06 January 2012

A Mass for St Hildelitha and St Cuthberga

St Hildelitha and St Cuthberga are wonderful examples of the extraordinary religious women produced by the Anglo-Saxons, along with St Hilda of Whitby and St Ethelberga of Ely. St Hildelitha founded a convent at Barking, which St Cuthberga joined; St Cuthberga later founded a 'double monastery' (of monks and nuns, on the same site but with separate enclosures) at Wimbourne and led a group of nuns on St Boniface's German mission. They are celebrated together, in the 1962 Calendar, in Brentwood diocese on 3rd September. Here's a stained glasss window showing St Cuthberga.

Their Mass is 'Virgines laudent nomen Domini', a Mass for 'All Virgins' (ie not only martyrs) which in 1914 was for some reason restricted to 'Certain places': that is, it stopped being used for saints in the Universal Calendar. This means that it is not to be found in the Liber Usualis; it is still in the Graduale Romanum, however, which has a section at the back for Commons used in Masses for Certain Places, and I have assembled a booklet from the Graduale scanned by the Church Music Association of America. Here they are.


The chants are ancient, but only in Brentwood Diocese on 3rd September, if you are lucky enough to be able to attend a Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form, are you likely to hear them in a liturgical setting, at least in England and Wales.

This concludes my series of English and Welsh feasts for the time being. All of these chants, and a couple more, are to be found on the LMS website here.

1 comment:

  1. The convent in Barking was founded by St Erconwald, who went on to be Bishop of London, in 666. His sister, St Ethelburga of Barking (there are two other St Ethelburgas) was the first Abbess. She is patroness of my parish here in Barking. Hildelithe and Cuthburga were also nuns here at some time.
    Fr William R. Young, Parish Priest of Barking