With this volume of the “Mystical Opuscula” of St. Bonaventure, the St. Anthony Guild Press initiates a series of translations which are planned to cover systematically all the Seraphic Doctor’s major works. The project has been a cherished one since the foundation of St. Anthony’s Guild, more than thirty years ago.
This Doctor of the Church, in a lifetime crowded with absorbing activities—as ruler of his Order for almost twenty years, as Cardinal-Bishop, as director of the deliberations of an ecumenical council—yet became one of the Church’s supreme expositors of the theology of love. From the first he was known to be a giant, and succeeding centuries saw almost innumerable editions of his works. Archbishop Paschal Robinson has pointed out that no writer from the Middle Ages onward has been more widely read and copied. Yet comparatively little of this interest is reflected in publications in the English tongue.
Of course, the Prince of Mystics (as Leo XIII called him) is not wholly unknown among us. So great is the power of his genius, so insistent his message to the heart and spirit, that these qualities have in some degree forced their way through whatever barriers exist. Translators of merit, both Franciscans and others, have brought over into English separate chosen opera; and these have conveyed enough of his greatness to establish it as a fact. But though he is an acknowledged master, he remains, by and large, to us a master still unread.
The modern publisher who would have a share in making St. Bonaventure more widely known has an admirable base from which to work: the definitive Quaracchi Edition of the “Opera Omnia,” completed early in this century. By authorization of the Most Reverend Augustine Sépinski, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, the project of translation now being launched by the St. Anthony Guild Press will make use of that monument of Franciscan scholarship. The Press is additionally fortunate in its translator, Baron José de Vinck, Docteur en Droit of Louvain, who is both a distinguished linguist and an able writer.
The second and third volumes of the series are in advanced preparation, and will follow the “Mystical Opuscula” within a year.
Fr. John Forest Loviner, O. F. M.
Director of St. Anthony’s Guild.
Paterson, New Jersey
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, 1960