London: Art and Book Company, 1896. First edition. Octavo, original illustrated white cloth stamped in black and silver, uncut. Bookplate. Tanning to blank flyleaves, offsetting from bookplate, slight lean to toned spine, mild fading to mottled front board, corners bumped. Very good indeed. Item #773
"THE IDEAL OF A RELIGIOUS ORDER" Rare first edition of the prolific English Dominican's last published book—an introduction to the labors and devotions inspired by the Lives of the Saints of the Order of Preachers—in the original binding of white cloth stamped in black. Augusta T. Drane converted to the Catholic Church in 1850 and joined the Dominicans two years later. Mother Francis Raphael rose steadily in the Third Order of St. Dominic until she was appointed provincial in 1881. A contemporary British prelate described her as "one of those many-sided characters who can write a book, draw a picture, rule an Order, guide other souls, superintend a building, lay out grounds, or give wise and practical advice with equal facility and success" (Bishop Ullathorne). Though written in the early years after her profession, the book was intended as a guide for the private instruction for the Sisters of the English Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena and it remained unpublished until after Drane's death in 1894. The text consists of three sections: Part I. The Groundwork of Dominican Sanctity, Part II. Dominican Devotions, Part III. Dominican Daily Life. With a lengthy Introduction by the Provincial of the English Dominicans, John Procter, O.P. echoing Bishop Ullathorne: "May this little book, whose author's name is sufficient guarantee for its value and sterling worth, be of help—and we feel assured that it will be—to many souls in other cloisters as well as in Dominican homes, and to many more who though living in the world are not of the world, and who like St. Catherine, having no convent home, have made 'a cell in their hearts' in which they can converse with Him whom their soul loves." (dated, "St Dominic's Priory. London. N.W./Feast of St. Dominic, August 4, 1896"). Approbations.