Lisa Nicholas, an member of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (OCSP), has embarked on a project of bringing old spiritual classics of the Anglican and English Catholic tradition back into print in beautifully-designed new editions.
She calls her publishing venture Nova & Vetera Books: New Life For Forgotten Books.
A retired English professor, Nicholas has also has professional editing and graphic arts skills and discovered she loves designing books. That enjoyment coupled with her interest in the spiritual patrimony undergirding the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican tradition helped give rise to Nova & Vetera books. She intends to direct any profits from this aspect of her venture to the OCSP.
I recorded a podcast with Lisa Nicholas recently that is now up at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society’s website.
In it, she talks about the many riches in the English Catholic Anglo-Catholic tradition that will whet your appetite to discover or re-discover these patrimonial treasures.
Here’s an article from her website on two editions from the English Catholic tradition she hopes to publish soon:
Although “Anglicanism,” strictly speaking, dates back only as far as the rupture created when Henry VIII of England claimed the English Church as his own, cutting it off from the rest of the Catholic Church, the “legitimate patrimony” of Anglicans (to which Pope Benedict XVI referred in Anglicanorum Coetibus, the decree that created the Personal Ordinariates) extends back to the advent of Christianity in Britain. Thus, the English Church is almost as old as Christianity itself, and the English spiritual tradition is equally venerable — yet relatively unknown to most Catholics today, simply because Henry cut the ties with the past. So my interest, as a publisher, is to create handsome (but inexpensive) new paperback editions of some of the treasures of English spirituality, both from before the rupture with Rome and afterward.
The first two volumes I’ll publish in this “English spirituality” series illustrate the continuity that survived despite the efforts of many English churchmen to cut English Christians off from their Catholic heritage. The first will be the shorter form of Julian of Norwich’s “Shewings” or “Revelations of Divine Love.” All but one of the extant manuscripts that preserve Julian’s account of a series of mystical encounters with Christ include her reflections on that experience written over a period of decades. This is referred to as the “long text.” But a single manuscript (possibly the earliest one) preserved what was probably the earliest version of Julian’s account, written within a few years of her visions. This “short text” does not include the lengthy reflections that “unpack” the theological implications of her visions, found in the other manuscripts. The longer version has been published many times, with various “translations” (i.e., updated versions of Julian’s fourteenth century English) and scholarly interpretations, but the shorter text has been passed over since it was first made public by the Rev. Dundas Harford, who published it in 1911 under the title Comfortable Words for Christ’s Lovers.
The second volume will be a fictional work by Robert Hugh Benson entitled The History of Richard Raynal, Solitary.
Whereas the “short text” of Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century anchorite (or “solitary”) was actually lost in a library and only rediscovered at centuries later, Benson’s story of Richard Raynal is a fictional account of another young “solitary,” this one male, a fifteenth century hermit rather than an anchorite. It’s not clear whether Benson’s book was inspired by the rediscovery of Julian’s work, but it certainly seems possible. At any rate, Benson creates a fictional frame for the tale, in which he “discovers” a fragmentary account of Richard’s life– supposedly written by the priest of Richard’s village after the young hermit’s untimely death — in the library of a religious order in Rome, creating a kind of fictional parallel with the rediscovery of the historic Julian.