Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Bella dum late

When war was raging

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Bella dum late furerent, et urbes
    Cæde fraternal gemerent cruentæ,
    Adfuit Virgo, nova semper edens
       Munera matris.
  2. En vocat septem famulos, fideles
    Ut sibi in luctu recolant dolores,
    Quos tulit Jesus, tulit ipsa consors
       Sub cruce Nati.
  3. Illico parent Dominæ vocanti:
    Splendidis tectis opibusque spretis,
    Urbe secedunt procul in Senari
       Abdita montis.
  4. Corpora hic pœnis cruciant acerbis,
    Sontium labes hominum piantes:
    Hic prece avertunt lacrymisque fusis
       Numinis iram.
  5. Perdolens Mater fovet, atque amictum
    Ipsa lugubrem monet induendum:
    Agminis sancti pia cœpta surgunt,
       Mira patescunt.
  6. Palmes in bruma viridans honores
    Nuntiat patrum: proprios Mariæ
    Ore lactenti vocitant puelli
       Nomine Servos.
  7. Sit decus Patri, genitæque Proli,
    Et tibi compar utriusque virtus
    Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni
       Temporis ævo.
  1. When war was raging, and the town
    Was red with blood of brother bands,
    Our Virgin-Mother bowed her down
       With bounteous hands.
  2. Seven faithful sons she bid to share
    Her Dolours, all the shame and loss
    Which Jesus suffered, and she bare
       Beneath His Cross.
  3. So when their Lady called, as naught
    They deemed their palaces and wealth,
    The mountain's desert places sought
       Far off by stealth.
  4. For others’ sins the scourge they plied,
    As they the way of penance trod;
    By prayers and tears they turned aside
       The wrath of God.
  5. Token of love, the Mother’s hand
    Gave to her sons their garb of woe;
    Sanctioned the pious work they planned,
       With wondrous show.
  6. The vine, to spread their honors wide,
    Her sprouts in winter greenly flung,
    “See, those are Mary's servants,” cried
       The infant tongue.
  7. Now to the Father thanks and praise;
    To Thee, O Son, the same we send;
    To Thee, great Spirit, through all days
       World without end.
Author: Vincent Tarozzi (1849-1918). Meter: Sapphic and Adonic. Translation anon, in the Servite Manual (1892). Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins. With the exception of the hymn Matris sub almæ numine, the five hymns formerly in use on the Feast of the Seven Founders have been omitted from the latest editions of the Breviary. The five hymns were translated by Archbishop Bagshawe and Father Wallace, O.S.B. Julian’s Dictionary of Hymnology mentions no translations of the hymns in honor of the Seven Holy Founders. Read the article on Servites, Order of, in the Cath. Encycl.
  1. “While wars were raging and blood-stained cities groaned with fratricidal carnage, the Virgin appeared ever manifesting the new gifts of a mother.” Bella: The bloody feuds and dissensions among the Italian cities from the 11th to the 13th century are familiar to the student of history. St. Alexis, the last of the Seven Founders, died in 1310.
  2. “Behold, in her grief, she calls unto herself seven faithful servants that they might recall to mind the sufferings which Jesus endured, and which she, the sharer of His sufferings, endured beneath the Cross of her Son.” The object of the Servite Order is to preach everywhere compassion for the sufferings of Jesus crucified and of Mary desolate, as well as hatred for sin, the accursed cause of them both (cf. Servite Manual, p. xiv).
  3. “Without hesitation they obey their Lady’s call: spurning their stately palaces and wealth, they withdraw afar from the city into the hidden recesses of Mount Senario.” The Blessed Virgin first appeared to the Seven Holy Founders in 1233. She exhorted them to leave the world and dedicate themselves, under her auspices, to the service of God. This they did without delay.
  4. “Here they afflict their bodies with dire punishments, atoning for the sins of guilty men: here by their prayers and by their abundant tears they avert the anger of God.”
  5. “The Mother greatly encourages them and tells them that they should wear a garb indicative of mourning; the pious undertakings of the holy company prosper; wondrous things become manifest.” Mira, miracles.
  6. “A young vine becoming green in winter proclaims the glory of the Fathers: children unweaned proclaim them by name to be Mary’s own Servants.” The miracle of the vine occurred in March while the mountain was still covered with hoar frost. The vine which had been planted the preceding year, grew miraculously in a single night, and was covered at once with foliage, flowers, and fruit—a symbol of the speedy increase of their little community as was revealed to the bishop of Florence. Puelli: On two different occasions infants cried out in the street: “Behold the servants of Mary.”