TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Prayer Book, with excerpts from JEAN GERSON, Opus tripartitum and MECHTILD OF HACKEBORN, Liber specialis gratiae; Penitential Psalms; prayers attributed to NICHOLAS OF FLÜE and KASPAR SCHATZGEYER

In German and Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
Southern Germany, Bavaria (Neuburg an der Donau?), c. 1515-1540

TM 801

ii (paper) +196 + i (paper) folios on paper, watermarks similar to Piccard “Krone” XII, no. 5: Verona, Aalen, Oettingen, 1506-1514; Piccard “Ochsenkopf” XII, nos. 793 and 794: Innsbruck, Rattenberg, Sterzing, Trient, Augsburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Rothenburg, Trier, Worms, 1509-1519; Briquet no. 12286, “Ours”: Ratisbon, 1514, Constance, 1514, Eichstädt 1515, Ulm, 1521, Nuremberg, 1524, modern foliation in pencil, top outer recto, 1-196 (collation i6 [+1, 2 and 3, singletons, ff. 1-3, pasted at the beginning of the quire] ii12 iii2 iv-v8 [+9 and 10, bifolium, ff. 40-41, added at the end of the quire] vi-x12 xi4 xii2 xiii4 xiv12 [+13-15, bifolium, ff. 124-125, added at the end of the quire, followed by bifolium, f. 126 and a stub, cancelled with no apparent loss of text] xv14 xvi-xvii8 xviii-xix12 xx12 [+13-16; two bifolia, ff. 193-194 and ff. 195-196 added]), no catchwords, leaf signatures, lower outer recto quire six and seven (in red), traces of numbering remaining in quires eight through ten, no ruling visible, written space varies depending on the scribe (justification 68-85 x 56-65 mm.), written in long lines in ten different hands: (1) f. 1r-v (see I below), in a hybrida libraria script in a faded brown ink in nineteen lines, (2) ff. 2-3v (see II below), in a slanted hybrida currens script in fourteen to fifteen lines, (3) ff. 4-9v and 121v-125 (see III and the end of X below), in a calligraphic hybrida libraria script in dark black or brown ink in sixteen to nineteen lines, (4) ff. 10-41v, 89r-v, 95v-105v, 127-194v, and 195v-196v (see IV, V, the end of VI, the latter part of VII, and XII below), in a hybrida script varying between libraria and currens with some gothic textualis forms in fifteen to twenty-one lines (5) ff. 42-81v and 90-95 (see the first part of VI and of VII below), in a hybrida libraria script bearing some resemblance to that of the third hand but with some different letterforms in sixteen to twenty lines, (6) ff. 82-88v (see the middle of VI below), in a careful hybrida libraria script with some gothic textualis forms, in dark brown ink in seventeen to eighteen lines, (7) ff. 106-107v (see VIII below), in a careful hybrida script in nineteen to twenty-one lines, (8) ff. 108-111v (see IX below), in a careful hybrida libraria script with some gothic textualis forms, in pale brown ink in fifteen to sixteen lines, (9) ff. 112-121 (see the first part of X below), rapid and sprawling hybrida script in fifteen to sixteen lines, and (10), f. 126 (see XI below), a rather rounded hybrida bookhand in dark ink in sixteen lines, rubrics mainly in red (with one in green on f. 52v), names and references to prayers and psalms underlined in red, majuscules in text stroked in red, red paraphs, one- to two-line plain red initials and one-line plain green initials alternating with these red initials between ff. 42 and 81v, 90 and 95, one- to five-line red initials on ff. 121v-122v, remnants of red leather tabs on the fore-edges of ff. 42, 54, 58, 71, 95, 127, 130, 155, 159, 182, and 187 and a tab-sized hole in the fore-edge of f. 106, a few corrections and additions made in the respective scribes’s hands and in a contemporary hand (possibly hand 4, but in a different ink), small blots of ink obscuring the text on ff. 8v-9 and 166v-167, some waterstaining (particularly on f. 1), outside edges are trimmed closely and there is cropping of the text along the fore-edges of some leaves (particularly ff. 2-6, 122-123, and 125), loss of text on f. 1 due to reinforcement along the inner edge of the leaf, some tearing and seaming of f. 1. Bound in nineteenth-century quarter leather over pasteboards, with fifteenth-century parchment on the sides (from a single manuscript leaf containing verses from Hosea and Isaiah and a German rubric copied in a fifteenth-century semihybrida script), smooth spine blind-stamped along top and bottom and lettered in gilt, “Deutsches Gebetbuch. 1500 1 Hälfte.” Dimensions 101 x 74 mm.

This wide-ranging collection of prayers and meditations bears fascinating witness to female monastic piety and practices in a Bavarian Benedictine house at the time of the Reformation; it was very likely complied, and even partially copied, by the abbess, Euphemia Pirckheimer, for her own use. Euphemia was the sister of the noted humanist Caritas Pirckheimer and of Willibald Pirckheimer, also a renowned humanist and friend of Albrecht Dürer.  Most of the texts in this manuscript (almost all in German) are unedited.


1. This manuscript has been assembled from a number of discrete leaves, bifolia, and booklets (numbered I-XII above and below) copied by many different hands on different paper with slight differences in decorative initials. Three scribes (3, 4, and 5 above) were responsible for copying most of the text in the early sixteenth century, based on the evidence of the script and watermarks. The third scribe’s attribution of an indulgence to Pope Julius II (f. 6v) establishes that booklet III could not have been copied before the beginning of his papacy in 1503.

The evidence suggests that the fourth scribe not only copied most of the manuscript, but may also have been its compiler. Two stints by the fifth scribe initiated two substantial booklets (VI and VII, copied on the same paper), both of which have been completed by the fourth scribe in addition to three substantial booklets copied entirely in this hand (IV, V, and XII). Marginal additions like those on ff. 84v and 123 may be in the hand of the fourth scribe.

The fragments of the address page of a letter visible on f. 195, cropped and rotated to supply the manuscript’s final two leaves, provide evidence of where the manuscript may have been completed, compiled, and used, as well as supplying a terminus a quo for its completion: “Der erwurdige in got fraw// Eufemia abbtissin des wirdig// gotshaws zu pergen meine// gnidige frawe//” (to the lady venerable in God, Euphemia, abbess of the worthy house of God at Bergen, my gracious lady). The blank spaces remaining on the rest of the bifolia (ff. 195v-196v), were used by the fourth scribe to copy the final texts. Though it is possible that this manuscript’s production units were not all produced concurrently, the content of this reused letter indicates that the manuscript could not have been completed earlier than 1530, when the letter’s recipient, Euphemia Pirckheimer (1486-1457), succeeded her sister Sabina as abbess of the Benedictine convent of the Holy Cross at Bergen in Neuburg an der Donau.

Though the manuscript lacks any definitive indication of her ownership, the evidence suggests that the fourth scribe was in fact Euphemia Pirckheimer herself, who not only copied part of the manuscript but supervised its compilation.  First, the evidence of this fragmentary letter suggests that Euphemia was an early owner of this manuscript, as has traditionally asserted (cf. statement on the second flyleaf).  Secondly, internal evidence suggests that this manuscript was almost certainly copied for use at Bergen.  Third, the hand of the fourth scribe bears an extremely close resemblance to those attributed to Euphemia and Sabina Pirckheimer in their correspondence with their brother Willibald (see images in Reicke, Scheible, and Wuttke, vol. 3, 1989, Abb. 7 and 8). The sisters employ remarkably similar letterforms; the chief difference in their hands in these letters is that Sabina writes in a more rapid, cursive hand and Euphemia leaves more space between lines as well as letters.  Either or both of the sisters may have contributed to the stints identified with the fourth scribe, though Euphemia’s script in the letter pictured bears a slightly closer resemblance to what is found in the manuscript, and given the presence of the fourth scribe’s hand on the reused letter, written after Sabina’s death in 1529, it is clear that Euphemia was involved in this manuscript’s production.

A booklet now included (but not bound) within a Breviary (Bamberg, Diözesanmuseum), may also have been copied by Euphemia. This booklet is thought to have belonged to a Caritas Pirckheimer (see Weißenberger, 1948-1949), most probably Caritas Pirckheimer the Younger (1503-after 1554), niece of Euphemia and a fellow member of the Bergen community (Hamburger, 1997, p. 279, n. 90). Given Weißenberger’s argument that the Breviary of Caritas Pirckheimer was made for use at Bergen, these two manuscripts warrant closer examination together, since they may be the only surviving manuscripts produced specifically for use at Bergen.

2. The materials used in this manuscript’s nineteenth-century binding, along with the inscription on its spine and those on its opening flyleaves, indicate that this book was in Germany or a German-speaking region at the time of its binding, presumably a rebinding, in the nineteenth century.


First flyleaf, recto, in nineteenth-century hand, incipit, “Altdeutsches Gebetbuch aus der Zeit 1500”;

Second flyleaf, recto, incipit, “Passions Betrachtungen und Gebete. von Eufemia Pirkhamerin circa 1500”;

The twelve booklets are described below in Roman numerals.

I. ff. 1r-v

f. 1r-v, […?]nach volgt ein betrachtung […?] gepets weiß wenn du an pfincztag nechten mit vnserem herren an Ölperg gest Pater noster dz gepet, incipit, “O herr Jhesu christe disen pater noster opfer ich dir … vnd an meinem lesten zeiten. Amen”;

to be said on Holy Thursday while contemplating Jesus at the Mount of Olives.

II. ff. 2-3v

ff. 2-3v, incipit, “// tods angsten zu hilff wellekumen …”; f. 2v, Sprich den psalm In te domine sp[era]ui vnd den Respons, incipit, “Ecce uidimus eum non habentem [sp]eciem neque decorem … [f. 3v, Alia oratio] … du für vns hast gepet am ölperg da dein schweiß ist worden//”;

A leaf appears to be lacking at the beginning and the end of this section, which contains an assortment of German prayers and Latin responsories associated with Holy Thursday.

III. ff. 4-9v

ff. 4-6v, Trina oratio ante matutina et post completoria ad patrem dic, incipit, “Pater noster qui es in celis … [f. 6v, Quando vadis dormire ] … et corde meo ad te semper vigilare. Amen”;

A collection of very common Latin prayers to be said before Matins and after Compline, including the Paternoster and Ave Maria, followed by a succession of prayers addressing God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and then an assortment of short rhyming prayers in Latin that address the child Jesus, to be said while performing daily monastic activities.

ff. 6v-7v, Julius der aller heiligst vater secundus des namens gibt auß veterlich heb allen cristgelaubigen menschen so mit andacht peten vnter dem geleut genant Angelica salutacio oder ad pulsum pacis dz hernachgeschriben pette achzig tausent iar ablaß, f. 7, incipit, “O du aller [added by a correcting hand: “er”] wirdigste künigin der parmherzigkeit ich grieß den erwirdigen tempel deines junckfraulichen leibs … gloriam et eterne capiamus gaudia vite. Per eundem”;

to the Virgin Mary, the first of which includes an indulgence granted by Julius II (sedit 1503-1513), followed by the Regina coeli, a hymn to the Virgin Mary included in the Divine Office during the Easter season, and related prayers.

f. 8, Omni vespere orandum deuote, incipit, “O clementissime deus [inserted above: “sic uel sic”] contra tuam bonitatem peccaui … [iij veritas] … et sancte matris ecclesie mandatum [inserted with tie mark: “et preceptum”]”;

The Tres veritates Gersonis is a brief excerpt from chapter 16 of Jean Gerson’s commentary on the Decalogue, the first part of his Opus tripartitum. Jean Gerson (1363-1429), chancellor of the University of Paris and one of the primary legal authorities at the Council of Constance. The Tres veritates circulated independently in a number of manuscript and print contexts in the late Middle Ages, often without attribution to the author (Schepers, 2011). They enumerate three conditions necessary to continue in a state of grace: the acknowledgement of sin, the desire for amendment, and a willingness to make a full confession. The rubric here encourages the repetition of these veritates after Vespers.

ff. 8-9v, Ex libro spiritualis gracie Mechtildis virginis …, incipit, “Ecce presento tibi pater colende filium tuum humilimum … [f. 9, Oratio] … Et deprecor te miserere nostri. Amen”;

Two excerpts from the Liber specialis gratiae of Mechtild of Hackeborn (1240/41-1298), German nun and mystic, whose visions were set down in Latin as the Liber specialis gratiae (Book of Special Grace), by her pupil Gertrude of Helfta and other sisters of the convent. Made public after her death, the visions recorded in the Liber  were widely popular in the late Middle Ages and an inspiration for personal reform for many. Two Latin prayers follow these extracts.

IV: ff. 10-23v

ff. 10-23v, Wie du dich solt üben in der lieb vnd erkantnus gocz an den suntag, incipit, “O du ewigs vnd höchstes gut mein got herr vnd schöpfer aller ding ich arme schnöde vnd durstige sünderin vergich vnd bekenn  … mach mich des vnd alles gutz teil hastig”;

dedicated to the love and knowledge of God on Sundays, to the recognition of all good in God, and to the ordering of work in God, followed by three prayers attributed to Saint Augustine.

V: ff. 24-41v

ff. 24-41v, Confiteor zu der meß sprich also, incipit, “O herr Jhesu christe mein getrewer erlöser vnd seligmacher … [f. 39v, Ein yetlicher mensch ist schuldig all suntag vnd feirtag sein hercz auf zu heben zu got seinen schöpfer …] … Gib vns dy freid die du hast verheissen den dy da anrieffen deinen heiligen namen. Amen”;

to be said at different points in the Mass, including the Confiteor, the Offertory, the Elevation, and the Sanctus, followed by prayers to be said before and with the Seven Penitential Psalms (beginning on f. 31v).  Accompanying rubrics also key each Psalm and prayer to the seven occasions on which Jesus shed blood in the Gospels, namely the circumcision, the blood-sweat shed on the Mount of Olives, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the stripping of his clothes (perhaps identified with the carrying of the cross, which generally holds this fifth place), the Crucifixion, and the piercing of his side. These are followed with a prayer to be said after the litany of the saints (beginning on f. 35v), five prayers to be said before the crucifix (beginning on f. 36v), and a prayer to the Holy Trinity on Sundays and holy days (beginning on f. 39v).

VI: ff. 42-89v

ff. 42-89v, Die oratio von den heiligen dz gancz iar teusch von sant andreas, incipit, “Maiestatem. O got wir piten im dich dein maiestat dz alß der selig andreas der apostel ist … [f. 89, Dicz gepet hat gemacht S Peter …] … vnd pist mit im herschen ewicklich an end. AMEN”;

German prayers for the intercession of particular saints, keyed to the Sanctorale (beginning with the feast of Saint Andrew and concluding with the feast of Saint Katherine) and the Temporale (with tabs marking the beginning, on f. 54, Ash Wednesday, and Easter); prayers for the feast of the Transfiguration, the dedication of a church, peace, and the canonical hours of Prime and Compline; a cycle of Passion prayers, in Latin and keyed to the hours of the divine office (beginning on f. 82); and a prayer in German attributed to St. Peter and equipped with an indulgence (beginning on f. 89).

VII: ff. 90-105v

ff. 90-103, Von den xij poten ymnus zu vns, incipit, “Es frolockt der hymel mit loben es widerhilt dz ertrich mit freuden dy ere der aposteln singen dy heiligen hochzeit … [f. 101, Dicz gepet hat gemacht sant Otilia] … Du weist vnser not dein nom sey gebundeit in secula seculorum. Amen”;

German translations of eight hymns from the Commons of the Apostles, Martyrs, and Confessors, followed by an assortment of prayers including several focused on the Holy Trinity (beginning on f. 95v) and one attributed to Saint Odilia, patron saint of Alsace (f. beginning on f. 101).

f. 103v, Bruder Closen gepet, incipit, “O mein herr vnd got nym mich mir vnd gib mich gantz dir zu aigen … gib mir alles dz mich füdert zu dir. Amen”;

The earlier of two versions of a rhyming prayer attributed to Nicholas of Flüe (1417-1487), a Swiss soldier, councilor, and judge who became a hermit and mystic in 1467 and was henceforth known as “Brother Klaus.” Known as “Klausens gewohnlich bet”, or customary prayer, the prayer survives in this early version in at least ten other manuscripts, not including this one, and five sixteenth-century print editions; the later version survives in only one manuscript and four sixteenth-century print editions (see Stirnimann, 1981, pp. 76-77). This version has been printed in three modern editions by Planzer (1938), who first identified it in a single manuscript, Ruh (1970), and Stirnimann (1981). The rhyme is slightly faulty here due to a rearrangement of words in the first line; in other copies, all three lines of the prayer end in “dir.”

ff. 103v-105v, Des schaczgers pater noster, incipit, “O herr Jhesu du öberster priester ich bekenn dir all mein sünt … So pit ich dich herr Jhesu christe dz du dich mir geistlich gebst dz ich mit mynder feucht enpfach denn durch dy sacramentlichen enphahung der du pist gebundeit ewicklich. Amen”;

Prayer attributed to Kaspar Schatzgeyer (1463-1527), a Bavarian friar who belonged to the Observant branch of the Franciscan order and defended the Catholic faith and religious orders against Reformation attacks.  Schatzgeyer corresponded with Caritas Pirckheimer, and the nuns at Bergen may have been familiar with him through this Pirckheimer connection.

VIII: ff. 106-107v

ff. 106-107v, So man dz heilige sacrament wandelt, incipit, “O herr himlischer vater ewiger got sich an dz ist der leib deines eingepornen suns meines lieben herren … vnd dich lob vnd eer hie vnd dort ewiglich. Amen”;

Two prayers to be said during the Elevation of the host and the chalice, respectively, along with another unspecified prayer.

IX: ff. 108-111v

ff. 108-111v, In den tag eins yeden heiligen, incipit, “Laudate dominum in sanctis eius. O herr almechtiger got ich lob vnd groß mach dein gütigkeit in dißen deinen heiligen N den du von ewigkeit erwelt hast … Vnd got on end mit dir zu loben. Amen”;

to be said on any saint’s feast day (with “N” indicating where the name of the saint would be said).

X: ff. 112-125v

ff. 112-125v, Das sind dy siben psalm der pueßwertikeit, incipit, “Am suntag. Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me neque in ira tua corripias me … V. Domine exaudi. R. Et clamor. V. Exaudiat nos omnipotens pius et misericors dominus. R. Amen. V. Et fidelium”;

The seven Penitential Psalms, each linked by the rubrics to a day of the week, followed by a litany of saints (beginning on f. 121v). The litany includes regionally significant saints, Boniface (patron saint of Germany), Ulrich (diocese of Augsburg), Gallus and Othmar (Benedictine abbey of St. Gall), Coloman (Melk), Rupert (Salzburg) Willibald and Walburga (patron saints of the diocese of Eichstätt), along with their brother, Wunibald. The inclusion of these last three supports the manuscript’s connection to Bergen, situated in the diocese of Eichstätt.

XI: f. 126r-v

f. 126, Ein oratio vom(?) den ablaß zu erlangen, incipit, “Got er du durch das leiden vnd tod deines eingepornen sun … lebt vnd regniet in secula seculorum. Amen”; [f. 126v, blank];

A prayer equipped with an unspecified indulgence.

XII: ff. 127-196v

ff. 127-150v, An dem suntag wenn man den Asperges syngt …, incipit, “O herr Jhesu christe mein getrewer erlöser bespreng mich mit dem ysopen … [f. 130, An allen suntagen oder andern gepoten feirtagen …] … Dz verleich vnß dy heilig vngeteilt driualtikeit. Amen”;

to accompany the Asperges (and keyed to its Latin phrases), followed by prayers to be said when honoring the Sabbath and holy days (marked with a tab on f. 130).

ff. 150v-184v, Merck von dein götlichen dienst ein kurcze nuczliche ler, incipit, “Item dy vij zeit alß vnß gepieten dy geistlichen recht … [f. 164v, Was du vnter den tagzeiten solt betrachten merck] … wann ich wil mich mit deiner hilf pessern. Amen”;

A “short useful teaching” regarding the observance of the liturgy with reference to particular psalms, versicles, and prayers recited in the Divine Office, followed by a prayer for Mary’s intercession (marked with a tab on f. 155), a brief discussion of what meditations and prayers are appropriate if time remains before the Office, and then a collection of these prayers in German and Latin.  These are followed by prayers to be said daily in conjunction with work (beginning on f. 159v marked with a tab) and the Office (beginning on f. 164v).

ff. 184v-185, iij warheit, incipit, “O herr mein got ich vergich deiner aller heiligsten gutikeit … vnd stat auß dem gemüt genczlich an stiftung”;

German translation of the Tres veritates Gersonis. The same text is also included in the original Latin in this volume (f. 8), where the rubric suggests that it be repeated every evening.

ff. 185-196v, Sprich ein miserere vnd iij pater noster …, incipit, “O du gebundeyte Junckfrau maria du ersynderin der genaden …”; f. 195, fragment of the address page of sixteenth-century letter addressed to Euphemia Pirckheimer; f. 195v [beginning imperfectly?], “alle widerwertikeit vnd in der stund meines tods mach mich verharren in deiner lieb … durch dz ewig leben dz sy dich an end[e?] mügen loben vnd eren. Amen.”

Three prayers, the first of which addresses Mary, following a lengthy rubric delineating a program of Latin prayers and the attitudes with which they should be said.  These are followed by a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s goodness and particularly for the suffering of Christ (beginning on f. 187 and possibly ending imperfectly), the conclusion of one prayer (possibly that initiated on f. 187 or a new prayer, beginning imperfectly), and one further brief prayer.

This manuscript’s breadth of contents, frequent use of the vernacular, small portable format, and many tabs are all characteristic of prayer books made for the personal use of nuns in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Though some of its prayers would have been read in liturgical contexts, many of the other works would have been central to its owner’s private devotions, as indicated in many of this manuscript’s rubrics and in the excerpts from Jean Gerson and Mechtild von Hackeborn.  A contemporary hand, quite possibly that of Euphemia Pirckheimer, has made corrections throughout, suggesting her investment in its accuracy.

Euphemia Pirckheimer (1486-1547) was born into a wealthy and erudite patrician family in Nuremberg. She was the younger sister of Willibald Pirckheimer (1470-1530), well-known Nuremberg humanist and friend of Albrecht Dürer, and of Caritas Pirckheimer (1467-1532), abbess of the Franciscan convent of St. Clare in Nuremberg and a gifted humanist in her own right. Euphemia and her sister Sabina (1482-1529) both entered the Benedictine convent of the Holy Cross at Bergen in Neuburg an der Donau, just south of Eichstätt. This venerable house had been founded in 976 by Wiltrud, Duchess of Bavaria and widow of Duke Berthold. Both sisters served as abbesses of the house, with Euphemia succeeding Sabina in 1530. Euphemia’s tenure as abbess was disrupted in 1544 when Otto Heinrich von Pfalz-Neuburg, Count Palatine, accepted the Protestant faith and dissolved the monastery. After Neuburg was occupied in 1547 by the imperial troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, the nuns were able to return to Bergen and Euphemia was reinstated as abbess until her death in November of 1547.

This is not the only manuscript that can be connected to Euphemia Pirckheimer and to Bergen. Paulus Weißenberger has described a roughly contemporary parchment booklet in which the same hand that copied two prayers has inscribed the name “Euffemie Pürckhamerinn” (see Weißenberger, 1948-1949, pp. 82-83). Weißenberger concludes on the basis of this inscription that Euphemia Pirckheimer copied this booklet herself. The booklet is now included (but not bound) within a Breviary (Bamberg, Diözesanmuseum) thought to have belonged to a Caritas Pirckheimer (see Weißenberger, 1948-1949), most probably Caritas Pirckheimer the Younger (1503–after 1554), niece of Euphemia and a fellow member of the Bergen community (see Hamburger, 1997, p. 279, n. 90). One other manuscript is known to have belonged to the library at Bergen, an illuminated thirteenth-century Psalter, but this book may have been produced elsewhere, in or for the Benedictine house of Komburg (Hamburger, 1997, p. 279, n. 90).

This manuscript here was certainly made for use in a southern German Benedictine house. References to chapter house and cell in the rubrics accompanying the prayers on ff. 5v-6v and to “vnsers Closters vnd Conuentz” (f. 129) and the “wirdigen patron dicz goczhaus” (f. 155r-v) all indicate that the book was produced for use in a monastery. Benedict is not the only monastic founder to be included in the litany of saints (f. 122), but he is the only one to be singled out for mention elsewhere, as, for instance, in invocations as “meinen geliebten vater sant benedicten” (f. 17) and “vnsers heiligen vaters Sant Benedicten” (f. 170). Many of the regionally significant saints included in the litany (see above) also suggest this manuscript’s production within a southern German Benedictine context.

Internal evidence strongly suggests that this book was copied for use at Bergen. The inclusion of Willibald (f. 122), Wunibald, (f. 122), and Walburga (f. 122v), three of the saints most strongly identified with the diocese of Eichstätt, supports a localization within that diocese. Furthermore, the predominance of German prayers and meditations strongly suggest that it was made for female use, and two of the texts copied by the fourth scribe (Euphemia Pirckheimer and possibly also her sister) support this likelihood with feminine noun forms in German (“ich arme schnöde vnd durstige sünderin” on f. 10) and Latin (“Deus propicius esto michi peccatrici” on f. 156). Though Mary and John the Evangelist were the original patrons of Bergen, the house was eventually dedicated to the Holy Cross, of which it claimed a relic, probably in the thirteenth century (see Pötzl, 1981). The Holy Cross is prominent within this manuscript. Among the prayers keyed to the Sanctorale, the feasts of its “Inventio” (ff. 45-46) and “Exaltatio” (ff. 50v-51) are both included, and it figures frequently within the Mass prayers, particularly those to be said during the Confiteor (ff. 24-26) and Offertory (ff. 28v-29), in one of the prayers with an indulgence (f. 89r-v), and, of course, in the prayers to be said before the crucifix (ff. 36v-39). and meditations on Christ’s passion, the subject of the longer prayer in the booklet discussed by Weißenberger, are also prevalent. Given Weißenberger’s argument that the Breviary of Caritas Pirckheimer was made for use at Bergen, these two manuscripts warrant closer examination together, particularly as the Breviary and this manuscript here may be the only surviving manuscripts produced specifically for use at Bergen.


Hamburger, Jeffrey F. Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1997.

Harper, John. The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Century, Oxford, 1991.

Kraume, Herbert. “Gerson, Johannes”, Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon, ed. Wolfgang Stammler, Karl Langosch, et al., vol. 2, Berlin, 1980, cols. 1266-1274.

Planzer, Dominikus. “Zu Bruder Klausens Sprüchen und Gebet”, Zeitschrift für schweizerische Kirchensgeschichte 32 (1938), pp. 39-46.

Pötzl, Walter. “Die Wallfahrt zum Kreuzpartikel in Bergen”, Kloster Bergen bei Neuburg an der Donau und seine Fresken von Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner, Kunst in Bayern und Schwaben 3, Weissenhorn, 1981, pp. 39-57.

Reicke, Emil, Helga Scheible, and Dieter Wuttke, ed. Willibald Pirckheimers Briefwecksel, 7 vols., Munich, 1940-2009.

Ruh, Kurt. “Das Reimgebet des Nikolaus von Flüe”, Volkskultur und Geschichte: Festgabe für Josef Dünninger zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Dieter Harmening et al., Berlin, 1970, pp. 562-569.

Schepers, Kees. “Tres veritates Gersonis: Het succesverhaal van een tekstpassage”, Ons Geestelijk Erf 82 (2011), pp. 220-240.

Schmidt, Margot. “Mechthild von Hackeborn”, Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon, ed. Wolfgang Stammler and Karl Langosch, vol. 6, Berlin, 1987, cols. 251-260.

Seitz, Reinhard H. “Das Benediktinerinnenkloster Bergen und die Bergener Klosterkirche”, Kloster Bergen bei Neuburg an der Donau und seine Fresken von Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner, Kunst in Bayern und Schwaben 3, Weissenhorn, 1981, pp. 5-38.

Stirnimann, Heinrich. Der Gottesgelehrte Niklaus von Flüe: drei Studien, Freiburg, 1981.

Stirnimann, Heinrich. “Nikolaus von Flüe”, Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon, ed. Wolfgang Stammler and Karl Langosch, vol. 6, Berlin, 1987, cols. 1069-1074.

Weißenberger, Paulus. “Ein Brevier der Charitas Pirckheimer aus dem Kloster Bergen bei Neuburg”, Zeitschrift für bayerische Kirchengeschichte 18 (1948-1949), pp. 81-88.

Online resources

Het Boek der Bijzondere Genade van Mechtild van Hackeborn. Uitgegeven naar een Nijmeegs handschrift. Alsmede een beschrijving van haar mystiek en een onderzoek naar de geschiedenis der middelnederlandse vertalingen, ed. R. L. J. Bromberg, Zwolle, 1965, vol. 1 http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/brom003boek01_01

Ioannis Gersonii doctoris et cancelarii Parisiensis, secunda pars operum, Paris, 1606

“Caritas Pirckheimer”, Franciscan Women: History and Culture

Casanova, Gertrude. “St. Mechtilde”, The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 10, New York, 1911

Gunhouse, Glenn, ed. Seven Penitential Psalms and Litanies in Latin and English

Halsall, Paul, ed. Mass of the Roman Rite in Latin and English, Medieval Sourcebook, Fordham University, 1996

Heijden, Maarten van der and Bert Roest. “Caspar Schatzgeyer”, Franciscan Authors, 13th-18th Century: A Catalogue in Progress, 2012

Mecham, June and Alison Beach. “Bergen”, Monastic Matrix, 2014

Ott, Michael. “Blessed Nicholas of Flüe”, The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11, New York, 1911