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Original price £950.00 - Original price £950.00
Original price
£950.00 - £950.00
Current price £950.00

[Bérulle, Pierre de; Condren, Charles]: Jesus Maria. Preface des reglements de la Congregation de l’oratoire Etablie par Notre tres honoré Pere Monseigneur le Cardinal de Berulle. [France, 17th or 18th century].

Well-presented manuscript copy of the rules for the Oratoire de Jésus, founded in 1611 by Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629) to encourage the spiritual revitalisation of the clergy. This religious congregation had important connections with Jansenism over the years. Angélique Arnauld was a close friend of Pierre de Bérulle, Pasquier Quesnel was a part of the French Oratory between 1657 and 1681, and the Oratorians heavily influenced spiritual director at Port-Royal Sébastian Zamet (Strayer 2008, pp. 26, 39-40, 81). 

Like the nuns at Port-Royal, the Oratorians emphasized asceticism and retreating from the world. The rules preserved in this manuscript specify that members should wake each day at 4AM, engage in frequent meditation, and privilege silence: ‘Nous avons de grandes obligations a garder le silence’ (p. 172). Specifically, the rules encourage honouring Christ’s diverse silences on different days of the week, reminiscent of Imitatio Christi. Mondays can be devoted to the silence of the Incarnation, Fridays to the silence of the Passion, and Saturdays to the silence of the tomb (pp. 173-4).

The preface (pp. 1-16) and much of the text (pp. 21-188) is in French (with occasional short passages in Latin, underlined). The manuscript also includes two short sections entirely in Latin (pp. 16-19, pp. 189-91). Our manuscript bears a close resemblance to the text of the Règlements de la congrégation de L’Oratoire etablie par Monseigneur le Cardinal de Bérulle edited by Louis-Marie Pin in the nineteenth century (compare our MS pp. 1-177 with Pin ed. 1857, pp. 379-432). Pin includes the text in an edition of various works by Charles Condren (1588-1641), Berulle’s successor.


Manuscript. One volume, approx. 17 x 11 cms in binding, pp. 192; all pages except 2 with writing. Written area approx. 13 x 8 cms, typically 16-18 lines per page, unruled. Section divisions indicated by larger script and, occasionally, decorative flourishes. Green textile bookmark.

Bound in brown calf(?) over boards. Single fillet blind-ruled frame to both covers. Five raised bands creating six spine compartments. Gold-tooled brown goatskin label to second spine compartment (REGL DE LORA), gold-tooled floral decoration to remaining spine compartments. Gold-tooling to sides. Red speckled edges. Marbled pastedowns and endpapers. Pastedowns at front and rear, two free endpapers at front and rear.

Condition (textblock): light browning, faded ink(?) stains to innermost upper and lower margins, minor spotting. Condition (binding): Leather abraded and worn, gold faded, damage to base of spine.


  1. Ink note to blank verso facing page 1 (1599).
  2. Two pencil note to verso of front free endpaper (‘0’, ‘29/h’).
  3. Formerly in the collection of Achille and Henri Moranvillé (1827-1895; 1863-1946).
  4. Paris, Tessier & Sarrou, 9 February 2016, lot 16.
  5. Item purchased by us from an indirect source.


Outside of France, the following manuscripts have identical or near-identical titles: Bodleian Library, MS. Add. A. 3 (c.1700); Princeton University C0199 no. 112 (‘probably 17th century’); University of Toronto MS 01226 (1740).

Beaumont, Keith, ‘Pierre De Bérulle (1575–1629) and the renewal of Catholic spiritual life in France’, International Journal for the study of the Christian Church 17:2 (2017), 73-92.

Pin, Louis-Marie (ed.), Oeuvres complètes du P. Charles de Condren … (Paris: Guyot et Roidot, 1857), pp. 379-432.

Strayer, Brian E., Suffering Saints: Jansenists and Convulsionnaires in France, 1640-1799
(Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2008).