The Netherlands or Belgium
Ink on Parchment
i + 227 + i folios; 7.6 × 5.8 × 2.6 in. (19.2 × 14.8 × 6.7 cm)
Not on View
This fifteenth-century manuscript came from a convent belonging to the Birgittine order founded by St. Birgitta of Sweden (ca. 1303–1373). It contains a calendar of saints’ feast days, the Psalms according to the numerical order of the Vulgate (with the Athanasian Creed inserted into Psalm 118), the canticles (short hymns of praise from books of the Bible), a litany (or invocations to a list of saints) “according to the normal order of the sisters,” and the Birgittine Divine Office. While this resembles the Roman office or a book of hours in many features, it also contains Birgitta’s Sermo angelicus (The Angelic Discourse) broken into three readings a day for each day of the week. The Sermo angelicus is a devotional text focused on the role of Mary in the story of salvation. Her openness to God’s plan and her unwavering faith even as she witnessed the suffering and death of Jesus served as models for the sisters’ lives.
Created in a Birgittine convent in the early fifteenth century in the Netherlands or Belgium. Acquired by 1886 by Aaron Goodrich (1807–1887); Gifted on May 20, 1886, to Moses Goodrich (1802–1887); By descent to Nelson Goodrich (1843–1910); By descent in the family to 2011; Acquired in 2011 by David Lachman; Purchased in 2011 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry), under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.
Notes:  The calendar is nearly identical to the calendar of saints’ feast days for the diocese of Utrecht in the Netherlands found in Hermann Grotefend, Taschenbuch der Zeitrechnung des Deutschen Mittelalters und der Neuzeit, 10th edition (Hahnsche Buchhandlung: Hannover, 1960), accessed here: http://bilder.manuscripta-mediaevalia.de/gaeste//grotefend/grotefend.htm. The following three days have been altered from the Utrecht calendar to mark feast days associated with St. Birgitta: May 28 (the anniversary of the transfer of her body from Rome to Vadstena Abbey, Sweden), July 23 (the anniversary of her death, which the calendar calls her birthday, perhaps reflecting the belief that it marked her birth into eternal life), and October 7 (the anniversary of her canonization as a saint in 1391). The text of the Sermo Angelicus closely follows the critical edition of the text in Sten Eklund, ed., Samlingar Utgivna av Svenskafornskriftsällskapet, Ser. 2, Latinska Skrifter, Band VIII:2, Sancta Birgitta, Opera Minora II, Sermo angelicus, (Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri AB: Uppsala, 1972) 79–137, accessed here: https://litteraturbanken.se/f%C3%B6rfattare/Birgitta/titlar/OperaMinora2/sida/79/faksimil. Of the eight Birgittine convents in the Netherlands and Belgium during the Middle Ages, one was in Utrecht (Marienwijngaard) and two were in the neighboring towns of Gouda (Mariënsterre) and Soest (Mariënburg). All three were double convents for women and men according to the list linked to the website “Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections” found here: https://www.mmdc.nl/static/media/2/29/List%20of%20institutions%20as%20owner%20and%20or%20producer.pdf.  “AGoodrich” is stamped below the end of the calendar on folio 12r and on the blank folio 14r that also contains the inscription recording his donation of the manuscript to his brother Moses. Aaron Goodrich served as the first chief justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1849–1851), helped to organize the Minnesota Republican Party, and served as the secretary to the United States’ legation to Brussels (1861–1869). See Robert Voight, “Aaron Goodrich, Stormy Petrel of the Territorial Bench,” Minnesota History, The Quarterly of the Minnesota Historical Society 39, no. 4 (Minnesota Historical Society: St. Paul, MN, 1964): 141–152, accessed here: http://collections.mnhs.org/MNHistoryMagazine/articles/39/v39i04p141-152.pdf. Dealer notes record that the manuscript was purchased in the nineteenth century in England; Goodrich likely acquired it during his time in Europe. The signature in the manuscript matches this one from the Minnesota Historical Society http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00412/pdfa/gr00412-000001.pdf.  Inscription on folio 14r.  An inscription dated October 25, 1893, states, “Nelson Goodrich’s Book Goodrich Michigan.” Dates for Moses and Nelson Goodrich of Goodrich, Michigan, found at this website: https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/LHX8-MX1/moses-goodrich-1802-1887.