Today we glimpse into one of the smallest objects in Special Collections & Archives, a miniature volume measuring a mere 12 cm (4 13/16 in.). The devotional text entitled “Prières au saint sacrement de l’autel pour chaque semaine de l’année: avec des méditations sur divers psaumes de david” or “Eucharistic Prayers for Every Week of the Year with Meditations on Diverse Psalms of David,” was published in Tours, France in the year 1848.
The book contains four small, engraved illustrations, each measuring only 6.8 x 4.4 cm (2 11/16 x 1 3/4 in.).
Until approximately the 1870’s creating book illustrations required two steps: first, an artist produced a composition or design on paper; subsequently, an engraver transferred the desired picture to wood or cooper for printing. Therefore, beneath each illustration within the 1848 publication are the inscriptions “L. J. Hallez del.” and “A. Oleszczynski sc.” identifying Louis-Joseph Hallez, a French author and illustrator, as delineator or designer of the composition and Antoni Oleszczynski, a Polish engraver best known for his work as a portraitist, as sculptor, or in this case, engraver of the image.
Without further ado, below is a transcription of this week’s Eucharistic Prayer (as translated into English by Rachel Masters):
Only Son of God, who are one with your Heavenly Father, who want your disciples to be one with you, all formed of the same blood, who yourself have opted to unite with this blood, we present here the same earthly bread outside, the same heavenly bread within, so that you are in each of us, and each of us complete in you, and together a single body with you! Oh! How can you suffer amongst your brethren, amongst your children, even amongst your members, such fatal divisions? Sacrament of peace, sacrament of union, will you handle the matter of our wars and our discords? It is not just, Lord, that you descended from the cross to convert those who do not believe in you; their hardness is an obstacle to make them see your miracles. The miracle to do, Lord, for them and for us, is in their heart and in ours. Covert these hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, these hearts of flesh into hearts of spirit, and filled with your spirit, and then, Lord, we will worship you together at your alters and in your church, as your Angels worship you in heaven.
This and many other miniature books are available for viewing in Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30.
Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.