Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/26

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


ASSUMPTION 6 issued in 1897. The sisters take simple vows and are governed by a mother-general, who resides in Paris. Thom.vs Gaffney Taaffe. Assiunption, Sisters of the, a congregation of French nuns devoted to the teaching of young girls. It was founded in 1839 by Eugenie Milleret de Bron, in religion Mere Marie-Eugenie de Jgsus (b. 1817; d. 1898), under the direction of the Abb^ Combalot, a well-known orator of the time, who had been in- spired to establish the institute during a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saintr-Anne d'Auray in 1825. The foundress, who had previously made a short novitiate with the Sisters of tlie Visitation at Cote Saint-Andr6, was admirably adapted for the undertaking, and had the co-operation of three companions, each especially fitted to undertake the direction of some one of the activities of the order. Much of the initial success was due to the stanch friendship of Monseigneur Affre, Archbishop of Paris. The motto of the con- gregation is "Thy Kingdom Come", and the aim to combine with a thorough secular education a moral and religious training which will bear fruit in genera- tions to come. The habit of the sisters is violet, with a white cross on the breast and a violet cincture. The veil is white. On certain occasions a mantle of white with a violet cross on the shoulder is worn in the chapel. Since its foundation the congregation has spread beyond France to England, Italy, Spain, and Nicaragua. Several communities devote them- selves to the work of Perpetual Adoration and the instruction of poor children. The mother-house is situated at Auteuil, a suburb of Paris, in a former chateau, rich in historical associations. The daugh- ters of many distinguished European families have studied at Auteuil, as well as many English and Americans, who receive a special training in the French language. Les origines de I' Assam p lion; Sisters of the Assumption in The Messtnmer (New York. Nov., 18991; Steele, The Convents of Great Britain (St. Louis, 1902), 241. F. M. RUDOE. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Feast of the, 15 .ug.; also called in old hturgical books Pausatio, Nativitas (for heaven). Mors, Depositio, Dormitio S. Mari«. This feast has a double object: (1) the happy departure of Mary from this life; (2) the assumption of her body into heaven. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin. Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady's death, notliing certain is known. Epi- phanius (d. 403) acknowledged that he knew nothing definite about it (Ha;r., Ixxix, 11). The dates as- signed for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ's Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure: Jerusalem and Ephesus; common consent favours Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown [Nirschl, Haus und Grab der allerh. Jungfrau (Mainz, 1900); Mommert, Die Dormitio (Leipzig, 1900)]; but in 1906, J. Nie.sen brought forth new arguments in favour of Ephesus (Panagia Kapidi. Dulmen, 1906). Tlie first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem. The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocrvphal treatise "De Obitu S. Dominte", bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book "De Transitu Virginis", falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areop- agite. If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others. In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first. The sermons of St. Jerome and St. -Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious. St. John of Damascus (P. G.. I, 96) thus formulates the tradition of the Church of Jeru- ASSUMPTION salem: "St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Em- peror Marciau and Pulcheria, who wished to possess tlie body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven. " To-day, the beUef in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV (De Festis B. V. M., I. viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, w'hich to deny were impious and blasphemous. Regarding the origin of the feast we are also uncertain. It is more prob- ably the anniversary of the dedication of some churcli than the actual anniversary of Our Lady's death. That it originated at the time of the Council of Eph- esus, or that St. Damasus introduced it in Rome, is only a hifpothesis. According to the life of St. Theodosius (d. 529) it was celebrated in Palestine before the year 500, probably in August (Ba;umcr, Bre-ier, 185). In Egypt and Arabia, however, it was kept in January, and since the monks of Gaul adopted many usages from the Egyptian monks (Bteumer, Brev., 163), we find this feast in Gaul in the sixth century, in January [mediante mcnse vnde- cimo (Greg. Turon., De gloria mart., I, ix)]. The GalUcan Liturgy has it on the 18th of Januarj-. under the title: Depositio, Assumptio, or Festivitas S. Maria (cf. the notes of MabiUon on the Gallican Liturgy, P. L., LXXII, 180). This custom was kept up in the G.allican Church to the time of the introduction of the Roman Rite. In the Greek Church, it seems, some kept this feast in January, with the monks of Egypt; others in August, with those of Palestine; wherefore the Emperor Maurice (d. 602), if the account of the "Liber Pontificahs" (II, 508) be correct, set the feast for the Greek Empire on 15 August. In Rome (Batiffol, Brev. Rom., 134) the oldest and only feast of Our Lady was 1 January, the octave of Christ's birth. It was celebrated first at Santa Maria Maggiore, later at Santa Maria ad Martyres. The other feasts are of By- zantine origin. Duchesne thinks (Origines du culte chr., 262) that before the .seventh century no other feast was kept at Rome, and that consequently the feast of the Assumption, found in the Sacramen- taries of Gela.sius and Gregory, is a spurious addition made in the eighth or seventh century. Probst, however (Sacramentarien, 264 sqq.), brings forth good arguments to prove that the Mass of the Blessed V'irgin Mary, found on the 15th of August in the Gelasianum, is genuine, since it does not mention the corporeal assumption of Mary; that, con- sequently, the feast was celebrated in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome at least in the sixth century. He proves, furthermore, that the Mass of the Gregorian Sacramentary, such as we have it, is of Gallican origin (since the behef in the bodily assumption of Mary, under the influence of the apocryphal writings, is older in Gaul thanin Rome), and that it supplanted the old Gelasian Mass. At the time of Sergius I (700) this feast was one of the principal festivities in Rome; the procession started from the church of St. Hadrian. It was always a double of the first class and a Holy Day of obligation. Tlie octave was added in 847 by Leo IV; in Germany this octave was not observed in several dioceses up to the time of the Reformation. The Church of Milan has not accepted it up to this day (Ordo Ambros., 1906). The octave is privileged in the dioceses of the provinces of Sienna, Fermo, Michoacan, etc. The Greek Church continues this feast to 23 August, inclusive, and in some monasteries of Moimt Athos it is protracted to 29 August (Mensa Graeca, Venice, 1880), or was, at least, formerly. In the dioceses of Bavaria a thirtieth day (a species