth Photography.

In the Thirteenth century, three further significant reasons brought about a desire to reduce the dimensions of the chasuble. The first was the introduction of the Elevations during the Canon of the Mass. The second was the rise of the private Mass, in other words, a Mass where the celebrant would not be assisted by a deacon and subdeacon (who were to lift and hold back the chasuble at certain points in the Mass to free the arms of the celebrant). Consequently, the celebrant had the need for a greater freedom of movement for his arms and the chasuble was redesigned in order to accommodate that. Additionally, the types of fabrics used for vestments changed from the Thirteenth century, and were heavier (often embroidered) and stiffer than the silks and wools used in previous centuries. In short, there were practical reasons to modify the dimensions of the chasuble.

How was the chasuble form modified? Modification happened in stages and not uniformly across the Church in the West. In the first instance, the semi-circular shape of the chasuble was cut back in such a way that the bulk of fabric to be supported on the arms was reduced. The chasubles depicted above, said to have been worn by Saint Bernard (1090-1153) and Saint Thomas Becket (1118-1170) are examples of this earliest modification. Notice that what had been a bell-shaped garment has become pointed. According to some scholars, the introduction of shoulder seams allowed the width of the chasuble form progressively to be reduced from the traditional conical form, but this will be discussed in the third article in this series.

Detail of a 15th century painting 
depicting Saint Augustine 
wearing a semi-conical chasuble.

The photograph of S' Thomas Becket's chasuble was made available by Dr Genevra Kornbluth.  It may not be reproduced.  Other images of the Becket vestments may be seen at the same site.

The back and front of a semi-conical chasuble 
made by the Saint Bede Studio.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Sunday 6 September 2015

Priestly Ordinations 2015 : 8

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

This post concerns Father Ryan Sliwa of the Diocese Springfield (USA), who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral Church of Saint Michael, Springfield (Massachusetts) on 6th June.

Father Sliwa commissioned vestments from the Studio inspired by Mediaeval exemplars. The vestments - a semi-conical chasuble and cope (shewn adjacent) - were sewn from a shade of ivory silk damask and were ornamented with a simple orphrey in colours of blue, red, ivory and gold.  The vestments were lined in a mediaeval blue taffeta.

Father Sliwa very kindly supplied us with photographs of his Ordination and First Holy Mass, which we are pleased to include.

Father Sliwa during the Offering of his First Holy Mass.

Father Sliwa flanked by a deacon and an assistant priest
during the celebration of his First Holy Mass.
Note the reliquaries upon the altar.

The Bishop of Springfield presenting the sacred vessels
to Father Sliwa during the Mass of Ordination.

Please pray for Father Sliwa and for all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

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