12mo (148 x 84 mm). , 259 [recte 261], [3 blank] pp. Large title woodcut, woodcut tail-pieces and initials, type-ornament headpieces. Shoulder notes. Tear in fol. F6 due to paper flaw, last two dozen leaves creased at upper corners and with some staining in lower margins. Contemporary parchment over flexible boards, manuscript spine title; upper hinge broken. Provenance: Seminary of Tulle, contemporary or near-contemporary inscription on front pastedown, Ex libris Seminarii Tutellensis; Ernest Allain, 19th-century signature.***
only edition of the manifesto and statutes of a recently formed Toulouse confraternity, which practiced charity but whose raison d’être was the redemption of souls in Purgatory.
One of about twenty lay confraternities founded in Toulouse in the 17th century, the Confraternity of Our Lady of Suffrage, founded in 1647 by parishioners of the church of Notre-Dame-du-Taur, encouraged its members to practice works of charity and poor relief, although its main goal was the depopulation of purgatory (and thereby salvation of their own souls). “A product of the Counter-Reformation, this brotherhood bore every sign of the baroque piety of post-Tridentine Catholicism. Like the Confraternity of Mercy [another Toulouse confraternity], it encouraged its confrères to visit the city’s prisoners and to pray for their salvation; and each year during Holy Week it rescued three incarcerated debtors. But the Confraternity of Our Lady of Suffrage had an otherworldly preoccupation: as much as it cared for those confined in prisons, its primary concern was for those `suffering souls’ languishing in purgatory. Protestantism ... denied the existence of purgatory, and the Tridentine response was to assert its reality with even greater fervor and vehemence...” (R. A. Schneider, Public Life in Toulouse, 1463-1789: From Municipal Republic to Cosmopolitan City, 1989, p. 208).
The main body of the work is devoted to a rather obscure religious justification of the Confraternity’s mission, in 142 numbered paragraphs. This is followed by a short summary of recommended penitential practices, the statutes of the confraternity, and litanies and various prayers for the dead, this last section being particularly well-thumbed. The edition concludes with documents relating to the founding of the confraternity, including an account of the opening ceremonies on 2 November 1647. The title woodcut shows souls in Purgatory being rescued with the help of angels, by means of ropes whose other ends are held by the Virgin.
This is a rare Toulouse imprint, with no copies in OCLC, and a single copy located by the Catalogue collectif de France, in the Toulouse municipal library. Castellane, Essai d’un catalogue chronologique de l’imprimerie de Toulouse (1842), p. 75. Item #2865