[Puebla]: Real Seminario Palafoxíano, 1778.
Quarto: 22.5 x 15.1 cm. , xvi, , xvi pages. Collation: π2, A-C2, D2(-leaf D1, canceled); A-D2 (leaf D2 blank and present).
APPARENTLY THE SOLE EDITION.
Two copies of the same text, with minor differences in the wording of the title page. The first copy with an engraved frontispiece (see below). Bound in contemporary stiff vellum, lacking ties, large stain to the lower cover affecting the integrity of the vellum. The blank upper margin of the free end-paper and of the first few leaves have been nibbled, not affecting the text, and there is pronounced marginal worming to the outer margin throughout, not affecting the text. Pages (viii) and (xvi) of both copies have the same contemporary manuscript additions in the margins. The endpapers are intriguing. They are attractive 18th c. paste-paper. The watermarks on the paper are Spanish but the decoration was probably executed in Mexico. Sean Richards has raised the possibility -only a gut feeling- that the papers “were made in Mexico by someone (a Spaniard) who was trained by a Netherlandish binder.”.
The engraved frontispiece, depicting Saint Jerome translating the Bible, was made by Puebla's greatest engraver, José de Nava (1735-1817), and is signed by the engraver “Nava sc.[ulpsit]” at Puebla [“Angelipoli”].
These are instructions and prayers for the investiture ceremonies of nuns entering the Hieronymite convent associated with the Conventual Church de San Jerónimo in Puebla. The instructions are given in italic type; the prayers to be performed during the ceremony are printed in roman. The rather large type could indicate that the book was intended to be used as a guide during the ceremonies.
No other copies traced. Not in CCILA, Medina (Puebla), Palau, OCLC, or elsewhere.
Founded in Spain in the 14th century, the Hieronymites are an enclosed order of nuns. They wear the white tunic, white coif, black veil, black scapular and black mantle, as well as a shield. The most famous Mexican member of the Order remains the poet-philosopher Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The convent of the Order of San Jerónimo in Puebla, founded more than 400 years ago, is still active.
The foundation of the Pueblan convent dates back to 15 July 1600. In 1586, Father Hernando Jerónimo de Santander, with the financial support of Don Juan Barranco, had founded a girls' school in Puebla dedicated to San Jerónimo. On 21 February 1597, Barranco received authorization from Pope Clemente VII to establish a convent. In 1600, Bishop Don Diego Romano welcomed four nuns from the Hieronymite monastery of Mexico City to formally found the convent of Puebla, with the aim of having the nuns run an orphanage under the name of Colegio de Jesús María next to their convent, where poor girls and orphans of Spanish parents would be cared for. It was not until 11 August 1635 that the Church of San Jerónimo was dedicated. On 18 July 1754 the convent made a formal vow of allegiance to the Virgin of Guadalupe after a number of the nuns were delivered from mysterious bouts of epilepsy.
In 1768, radical changes were imposed upon the convent “aimed at the establishment of a more perfect religious life, closer to the true Rules and Constitutions of the convent.” The nuns were to adhere to the “vida común”, individual cells were replaced by communal dormitories, niñas were no longer to sleep in the same rooms as the nuns, expensive ornamentation was forbidden, as were private servants; all goods were to be held in common. The nuns -like those in other convents throughout Mexico- complained bitterly of these reforms but to no avail. Young women entering into the convent in 1778, when this book was published, would enter into this new, difficult environment.
After she had passed from the church over the threshold of the convent, the assembled nuns received the aspirant, who was then led to the lower choir, where she kneeled, removed her worldly clothing, and received the habit and scapular, which had been previously blessed by the prelate. She then knelt in front of the abbess who cut her hair to the level of her ears. The prelate, accompanied by clerics, performed his parts of the ceremony from the other side of the cloister screen.
The novice, on her knees, reads aloud her profession card with her new name in religion, holding a copy of the convent’s constitutions and rules in her hand. The priest, prioress, and novice then sign the profession card.
At the end of the novitiate, after training and testing, the novice fully entered into religion: humbling herself on her knees before the Reverend Mother Abbess, she made the solemn profession of obedience, poverty, chastity and perpetual cloister. Thus renouncing to everything that might have a hint of power, vainglory, personal interests, well-being, or self-will.
See Alicia Bazarte Martínez y Enrique Tovar Esquivel (comps.), El Convento de San Jerónimo en Puebla de Los Angeles, Cuarto centenario de su fundación, Puebla, litografía Magno Graf, 2000