Saints Mary & Martha Orthodox Monastery
Orthodox Church in America
Diocese of the South
65 Spinner Lane
Wagener, SC 29164 - USA
Mother Seraphima in the Bindery
This is one of the major frustrations a modern book lover experiences. Modern publishing houses use the technique called "perfect bound", which is really an imperfect way of binding. A paperback is formed by holding together sheets containing text, gluing the spine, and affixing a piece of heavier paper on top. No wonder paperbacks fall apart! We can repair those old paperbacks hanging around your home, held together by rubber bands or duct tape. Although a paperback, because of its structure, will never be the same as a hand-sewn book, we do have a technique to improve its condition and make it last through many more readings.
Tired of paying those extra dollars for a "hardbound" book, instead of a flimsy paperback, only to have it fall apart after a few uses? Did the spine break or fall off? Did the textblock rip out of its binding? Did the end sheets tear? Did the covering warp? Was it hard to keep the book open because it kept popping shut?
We can repair these problems for you at a reasonable cost.
Worried about that favorite book, your best friend of many years, that is deteriorating or simply out of print? Want to hand it down to your grandchildren, and maybe even to your great-grandchildren?
We can give new life to your much-used and much-loved books. The cost is dependent on the condition of each book; however, our prices are reasonable.
STAGES IN BOOK REPAIR
PREPARATION - pulling the book apart:
Pulling, or freeing sections of book from original binding; cleaning and trimming of spine and shoulders; removal of old headbands and lining; general evaluation.
Setting the back of the textblock, including cutting and gluing new headbands; cutting and gluing of cloth lining to spine; cutting and gluing of spine inlay; and construction and gluing of "hollow back" to spine.
Blocking title and author on the front cover and spine with brass type by means of heat and foil. Requires correct temperature, proper spacing of letters, and centering of words and lines both vertically and horizontally. Sometimes customers want old titles saved from the original binding - this can be done also.
After the textblock has been "cased in" (affixed to the binding), new endsheets are "tipped in", pasted down and then trimmed.
PLEASE NOTE: We are not equipped for period restoration of antique books or for work in leather. At present we use the library style of binding.
PATRON SAINT OF OUR BINDERY
St. Wiborada2 belonged to the Swabian nobility and was born in Klingnau in the Swiss canton of Aargau in the late ninth century. From early childhood, she was not attracted to childish games or antics, but was called to a life of devotion, being given a deep, spiritual understanding of God. She lived as a pious Christian in the home of her parents until one of her brothers, St. Hatto, decided to become a priest. As he pursued his studies at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Gallen, arrangements were made for his sister to travel with him to the city of St. Gallen. Since St. Wiborada was a good seamstress, she earned a living by making clothing and vestments for her brother. She also worked for the monastery's library as a bookbinder. The Monastery of St. Gallen had one of the most extensive library collections in all of Europe.
St. Hatto was eventually made provost of the Church of St. Mang in St. Gallen, which was near the monastery. After the death of her parents, St. Wiborada joined her brother at St. Mang. Their deeply spiritual relationship testified to the religious strength of their upbringing. Their home was turned into a small hospice where many of the local inhabitants were treated for various sicknesses and diseases. It was clear that St. Wiborada had a gift for working with the sick. In addition to this, St. Hatto educated his sister in the Scriptures, especially the Psalms, and other ecclesiastical studies. They recited the Divine Offices together and led a very prayerful life while actively engaged in charitable works.
Largely through his sister's influence, St. Hatto decided to become a monk and joined the Monastery. For approximately six years, St. Wiborada continued to live in secular society, but did not participate in it. She led an ascetic life and dedicated herself to prayer and recitation of the Offices, while still caring for the sick. St. Wiborada's virtuous life was well known. After she had petitioned to become an anchoress, Bishop Salomon of Constance asked her to accompany him to the Monastery of St. Gallen. He arranged for her to stay in a cell next to the church of St. Georgen near the Monastery. She remained there for four years, leading a life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and later moved to a walled-up cell attached to the Church of St. Mang where she remained for the rest of her life.
St. Wiborada had chosen the good part and was focused totally on Christ, serving Him without distraction. The anchoritic lifestyle proved fruitful and she grew in prayer and wisdom. Although noted for her austerities and severe mortifications, she applied such things only to herself, maintaining a demeanor of gentleness and kindness toward others. As the years progressed, St. Wiborada became well-known and loved in the area. The local townspeople sought her advice and counsel, and spread the word that God had given her the gift of prophecy. A young boy, who was being educated at St. Gallen, visited the saint often as he traveled to and from the Monastery. It is said that she prophesied his elevation to the episcopate. This was St. Ulrich, Bishop of Augsburg, who years later still regarded St. Wiborada as his spiritual mother.
The fame of the anchoress of St. Gallen continued to spread and many visitors frequented her cell due to her counsel, healings, miracles and prophecies. A group of spiritual daughters gradually gathered around her. She did not start a monastery, but remained an anchoress. She counseled them to remain in town and live as recluses or solitaries, totally dedicated to Jesus Christ. The only spiritual daughter to become an actual companion of St. Wiborada was St. Rachilda. She suffered terribly from an undiagnosed disease and doctors had given up any hope of her recovery. Hearing of the renowned anchoress' healing ability, St. Rachilda had been brought to St. Wiborada who, through the power of Christ, healed her. In gratitude, St. Rachilda remained with her and was also walled up in a cell adjoining the church of St. Mang. St. Wiborada also healed St. Rachilda's sister of a painful disease.
One day, while at prayer, St. Wiborada became drowsy. She foresaw her own martyrdom at the hands of the Magyars of Hungary, but was assured that St. Rachilda would be spared. She warned the clergy in town as well as the monks of the Monastery of the impending invasion and suggested that they hide not only themselves, but the library's irreplaceable collection of books. Abbot Engilbert wanted to transport the saint to a safe haven; however, she told him it was her duty to remain and pray for the inhabitants of the city. He finally heeded her warnings and the library was rescued from the Hungarian incursion. The invaders burned down the town and the monastery, as well as the Church of St. Mang. They made a hole in the roof of St. Wiborada's cell, and found her kneeling in prayer at the altar. They struck her in the head with an axe and left her to die. It was around 926 A.D. In accordance with St. Wiborada's prediction, St. Rachilda survived undiscovered in her cell. It is recorded that after her spiritual mother's martyrdom, St. Rachilda's disease returned and she spent the rest of her life learning patience through suffering. She survived her benefactress for twenty-one years and was placed under the spiritual guidance of the abbot of St. Gallen.
The iconographic image of St. Wiborada which graces our bindery is a copy of a drawing painted between 1430-1436 by Monk Friedrich Kolner from Herzfeld. It is the oldest portrayal of St. Wiborada and is found in a manuscript written for the nuns of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Georgen near St. Gallen. The drawing shows St. Wiborada with a book (symbolizing the library which she saved and her work as a bookbinder) and an axe3 (symbolizing her martyrdom). St. Wiborada is commemorated on May 2nd and May 11th and is called the Patroness of Libraries.
1. We would like to extend our gratitude to Father Edward Rommen, Pastor of Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, for his translation of an article in German relative to this biography and to Noel Anderson who sent us Nancy Virginia Ottman's Master's thesis which includes the first biography of St. Wiborada written by a monk of St. Gallen.
2. St. Wiborada, whose name means "counsel of women", is also known as "Wiborad", "Guiborat" or "Weibrath".
3. The anachronistic axe is a Hellebarde which did not come into existence until the 15th century.