Page 1. " a setting of the Gradual for the fest of the Epiphany "

The Christian feast of the Epiphany celebrates the coming of the Wise Men to worship at the manger containing the baby Jesus. 

Adoration of the Magi by Albrecht Durer
Public DomainAdoration of the Magi by Albrecht Durer

 Litergical chants, such as the Gregorian chant Omnes de Saba, the Gradual for the feast of the Epiphany, reenact the drama of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

Page 4. " her chattering rosary beads "

 

St Michael Rosary
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSt Michael Rosary

 Rosaries are used in prayer as a physical way of keeping count of Hail Marys.

Page 5. " Brunfels's great book of herbs "

  

 Otto Brunfels (184 * 240)

German theologian and botanist,Otto Brufels, (1488-1534) is known as the father of botany. 

 

Otto Brunfels's Herbarum
Public DomainOtto Brunfels's Herbarum

His Herbarum marked the beginning of scientific plant classification.

Page 5. " this passion for self-mortification "

 

 

St. Teresa of Ávila: her motto was
Public DomainSt. Teresa of Ávila: her motto was "Lord, either let me suffer or let me die."

 

The belief that by enduring pain one makes a connection to their spirit.   Methods of this type of penance in the 1500's were starvation, the wearing of belts of nails and hairshirts, and self flagulation with a whip.

 

Reproduction of the crops used in the Middle Ages
Public DomainReproduction of the crops used in the Middle Ages

Page 9. " Any novice who breaks furniture as well as silence will need a strong soporific. "

 

Genus: Mandragora
Public DomainGenus: Mandragora

 Sleeping potions or "drowsy syrups" were widely used in the Renaissance.  Apothecaries of the Middle Ages in Europe stocked "spongia somnifera," a sponge soaked in wine and various herbs such as the bark of mandrake or the juice of lettuce.

Page 16. " Book of Hours, the cover elaborately embossed, "

Book of hours, Paris c. 1410.
Public DomainBook of hours, Paris c. 1410.
A collection of texts, prayers and psalms.  Many Books of Hours were made for women and often passed down through the family.  There is some evidence that they were also given as a wedding present from a husband to his bride.