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Our Most Holy Father St. Benedict,
PATRIARCH OF MONKS.
FROM THE OLD ENGLISH EDITION OF 1638.
EDITED IN LATIN AND ENGLISH
BY ONE OF THE BENEDICTINE FATHERS OF
THE venerable Father Baker, while acting as spiritual director to the Benedictine Nuns at Cambrai, compiled for their use a Commentary upon the Rule of our Holy Father St. Benedict. In the few remarks which he prefixed to that work, be states that the first seven chapters of the Rule, "were done into English" by Father Leander Jones, commonly called Father Leander of St. Martin. It would seem that when he had gone thus far with his translation, he was hindered from proceeding any farther by his appointment to the important office of President General of the English Benedictine Congregation. The task which he had so happily begun was not, however, suffered to remain long in its unfinished condition. It was taken up and completed, most probably, by Father Cuthbert Fursden, whose
initials, C. F., stand upon the title-page of the edition published in 1638.
With some necessary alterations, the present edition is a reprint of that published in the above mentioned year. Though possibly inferior, from a literary point of view, to many of the English versions already in existence, nevertheless for our Benedictine Sisters, at whose request and for whose use it is chiefly published, it possesses a charm to which no other can pretend to lay claim. To many of them it has been the medium through which they have imbibed the spirit of our Holy Father, while to our Sisters of Stanbrook it is hallowed by memories which must invest it in their eyes with a character almost sacred. It was certainly used in the Convent of Cambrai by those illustrious Sisters, of whom they are the lineal descendants, and whose saintly lives they so earnestly strive to emulate. They look upon it, therefore, as a kind of heirloom, and its quaintness speaks to them of days of trial long gone by, of hardships endured, of obstacles removed, of difficulties overcome, and of the many cherished ones who have passed from among them, after learning from its pages that heavenly prudence, which taught them to
have their lamps trimmed, and their vessels filled with oil, when the Bridegroom came and called them to the marriage-feast.
Their preference for it, therefore, is not to be attributed to a mere love for what is antique, but arises rather from a very praiseworthy desire to perpetuate the existence of an old and valued translation, associated in their memories with some of the holiest and happiest moments of their lives.
Of the two men to whom we are indebted for the translation of the Rule, Father Leander is the more celebrated. Cressy says of him, "that his learning and piety were famous throughout Christendom." He was born in London in the year 1575, though the family from which he sprang came originally from Llan Wrinach in Brecknockshire. When he was old enough to cope with the rough discipline of the public school, his parents sent him to that of the Merchant Tailors where he received the earlier part of his education. After completing the course of studies at this establishment, he passed thence, at about the age of sixteen, to St. John's College, Oxford. The room which he occupied, while there, was shared with him by William Laud, afterwards