Today, December 6, is the Feast of Saint Nicholas, so my quick takes this week will start with St. Nick:
Saint Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra, is associated with many legends and tales, not the least of which is his identification as the basis for our current-day Santa Claus. Last year I wrote a post for the Feast of Saint Nicholas that is filled with links, information, and some merchandise. Notably, the St. Nick goat’s milk soap made by the Summit Dominican nuns (pictured above) are available again this year. I can report that they were extremely popular with my recipients last Christmas.
Today is also the day that the tree will be set up in St. Peter’s Square. The display will also include a Franciscan-themed creche:
"Francis 1223 - Francis 2013" is the title of this year’s nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, marking the first Christmas of the pontificate of Pope Francis. For the first time, a Neapolitan crèche will be used in the exhibit, created by Antonio Cantone of the firm Cantone & Costabile. [snip] The scene will be [funded] largely by donations from benefactors, limiting the expense of the Governorate of Vatican City State. In addition, the Bavarian community of Waldmünchenu has donated a 25-metre high fir tree, weighing over 7 tons, to the Holy Father. It will arrive in the square on December 6th - source
[update: here’s a photo of the Vatican tree partly decorated:
If you are looking for some beautiful chant music, several religious orders have stepped forward with lovely recordings. In addition to two very successful chant CDs by Catholic sisters [“Advent in Ephesus” from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles and “Mater Eucharistiae“ from the Dominican Sisters of Mary] there’s a brand-new chant recording available, this time from some friars. The friars of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C have just released a CD of chant and polyphony “In Medio Ecclesiae”:
Recorded in historic St. Dominic’s Church in downtown Washington, D.C., the friars of the Dominican House of Studies, Province of St. Joseph, present In Medio Ecclesiae, the first release from Dominicana Records. Directed by Fr. James Moore, O.P., In Medio Ecclesiae offers some of the finest chant and polyphonic treasures of the Church’s musical tradition as well as two new compositions by Dominican friars. Proceeds from the sale of this album contribute to the educational and other needs of the Dominican students. - source
Here’s a preview:
Find a ordering information here
For the past two years, to mark the beginning of Advent, the blog A Clerk of Oxford has posted a wonderful assortment of medieval Annunciation images from the British Library. As she explains:
…seeking out the stillness of these images as an antidote to noisy internet chatter. … [M]edieval poetry of the Annunciation tends to emphasise the quiet, private, gentle nature of the moment when the Virgin conceived; it’s a good way to start a month which can be, for all its blessings, busy and tiring and clamorous.
2012’s post "Some Medieval Annunciations"
2013’s post "More Medieval Annunciations"
- Hieronomus Bosch, Triptych of the Garden of Earthly Delights - source
Sometimes a photograph of a work of art just doesn’t do it justice. Here’s a list of "Eight paintings every art lover must see in person" put together by Mental Floss. Which works would you put on the list?
How do museums clean delicate tapestries and textiles? With a vacuum cleaner it turns out! The vacuum is not your ordinary Hoover, however. As the The National Trust in the UK recently tweeted:
Ever wondered how we clean our most intricate textiles? This little fella is having a micro vacuum… pic.twitter.com/90NMR6teXc
We’ll end with a short video with clips from a Pange Lingua Mass at the gorgeous Sainte Chapelle in Paris. The video description explains the context:
This video is mainly a tribute to the great Saint King Louis IX of France, and his extraordinary work, la Sainte Chapelle (the Holy Chapel) in Paris. This marvelous Gothic work, consecrated April 26, 1248, is certainly one of the most wonderful works of art. The various images are of the exterior, upper chapel and lower chapel. The music, for which the video is entitled, is some excerpts from the Pange Lingua Mass. Enjoy!
To see more Quick Takes from around the blogosphere, check the links at this week’s roundup hosted by Jen of Conversion Diary.