MS M.917/945, ff. 137v–138r

Gathering of Manna

The Netherlands, Utrecht
ca. 1440
7 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches (192 x 130 mm)

Purchased on the Belle da Costa Greene Fund with the assistance of the Fellows and with special assistance of Mrs. Frederick B. Adams, Sr., Mrs. Robert Charles, Mr. Laurens M. Hamilton, The Heineman Foundation, Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, Mrs. Jacob M. Kaplan, Mrs. John Kean, Mr. Paul Mellon, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Morgan, Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald, Mr. and Mrs. August H. Schilling, Mrs. Herbert N. Straus, Mrs. Landon K. Thorne, Mrs. Alan Valentine, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Whitridge, and Miss Julia P. Wightman, 1970

MS M.917/945, ff. 137v–138r

Manna rains from heaven and is gathered by Aaron (at the center) and five Israelites—men, women, and a child. Moses, holding a staff, observes from the right. In the side margins, two quotations from Exodus (16:4 and 15) describe the event. The text at right quotes the "sons of Israel" asking themselves what the manna might mean. At the top, New Testament texts (from John 6:11 and 1 Corinthians 11:24) relate the manna to Christ's distribution of loaves to the five thousand and of the bread of his body—the Eucharist—to the apostles at the Last Supper. The latter quotation, "This is my body, which is broken for you," is similar to the words of transubstantiation recited at Mass.

Hours and Masses for the Seven Days of the Week

The most unusual texts in Catherine's manuscript are the series of Hours and Masses for every day of the week. Medieval Christian tradition associated certain figures or themes with different days. Thus Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, was the Lord's Day; Thursday was connected with the Eucharist since that sacrament was instituted on Holy Thursday; and Monday was the day of the dead, since their torments were suspended on Sunday but recommenced the following day. In Catherine's prayer book, the themes for the Hours and Masses of the seven days of the week are:

Sunday the Trinity
Monday the Dead
Tuesday the Holy Spirit
Wednesday All Saints
Thursday the Blessed Sacrament
Friday the Compassion of God
Saturday the Virgin.

Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern