Vestments of Recusant England: The Pentecost Chasuble of Helen of Wintour

In a previous article we detailed the Eastertide "Alleluia" chasuble designed and created by the seventeenth century recusant English Catholic, Helen of Wintour, and with Pentecost now upon us today I wish to turn you attention to another work of hers: the Pentecost chasuble. 

This particular chasuble is filled with imagery related to Pentecost as it is described in the Acts of the Apostles: 

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit... (Acts 2:1-4) 

Turning to the symbols found on the chasuble then, it of course includes the dove, the primary symbolic depiction assigned to the Holy Spirit, as well as clouds, meant to represent the strong winds, and finally flames depicting the tongues of fire that came to rest upon the Apostles and disciples.

Also included within the design are the familiar IHS monogram of the Jesuits, representing Christ, and another lower down, MAR, with a crown and the Immaculate Heart, pierced by a sword, representing the Virgin Mary.  

Outside of the main orphrey design are also found grapes and pomegranates, symbols both Eucharistic in nature and possibly also a reference to the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 

These same themes are also to be found on the front of the chasuble. 

As with the Alleluia chasuble, the Pentecost chasuble once again includes references to the Jesuits and to Helen of Wintour and her family -- details that, within the political climate of England at the time, were risky and bold inclusions. The back includes the Wintour family arms and motto, while the front includes her initials, H.W.. The Jesuit motto, A.M.D.G -- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam -- also finds a place in the design.

The following short video will provide you with some further looks and information around the chasuble, including the fact that along with precious gemstones, it also originally included an embedded relic -- a rather unique feature.

Here are just a few more details for your consideration.

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