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Novena

(From novem , nine.)

A nine days' private or public devotion in the Catholic Church to obtain special graces. The octave has more of the festal character ; to the novena belongs that of hopeful mourning, of yearning, of prayer. "The number nine in Holy Writ is indicative of suffering and grief" (St. Jerome, in Ezech., vii, 24; -- P.L., XXV, 238, cf. XXV, 1473). The novena is permitted and even recommended by ecclesiastical authority, but still has no proper and fully set place in the liturgy of the Church. It has, however, more and more been prized and utilized by the faithful. Four kinds of novenas can be distinguished: novenas of mourning, of preparation, of prayer, and the indulgenced novenas, though this distinction is not exclusive.

The Jews had no nine days' religious celebration or nine days' mourning or feast on the ninth day after the death or burial of relatives and friends. They held the number seven more sacred than any other. On the contrary, we find among the ancient Romans an official nine days' religious celebration whose origin is related in Livy (I, xxxi). After a shower of stones on the Alban Mount, an official sacrifice, whether because of a warning from above or of the augurs' advice, was held on nine days to appease the gods and avert evil. From then on the same novena of sacrifices was made whenever the like wonder was announced (cf. Livy, XXI, lxii; XXV, vii; XXVI, xxiii etc.).

Besides this custom, there also existed among the Greeks and Romans that of a nine days' mourning, with a special feast on the ninth day after death or burial. This, however, was rather of a private or family character (cf. Homer, Iliad, XXIV, 664, 784; Virgil, Aeneid, V, 64; Tacitus, Annals, VI, v.). The Romans also celebrated their parentalia novendialia , a yearly novena (13 to 22 Feb.) of commemoration of all the departed members of their families (cf. Mommsen, "Corp. Inscript. Latin.", I, 386 sq.). The celebration ended on the ninth day with a sacrifice and a joyful banquet. There is a reference to these customs in the laws of the Emperor Justinian ("Corp. Jur. Civil. Justinian.", II, Turin, 1757, 696, tit. xix, "De sepulchro violato"), where creditors are forbidden to trouble the heirs of their debtor for nine days after his death. St. Augustine (P.L., XXXIV, 596) warns Christians not to imitate the pagan custom, as there is no example of it in Holy Writ . Later on, the same was done by the Pseudo-Alcuin (P.L., CI, 1278), invoking the authority of St. Augustine, and still more sharply by John Beleth (P.L., CCII, 160) in the twelfth century. Even Durandus in his "Rationale" (Naples, 1478), writing on the Office of the Dead , remarks that "some did not approve this, to avoid the appearance of aping pagan customs".

Nevertheless, in Christian mortuary celebrations, one finds that of the ninth day with those of the third and seventh. The "Constitutiones Apostolicae" (VIII, xlii; P.G., I, 1147) already speak of it. The custom existed specially in the East, but is found also among the Franks and Anglo-Saxons. Even if it was connected with an earlier practice of the pagans, it nevertheless had in itself no vestige of superstition. A nine days' mourning with daily Mass was a distinction, naturally, which could be shared by none but the higher classes. Princes and the rich ordered such a celebration for themselves in their wills; even in the wills of popes and cardinals such orders are found. Already in the Middle Ages the novena of Masses for popes and cardinals was customary. Later on, the mortuary celebration for cardinals became constantly more simple, until finally it was regulated and fixed by the Constitution "Praecipuum" of Benedict XIV (23 Nov., 1741). For deceased sovereign pontiffs the nine days' mourning was retained, and so came to be called simply the "Pope's Novena" (cf. Mabillon, "Museum Italicum", II, Paris, 1689, 530 sqq., "Ordo Roman. XV"; P. L., LXXVIII, 1353; Const. "In eligendis" of Pius IV, 9 Oct., 1562). The usage still continues and consists chiefly in a novena of Masses for the departed. A rescript of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (22 Apr., 1633) informs us that such novenas of mourning, officia novendialia ex testamento , were generally known and allowed in the churches of religious (Decr. Auth. S.R.C., 604). They are no longer in common use, though they have never been forbidden, and indeed, on the contrary, novendiales precum et Missarum devotiones pro defunctis were approved by Gregory XVI (11 July, 1853 [sic]) and indulgenced for a confraternity agonizantium in France (Resc. Auth. S.C. Indulg., 382).

Besides the novena for the dead, we find in the earlier part of the Middle Ages the novena of preparation, but at first only before Christmas and only in Spain and France. This had its origin in the nine months Our Lord was in His Blessed Mother's womb from the Incarnation to the Nativity. In Spain the Annunciation was transferred for the whole country by the tenth Council of Toledo in 656 (Cap. i; Mansi, "Coll. Conc.", XI, 34) to 18 Dec., as the most fitting feast preparatory to Christmas. With this it appears that a real novena of preparation for Christmas was immediately connected for the whole of Spain. At any rate, in a question sent from the Azores (Insulae Angrenses) to the Sacred Congregation of Rites, an appeal was made to the "most ancient custom " of celebrating, just before Christmas, nine votive Masses of Our Lady. And this usage, because of the people who took part in the celebration, was permitted to continue (28 Sept., 1658; Decr. Auth., 1093). A French Ordinarium (P.L., CXLVII, 123) prescribes that the preparation for Christmas on the ninth day should begin with the O anthems and that each day, at the Magnificat, the altar and the choir should be incensed. The Ordinarium of Nantes and the Antiphonary of St. Martin of Tours, in place of the seven common O anthems, have nine for the nine days before Christmas, and these were sung with special solemnity (Martene, "De Antiq. Eccles. Ritib.", III, Venice, 1783, 30). In Italy the novena seems to have spread only in the seventeenth century. Still, the "Praxis caeremoniarum seu sacrorum Romanae Ecclesiae Rituum accurata tractatio" of the Theatine Piscara Castaldo, a book approved in 1525 by the author's father general (Naples, 1645, p. 386 sqq.), gives complete directions for the celebration of the Christmas novena with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The author remarks that this novena in commemoration of Our Lord's nine months in the womb was solemnly celebrated in very many places in Italy. And in the beginning of the eighteenth century the Christmas novena held such a distinguished position that the Sacred Congregation of Rites (7 July, 1718), in a special case, allowed for it alone the solemn celebration with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (Decr. Auth., 2250).

But before this, at least in Sicily, the custom had sprung up among religious of preparing for the feast of their founder with a novena of Masses, and these Missae novendiales votivae were also (2 Sept., 1690) declared permissible (Decr. Auth., 1843). In general, in the seventeenth century, numerous novenas were held especially in the churches of religious and to the Saints of the various orders (cf. Prola, "De Novendialibus supplicationibus", Romae 1724, passim ). Two hundred years later, on application from Sicily for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the celebration of novenas, special permission was granted (Decr. Auth., 3728), and in the decrees on the Missae votivae of 30 June, 1896, there is really question of the Missae votivae novendiales B.M.V. (Decr. Auth., 3922 V, n. 3). At least in this way, then, the novena is recognized even in the Liturgy.

At the same time as the novena of preparation , the proper novena of prayer arose, among the faithful, it would seem, who in their need turned to the saints with a novena, especially to recover health. The original home of this novena must have been France, Belgium, and the neighbourhood of the Lower Rhine. Specially noteworthy up to the year 1000 are the novenas to St. Hubert, St. Marcolf, and St. Mommolus. St. Mommolus (or Mummolus) was considered the special patron for head and brain diseases; the novenas to him were made especially in the Holy Cross Monastery of Bordeaux, where the saint was buried (Mabillon, "Act. Sanct. O. S. B.", II, Venice, 1733, 645 sqq.; "Acta SS.", August, II, 351 sqq.; Du Cange, "Glossarium", s. v. "Novena"). St. Marcolf procured for the kings of France the power to cure scrofula by a touch of their hand. For this purpose, shortly after their coronation and anointing at Reims, the kings had to go in person on pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Marcolf at Corbeny and make a novena there. Those who were to be healed had to make a similar novena. But the best known is the novena to St. Hubert, which continues even to our day. This is made against madness by people bitten by a mad dog or wolf (Acta SS., November, I, 871 sqq.).

The last-named novena was attacked in later times, particularly by the Jansenists, and was rejected as superstitious (cf. "Acta SS.", loc. cit., where the attack is met and the novena justified). Before this, Gerson, in the fourteenth century, had given warning against the superstitious abuse of this novena. But he does not reject novenas in general and we see from his works that in his time they were already widespread (Opera, Paris, 1606, II, 328; III, 386, 389). But notwithstanding Gerson's warning, novenas were from that time on ever more and more in favour with the faithful, to which the many, even miraculous, effects of the novenas contributed not a little. Benedict XIV (De canonizat. sanct., lib. IV, p. II, c. xiii, n. 12) tells of a number of such miracles adduced in the processes of canonization. Catholics know from their own experience that the novena is no pagan, superstitious custom, but one of the best means to obtain signal heavenly graces through the intercession of Out Lady and all the saints. The novena of prayer is thus a kind of prayer which includes in it, so to speak, as a pledge of being heard, confidence and perseverance, two most important qualities of efficacious prayer. Even if the employment of the number nine in Christianity were connected with a similar use in paganism, the use would still in no way be blameable or at all superstitious. Not, of course, that every single variation or addition made in whatever private novena must be justified or defended. The holiest custom can be abused, but the use of the number nine can not only be justified but even interpreted in the best sense.

The number ten is the highest, the numerus maximus , simply the most perfect , which is fitting for God ; the number nine, which is lacking of ten, is the number of imperfection, which is fitting for mortal kind. In some such way the Pythagoreans, Philo the Jew, the Fathers of the Church, and the monks of the Middle Ages, philosophized on the meaning of the number nine. For this reason it was adapted for use where man's imperfection turned in prayer to God (cf. Jerome, loc. cit.; Athenagoras, "Legat. pro Christian.", P.G., VI, 902; Pseudo-Ambrosius, P.L., XVII, 10 sq., 633; Rabanus Maurus, P.L., CIX, 948 sq., CXI, 491; Angelomus Monach., In Lib. Reg. IV, P.L., CXV, 346; Philo the Jew, "Lucubrationes", Basle, 1554, p. 283).

In the novena of mourning and the Mass on the ninth day it was remembered in the Middle Ages that Christ gave up the ghost in prayer at the ninth hour, as in the penitential books (cf. Schmitz, "Die Bussbucher und die Bussdisciplin", II, 1898, 539, 570, 673), or remarked that, by means of Holy Mass on the ninth day, the departed were to be raised to the ranks of the nine choirs of angels (cf. Beleth, loc. cit.; Durandus, loc. cit.). For the origin of the novena of prayer we can point to the fact that the ninth hour in the Synagogue, like None in the Christian Church, was a special hour of prayer from the beginning, so that it was reckoned among the "apostolic hours" (cf. Acts, iii, 1; x, 30; Tertullian, "De jejuniis", c. x, P.L., II, 966; cf. "De oratione", c. xxv, I, 1133). The Church, too, in the Breviary, has for centuries invoked the Almighty in nine Psalms and honoured Him in nine Lessons, while from ancient times the Kyrie has been heard nine times in every Mass (cf. Durandus, "Rationale, De nona"; Bona, "Opera", Venice, 1764; "De divina psalmodia", p. 401).

As has been said, the simplest explanation of the Christmas novena are the nine months of Christ in the womb. But for every novena of preparation, as also for every novena of prayer, not only the best explanation but also the best model and example was given by Christ Himself to the Church in the first Pentecost novena. He Himself expressly exhorted the Apostles to make this preparation. And when the young Church had faithfully persevered for nine full days in it, the Holy Ghost came as the precious fruit of this first Christian novena for the feast of the establishment and foundation of the Church. If one keeps this in mind and remembers besides that novenas in the course of time have brought so many, even miraculous, answers to prayer, and that finally Christ Himself in the revelation to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque recommended the special celebration of nine successive first Fridays of the month (cf. Vermeesch, "Pratique et doctrine de la dévotion au Sacré Coeur de Jésus", Tournai, 1906, 555 sqq.), one must wonder that the Church waited so long before positively approving and recommending novenas rather than that she finally took this step (cf. "Collection de précis historiques", Brussels, 1859, "Des neuvaines", 157 sqq.).

Not until the nineteenth century did the Church formally recommend novenas by the concession of Indulgences. This brings us to the last kind of novenas, those which are indulgenced. Apparently Alexander VII in the middle of the seventeenth century granted Indulgences to a novena in honour of St. Francis Xavier made in Lisbon (cf. Prola, op. cit., p. 79). The first novena indulgenced in the city of Rome, and even there for only one church, was the novena in preparation for the feast of St. Joseph in the church of St. Ignatius. This was done by the Briefs of Clement XI, 10 Feb., and 4 March, 1713 (cf. Prola, loc. cit.; Benedict XIV, "De canoniz.", loc. cit.). The Franciscans, who used before this to have a novena for the feast of the Immaculate Conception (cf. Decr. Auth. S.R.C., 2472) received special Indulgences for it on 10 Apr., 1764 (Resc. Auth. S.C. Indulg., 215). Not until later, especially from the beginning of the nineteenth century, were various novenas enriched with Indulgences in common for the whole Church. They number in all thirty-two, intended for the most part as novenas of preparation for definite feasts.

They are in detail as follows: one in honour of the Most Holy Trinity, which may be made either prior to the feast of the Holy Trinity (first Sunday after Pentecost) or at any other time of the year; two to the Holy Ghost , one to be made prior to the feast of Pentecost for the reconciliation of non-Catholics (this is also made publicly in all parochial churches), one at any time of the year; two novenas to the Infant Jesus, one to be made before the feast of Christmas and the other at any time during the year; three to the Sacred Heart , one prior to the feast of the Sacred Heart (the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi ), one at any time during the year, and the third that of the nine first Fridays, which is based on the promise made to Blessed Margaret Mary by the Sacred Heart assuring the grace of final perseverance and the reception of the Sacraments before death to all who should receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month for nine consecutive months; it is customary to offer this novena in reparation for the sins of all mankind ; eleven novenas in honour of the Blessed Virgin, viz., in honour of the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of Mary, her Presentation at the Temple, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Maternity of Mary, her Purification, her Seven Dolours, the Assumption, the Holy Heart of Mary, and the Holy Rosary ; one novena each in honour of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and one in honour of the Guardian Angel, two to St. Joseph, one consisting of the recitation of prayers in honour of the seven sorrows and seven joys of the foster-father of Christ, prior to the feast of St. Joseph (19 March) and one at any time during the year; one novena each in honour of St. Francis of Assisi, at any time during the year, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Paul of the Cross, St. Stanislaus Kotska, prior to his feast (13 November), St. Francis Xavier, and one for the Holy Souls.

The novena in honour of St. Francis Xavier, known as the "Novena of Grace ", originated as follows: in 1633 Father Mastrilli, S.J., was at the point of death as a result of an accident, when St. Francis Xavier, to whom he had great devotion, appeared to him and urged him to devote himself to the missions of the Indies. Father Mastrilli then made a vow before his provincial that he would go to the Indies if God spared his life, and in another apparition (3 Jan., 1634) St. Francis Xavier exacted of him a renewal of this promise, foretold his martyrdom, and restored him to health so completely that on the same night Father Mastrilli was in a condition to write an account of his cure, and the next morning to celebrate Mass at the altar of the saint and to resume his community life. He soon set out for the Japanese missions where he was martyred, 17 October, 1637. The renown of the miracle quickly spread through Italy, and inspired with confidence in the power and goodness of St. Francis Xavier, the faithful implored his assistance in a novena with such success that it came to be called the "novena of grace". This novena is now made publicly in many countries from 4 to 12 March, the latter being the date of the canonization of St. Francis Xavier together with St. Ignatius. The conditions include a visit to a Jesuit church or chapel. The indulgence may be gained on any day of the novena, and those who are prevented by illness or another legitimate cause from communicating during the novena may gain the indulgence by doing so as soon as possible. All of these novenas without exception are to be made, in private or in public, with pious exercises and the reception of the Sacraments, and for these usually a daily partial Indulgence can be gained and a plenary Indulgence at the end of the novena. The Indulgences and the conditions for gaining them are accurately given in detail in the authentic "Raccolta" and in the works on Indulgences by Beringer and Hilgers, which have appeared in various languages. The indulgenced novenas, to a certain extent official, have but contributed to increase the confidence of the faithful in novenas. Hence, even the private novena of prayer flourishes in our day. Through the novena to Our Lady of Lourdes, through that to St. Anthony of Padua or some other saint, the faithful seek and find help and relief. The history of novenas is not yet written, but it is doubtless a good part of the history of childlike veneration of Our Lady and all the saints, of lively confidence in God, and especially of the spirit of prayer in the Catholic Church.

More Volume: N 287

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Armenian patriarchs. Nerses I Surnamed "the Great". Died 373. Born of the royal stock, he ...

Nerses of Lambron

Born 1153 at Lambron, Cilicia; died 1198; son of Oschin II, prince of Lambron and nephew of the ...

Nestorius and Nestorianism

I. THE HERESIARCH Nestorius, who gave his name to the Nestorian heresy, was born at Germanicia, ...

Netherlands, The

( German Niederlande ; French Pays Bas ). The Netherlands, or Low Countries, as organized by ...

Netter, Thomas

Theologian and controversialist, b. at Saffron Waldon, Essex, England, about 1375; d. at Rouen, ...

Neugart, Trudpert

Benedictine historian, born at Villingen, Baden, 23 February, 1742; died at St Paul's ...

Neum

(Latin, neuma, pneuma, or neupma, from Greek pneûma, a nod). A term in medieval ...

Neumann, Johann Balthasar

Born 1687 at Eger; died 1753 at Würzburg, master of the rococo style and one of the ...

Neumayr, Franz

Preacher, writer on theological, controversial and ascetical subjects, and author of many ...

Neusohl

Diocese of Neusohl (Hung. Beszterczebànya; Lat. Neosoliensis), founded in 1776 by Maria ...

Neutra

(Nitria; Nyitha) -- Diocese of Neutra (Nitriensis). Diocese in Western Hungary, a suffragan of ...

Nevada

A Western state of the United States , bounded on the North by Oregon and Idaho, on the East ...

Neve

Titular see of Arabia, suffragan of Bostra. Two of its bishops are known: Petronius, who ...

Nevers

(Nivernum) Diocese ; includes the Department of Nièvre, in France. Suppressed by the ...

Neville

(1) Edmund Neville ( alias Sales), a Jesuit, born at Hopcut, Lancashire, 1605; died in ...

New Abbey

The Abbey of Sweetheart, named New Abbey Pow, or New Abbey, in order to distinguish it, from ...

New Caledonia

VICARIATE APOSTOLIC New Caledonia, one of the largest islands of Oceania, lies about 900 miles ...

New Guinea

The second largest island and one of the least known countries of the world, lies immediately ...

New Hampshire

The most northerly of the thirteen original states of the United States, lying between 70°37' ...

New Jersey

One of the original thirteen states of the American Union. It ratified the Federal Constitution ...

New Mexico

A territory of the United States now (Jan., 1911) awaiting only the completion of its ...

New Norcia

A Benedictine abbey in Western Australia, founded on 1 March, 1846, by a Spanish Benedictine, ...

New Orleans

ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS (NOVÆ AURELIÆ). Erected 25 April, 1793, as the Diocese of ...

New Pomerania

New Pomerania, the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, is separated from New Guinea by ...

New Testament

I. Name ; II. Description ; III. Origin ; IV. Transmission of the Text ; V. Contents, History, ...

New Testament, Canon of the

The Catholic New Testament, as defined by the Council of Trent, does not differ, as regards the ...

New Year's Day

The word year is etymologically the same as hour (Skeat), and signifies a going, movement ...

New York (Archdiocese)

ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK (NEO-EBORACENSIS). See erected 8 April, 1808; made archiepiscopal 19 ...

New York (State)

One of the thirteen colonies of Great Britain, which on 4 July, 1776, adopted the Declaration of ...

New Zealand

New Zealand—formerly described as a colony—has, since September, 1907, by royal ...

Newark

(NOVARCENSIS) Diocese created in 1853, suffragan of New York and comprising Hudson, Passaic, ...

Newbattle

( Neubotle , i.e. new dwelling). Newbattle, in the ancient Diocese of St. Andrews, about ...

Newdigate, Blessed Sebastian

Executed at Tyburn, 19 June, 1535. A younger son of John Newdigate of Harefield Place, Middlesex, ...

Newfoundland

A British colony of North America (area 42,734 square miles), bounded on the north by the Strait ...

Newhouse, Abbey of

The Abbey of Newhouse, near Brockelsby, Lincoln, the first Premonstratensian abbey in England, ...

Newman, John Henry

(1801-1890) Cardinal-Deacon of St. George in Velabro, divine, philosopher, man of letters, ...

Newport (England)

(NEOPORTENSIS) This diocese takes its name from Newport, a town of about 70,000 inhabitants, ...

Newton, John

A soldier and engineer, born at Norfolk, Virginia, 24 August, 1823; died in New York City, 1 May, ...

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Ni 70

Niagara University

Niagara University, situated near Niagara Falls, New York, is conducted by the Vincentians. It ...

Nicéron, Jean-Pierre

A French lexicographer, born in Paris, 11 March, 1685, died there, 8 July, 1738. After his ...

Nicaea

Titular see of Bithynia Secunda, situated on Lake Ascanius, in a fertile plain, but very ...

Nicaea, First Council of

First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 325 on the occasion of the heresy of ...

Nicaea, Second Council of

Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 787. (For an account of the ...

Nicaragua

(REPUBLIC AND DIOCESE OF NICARAGUA; DE NICARAGUA) The diocese, suffragan of Guatemala, is ...

Nicastro

(NEOCASTRENSIS). A city of the Province of Catanzaro, in Calabria, southern Italy, situated ...

Niccola Pisano

Architect and sculptor, b. at Pisa about 1205-07; d. there, 1278. He was the father of modern ...

Nice

(NICIENSIS) Nice comprises the Department of Alpes-Maritimes. It was re-established by the ...

Nicene Creed

As approved in amplified form at the Council of Constantinople (381), it is the profession of the ...

Nicephorus, Saint

Patriarch of Constantinople, 806-815, b. about 758; d. 2 June, 829. This champion of the orthodox ...

Nicetas

(NICETA) A Bishop of Remesiana (Romatiana) in what is now Servia, born about 335; died ...

Nicetius, Saint

A Bishop of Trier, born in the latter part of the fifth century, exact date unknown; died in ...

Niche

A recess for the reception of a statue, so designed as to give it emphasis, frame it effectively, ...

Nicholas Garlick, Venerable

Priest and martyr, born at Dinting, Derbyshire, c. 1555; died at Derby, 24 July, 1588. He ...

Nicholas I, Saint, Pope

Born at Rome, date unknown; died 13 November, 867. One of the great popes of the Middle ...

Nicholas II, Pope

(GERHARD OF BURGUNDY) Nicholas was born at Chevron, in what is now Savoy ; elected at Siena, ...

Nicholas III, Pope

(GIOVANNI GAETANI ORSINI) Born at Rome, c. 1216; elected at Viterbo, 25 November, 1277; died ...

Nicholas IV, Pope

(GIROLAMO MASCI) Born at Ascoli in the Rome, 4 April, 1292. He was of humble extraction, ...

Nicholas Justiniani

Date of birth unknown, became monk in the Benedictine monastery of San Niccoló del Lido ...

Nicholas of Cusa

German cardinal, philosopher, and administrator, b. at Cues on the Moselle, in the Archdiocese ...

Nicholas of Flüe, Blessed

(D E R UPE ). Born 21 March, 1417, on the Flüeli, a fertile plateau near Sachseln, ...

Nicholas of Gorran

(Or GORRAIN) Medieval preacher, and scriptural commentator; b. in 1232 at Gorron, France ; ...

Nicholas of Lyra

( Doctor planus et utilis ) Exegete, b. at Lyra in Normandy, 1270; d. at Paris, 1340. The ...

Nicholas of Myra, Saint

( Also called NICHOLAS OF BARI). Bishop of Myra in Lycia; died 6 December, 345 or 352. ...

Nicholas of Osimo

(AUXIMANUS). A celebrated preacher and author, b. at Osimo, Italy, in the second half of the ...

Nicholas of Strasburg

Mystic ; flourished early in the fourteenth century. Educated at Paris, he was later on lector ...

Nicholas of Tolentino, Saint

Born at Sant' Angelo, near Fermo, in the Hermits of St. Augustine -- a star above him or on his ...

Nicholas Owen, Saint

A Jesuit lay-brother, martyred in 1606. There is no record of his parentage, birthplace, date ...

Nicholas Pieck, Saint

(Also spelled PICK). Friar Minor and martyr, b. at Gorkum, Holland, 29 August, 1534; d. at ...

Nicholas V, Pope

(TOMMASO PARENTUCELLI) A name never to be mentioned without reverence by every lover of ...

Nichols, Venerable George

(Or NICOLLS). English martyr, born at Oxford about 1550; executed at Oxford, 19 October, ...

Nicholson, Francis

A controversial writer; b. at Manchester, 1650 ( baptized 27 Oct.); d. at Lisbon, 13 Aug., 1731. ...

Nicodemus

A prominent Jew of the time of Christ, mentioned only in the Fourth Gospel . The name is of ...

Nicodemus, Gospel of

(Or the Gospel of Nicodemus.) This work does not assume to have written by Pilate, but to have ...

Nicolò de' Tudeschi

("abbas modernus" or "recentior", "abbas Panormitanus" or "Siculus") A Benedictine canonist, ...

Nicolaï, Jean

Celebrated Dominican theologian and controversialist, b. in 1594 at Mouzay in the Diocese of ...

Nicolaites

(Also called Nicolaitans), a sect mentioned in the Apocalypse (ii,6,15) as existing in ...

Nicolas, Armella

Popularly known as "La bonne Armelle", a saintly French serving-maid held in high veneration among ...

Nicolas, Auguste

French apologist, b. at Bordeaux, 6 Jan., 1807; d. at Versailles 18 Jan., 1888. He first studied ...

Nicolaus Germanus

(Often called "Donis" from a misapprehension of the title "Donnus" or "Donus" an abbreviated form ...

Nicole, Pierre

Theologian and controversialist, b. 19 October, 1625, at Chartres, d. 16 November, 1695, at ...

Nicolet

(NICOLETANA) Diocese in the Province of Quebec, Canada, suffragan of Quebec. It comprises the ...

Nicomedes, Saint

Martyr of unknown era, whose feast is observed 15 September. The Roman Martyrologium and the ...

Nicomedia

Titular see of Bithynia Prima, founded by King Zipoetes. About 264 B.C. his son Nicodemes I ...

Nicopolis

A titular see, suffragan of Sebasteia, in Armenia Prima. Founded by Pompey after his decisive ...

Nicopolis

(NICOPOLITANA) Diocese in Bulgaria. The city of Nicopolis (Thrace or Moesia), situated at the ...

Nicopolis

A titular see and metropolis in ancient Epirus. Augustus founded the city (B.C. 31) on a ...

Nicosia

A city of the Province of Catania, in Sicily situated at a height of about 2800 feet above the ...

Nicosia

Titular archdiocese in the Province of Cyprus. It is now agreed (Oberhummer' "Aus Cypern" in ...

Nicotera and Tropea

(NICOTERENSIS ET TROPEIENSIS) Suffragan diocese of Reggio di Calabria. Nicotera, the ancient ...

Nider, John

Theologian, b. 1380 in Swabia; d. 13 August, 1438, at Colmar. He entered the Order of Preachers ...

Nieremberg y Otin, Juan Eusebio

Noted theologian and polygraphist, b. of German parents at Madrid, 1595; d. there, 1658. ...

Niessenberger, Hans

An architect of the latter part of the Middle Ages, whose name is mentioned with comparative ...

Niger, Peter George

(NIGRI, German SCHWARTZ) Dominican theologian, preacher and controversialist, b. 1434 at ...

Nigeria

A colony of British East Africa extending from the Gulf of Guinea to Lake Chad (from 4° 30' ...

Nihilism

The term was first used by Turgeniev in his novel, "Fathers and Sons" (in "Russkij Vestnik", Feb., ...

Nihus, Barthold

Convert and controversialist, b. at Holtorf in Hanover, 7 February, 1590 (according to other ...

Nikolaus von Dinkelsbühl

Theologian, b. c. 1360, at Dinkelsbühl; d. 17 March, 1433, at Mariazell in Styria. He ...

Nikon

Patriarch of Moscow (1652-1658; d. 1681). He was of peasant origin, born in the district of ...

Nilles, Nikolaus

Born 21 June, 1828, of a wealthy peasant family of Rippweiler, Luxemburg ; died 31 January, ...

Nilopolis

A titular see and a suffragan of Oxyrynchos, in Egypt. According to Ptolemy (IV, v, 26) the ...

Nilus the Younger

Of Rossano, in Calabria; born in 910, died 27 December, 1005. For a time he was married (or ...

Nilus, Saint

( Neilos ) Nilus the elder, of Sinai (died c. 430), was one of the many disciples and ...

Nimbus

(Latin, related to Nebula, nephele , properly vapour, cloud), in art and archaeology signifies ...

Nimrod

Also N IMROD ( nmrd of uncertain signification, Septuagint Nebród ). The name of ...

Ninian, Saint

(NINIAS, NINUS, DINAN, RINGAN, RINGEN) Bishop and confessor ; date of birth unknown; died ...

Nirschl, Joseph

Theologian and writer, b. at Durchfurth, Lower Bavaria, 24 February, 1823; d. at ...

Nisibis

A titular Archdiocese of Mesopotamia, situated on the Mygdonius at the foot of Mt. Masius. It is ...

Nithard

Frankish historian, son of Angilbert and Bertha, daughter of Charlemagne ; died about 843 or ...

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No 65

Noah

[Hebrew Nôah , "rest"; Greek Noah ; Latin Noah ]. The ninth patriarch of the ...

Noah's Ark

The Hebrew name to designate Noah's Ark, the one which occurs again in the history of Moses' ...

Noailles, Louis-Antoine de

Cardinal and bishop, b. at the Château of Teyssiére in Auvergne, France, 27 May, ...

Nobili, Robert de'

Born at Montepulciano, Tuscany, September, 1577; died at Mylapore, India, in 1656. He entered the ...

Noble, Daniel

Physician, b. 14 Jan., 1810; d. at Manchester, 12 Jan, 1885. He was the son of Mary Dewhurst and ...

Nocera

DIOCESE OF NOCERA (NUCERINENSIS) Diocese in Perugia, Umbria, Italy, near the sources of the ...

Nocera dei Pagani

(NUCERIN PAGANORUM; dei Pagani ="of the Pagans") Diocese in Salermo, Italy, at the foot of ...

Nocturns

( Nocturni or Nocturna ). A very old term applied to night Offices. Tertullian speaks of ...

Nogaret, Guillaume de

Born about the middle of the thirteenth century at St. Felix-en-Lauragais; died 1314; he was one ...

Nola

(NOLANA) Diocese ; suffragan of Naples. The city of Nola in the Italian Province of Caserta, ...

Nola, Giovanni Marliano da

Sculptor and architect, b., it is said, of a leather merchant named Giuseppe, at Nola, near ...

Nolasco, Saint Peter

Born at Mas-des-Saintes-Puelles, near Castelnaudary, France, in 1189 (or 1182); died at ...

Nollet, Jean-Antoine

Physicist, b. at Pimpré, Oise, France, 19 November, 1700; d. at Paris, 25 April, 1770. His ...

Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism

These terms are used to designate the theories that have been proposed as solutions of one of the ...

Nomination

The various methods of designating persons for ecclesiastical benefices or offices have been ...

Nomocanon

(From the Greek nomos , law, and kanon , a rule) A collection of ecclesiastical law, the ...

Non Expedit

("It is not expedient"). Words with which the Holy See enjoined upon Italian Catholics the ...

Non-Jurors

The name given to the Anglican Churchmen who in 1689 refused to take the oath of allegiance to ...

Nonantola

A former Benedictine monastery and prelature nullius , six miles north-east of Modena ...

Nonconformists

A name which, in its most general acceptation, denotes those refusing to conform with the ...

None

This subject will be treated under the following heads: I. Origin of None; II. None from the ...

Nonnotte, Claude-Adrien

Controversialist; b. in Besançon, 29 July, 1711; d. there, 3 September, 1793. At nineteen ...

Nonnus

Nonnus, of Panopolis in Upper Egypt (c. 400), the reputed author of two poems in hexameters; ...

Norbert, Saint

Born at Kanten on the left bank of the Rhine, near Wesel, c. 1080; died at Magdeburg, 6 June, ...

Norbertines

(C ANONICI R EGULARES P RÆMONSTRATENSES ). Founded in 1120 by St. Norbert at ...

Norcia

(NORSIN). A diocese and city in Perugia, Italy, often mentioned in Roman history. In the ...

Norfolk, Catholic Dukes of

(Since the Reformation) Under this title are accounts only of the prominent Catholic Dukes of ...

Noris, Henry

Cardinal, b. at Verona, 29 August, 1631, of English ancestry; d. at Rome, 23 Feb., 1704. He ...

Normandy

An ancient French province, from which five "departments" were formed in 1790: ...

Norris, Sylvester

( Alias SMITH, NEWTON). Controversial writer and English missionary priest ; b. 1570 or ...

Norsemen

The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...

North Carolina

One of the original thirteen States of the United States, is situated between 33° 53' and ...

North Dakota

One of the United States of America , originally included in the Louisiana Purchase. Little was ...

Northampton

(NORTANTONIENSIS) Diocese in England, comprises the Counties of Northampton, Bedford, ...

Northcote, James Spencer

Born at Feniton Court, Devonshire, 26 May, 1821; d. at Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, 3 March, ...

Northern Territory

(Prefecture Apostolic) The Northern Territory, formerly Alexander Land, is that part of ...

Northmen

The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...

Norton, Christopher

Martyr ; executed at Tyburn, 27 May, 1570. His father was Richard Norton of Norton Conyers, ...

Norway

Norway, comprising the smaller division of the Scandinavian peninsula, is bounded on the east by ...

Norwich, Ancient Diocese of

(NORDOVICUM; NORVICUM). Though this see took its present name only in the eleventh century, ...

Notaries

( Latin notarius ). Persons appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic ...

Notburga

Jean-Baptiste Belgian statesman, b. 3 July, 1805, at Messancy, Luxemburg ; d. at Berlin, 16 ...

Notburga, Saint

Patroness of servants and peasants, b. c. 1265 at Rattenberg on the Inn; d. c. 16 September, 1313. ...

Nothomb, Jean-Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Belgian statesman, b. 3 July, 1805, at Messancy, Luxemburg ; d. at Berlin, 16 ...

Notitia Dignitatum

(Register of Offices). The official handbook of the civil and military officials in the later ...

Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae

(List of the Provinces and Cities of Africa). A list of the bishops and their sees in the ...

Notitiae Episcopatuum

The name given to official documents that furnish for Eastern countries the list and hierarchical ...

Notker

Among the various monks of St. Gall who bore this name, the following are the most important: ...

Noto

(NETEN). Noto, the ancient Netum and after the Saracen conquest the capital of one of the ...

Notoriety, Notorious

( Latin Notorietas, notorium , from notus , known). Notoriety is the quality or the ...

Notre Dame de Montreal, Congregation of

Marguerite Bourgeoys, the foundress, was born at Troyes, France, 17 April, 1620. She was the ...

Notre Dame, School Sisters of

A religious community devoted to education. In the United Sates they have conducted parish ...

Notre Dame, Sisters of (of Cleveland, Ohio)

A branch of the congregation founded by Blessed Julie Billiart. In 1850, Father Elting of ...

Notre Dame, University of

(Full name is the University of Notre Dame du Lac ). Notre Dame is located in Northern ...

Notre-Dame de Namur, Institute of

Founded in 1803 at Amiens, France, by Bl. Julie Billiart (b. 1751 d. 1816) and ...

Notre-Dame de Sion, Congregation of

Religious institute of women, founded at Paris in May 1843, by Marie-Théodore and ...

Nottingham

(NOTTINGHAMIEN) One of the original twelve English dioceses created at the time of the ...

Nourrisson, Jean-Felix

Philosopher, b. at Thiers, Department of Puy-de-Dôme, 18 July, 1825; d. at Paris, 13 June, ...

Nova Scotia

I. GEOGRAPHY Nova Scotia is one of the maritime provinces of Canada. It forms part of what was ...

Novara

(NOVARIENSIS). A diocese and the capital of the province of Novara, Piedmont, Italy, noted ...

Novatianism

Novatian was a schismatic of the third century, and founder of the sect of the Novatians; he ...

Novatus, Saint

St. Novatus, who is mentioned on 20 June with his brother, the martyr Timotheus, was the son of ...

Novello, Blessed Agostino

(Matteo Di Termini), born in the first half of the thirteenth century, at Termini, a village of ...

Novena

(From novem , nine.) A nine days' private or public devotion in the Catholic Church to ...

Novice

I. DEFINITION AND REQUIREMENTS The word novice , which among the Romans meant a newly acquired ...

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Nu 19

Nubia

Located in North-eastern Africa, extending from Sennar south to beyond Khartoum and including the ...

Nueva Cáceres

(NOVA CACERES) Diocese created in 1595 by Clement VIII ; it is one of the four suffragan ...

Nueva Pamplona

(NEO-PAMPILONENSIS). Diocese in Colombia, South America, founded in 1549 and a see erected by ...

Nueva Segovia

(NOVAE SEGOBIAE) Diocese in the Philippines, so called from Segovia, a town in Spain. The town ...

Nugent, Francis

Priest of the Franciscan Capuchin Order, founder of the Irish and the Rhenish Provinces of said ...

Nugent, James

Philanthropist, temperance advocate and social reformer b. 3 March, 1822 at Liverpool ; d. 27 ...

Numbers, Use of, in the Church

No attentive reader of the Old Testament can fail to notice that a certain sacredness seems to ...

Numismatics

(From the Greek nomisma , "legal currency") Numismatics is the science of coins and of ...

Nun of Kent

Born probably in 1506; executed at Tyburn, 20 April, 1534; called the "Nun of Kent." The career of ...

Nunc Dimittis

(The Canticle of Simeon). Found in St. Luke's Gospel (2:29-32) , is the last in historical ...

Nuncio

An ordinary and permanent representative of the pope, vested with both political and ...

Nunez, Pedro

(Pedro Nonius). Mathematician and astronomer, b. at Alcacer-do-Sol, 1492; d. at Coimbra, ...

Nuns

I. ORIGIN AND HISTORY The institution of nuns and sisters, who devote themselves in various ...

Nuptial Mass

"Missa pro sponso et sponsa", the last among the votive Masses in the Missal. It is composed of ...

Nuremberg

(NÜRNBERG) The second largest city in Bavaria, situated in a plain on both sides of the ...

Nusco

(N USCANA ) Diocese in the province of Avellino, Italy, suffragan of Salerno ; dates from ...

Nussbaum, Johannn Nepomuk von

German surgeon, b. at Munich 2 Sept., 1829; d. there 31 Oct., 1890. He made his studies in the ...

Nutter, Robert, Ven.

English martyr ; b. at Burnley, Lancashire, c. 1550; executed at Lancaster, 26 July, 1600. He ...

Nuyens, Wilhelmus

Historian, b. 18 August, 1823, at Avenhorn in Holland ; d. 10 December, 1894, at Westwoud near ...

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Ny 4

Nyassa

Vicariate Apostolic in Central Africa, bounded north by the Anglo-German frontier, east by Lake ...

Nympha, Tryphon, and Respicius

Martyrs whose feast is observed in the Latin Church on 10 November. Tryphon is said to have ...

Nyssa

Vicariate Apostolic in Central Africa, bounded north by the Anglo-German frontier, east by Lake ...

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