THIS RARE Bridgettine Breviary, now translated into English for the first time, offers to those who use it a weekly liturgy of hymns, psalms, readings and prayers in reverence and honour of our Blessed Lady. Until now the complete breviary, in use since the first foundation of the order at Vadstena, Sweden, in 1378, has only been available to the enclosed Bridgettine sisters.
This English translation, published in July 2015, commemorates the 600th anniversary of the foundation of Syon Abbey at Twickenham, near London, on the bank of the river Thames, by King Henry V in 1415.
Our foundress, St Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), in the Rule of our Saviour (which had been shown to her in a Revelation she received in 1346) stated that “the sisters every day in reverence of the Blessed Virgin Mary shall sing solemnly her Hours”. This was Bridget's greatest desire: the constant praise of God by women through the Virgin-Mother.
Following the increased use of the vernacular in the liturgy after Vatican II (1963-1966) Father Brian Foley (left) of the Liverpool Archdiocese completed the task of translating the Office for the sisters of Syon Abbey.
His work was two-fold. He not only translated the text but also adapted the plainchant melodies to fit the English words. Father Foley had already composed and published a number of hymns in the Catholic Hymnal.
Although our community was exiled from England at the Reformation by King Henry VIII and again by Queen Elizabeth I, our life of prayer continued. Sadly, while in Lisbon, we were unable to use our breviary.
But on our return to England in 1861 the sisters worked assiduously to return to the usage of this much treasured prayer, culminating in the publication of the Tournai edition in 1908.
Syon Abbey at South Brent in Devon, closed in 2011. Ten years previously the Rt. Rev. Christopher Budd (right) who was then Bishop of Plymouth, gave permission for us to publish this Daily Office of Our Lady for our own use and so that we might offer it to individuals for private use.
It is with great joy that we can at last offer this beautiful gilt-edged hardback edition of The Syon Breviary for study and prayer so that you may share in our daily prayer and praise of Mary and through her give honour and glory to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
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