There is truly a wealth of titles and attributes highlighting the tremendous esteem and veneration given to Mary as Fountain during the Middle Ages, which will be presented in four categories.

General attributes:

 

Mary is hailed as fons dilectionis (fons amoris1) – fountain of love2; fons iucunditatis – fountain of kindness; 3 fons admirabilis (fons es admirabilis )4 – admirable fountain;5  fons deliciarum – fountain of delight; 6 fons laetitiae – fountain of joy7;fons iustitiae – fountain of justice8; fons sapientiae – fountain of wisdom;  9 fons doctrinae – fountain of doctrine;10 pacis fons – fountain of peace ;11 fons virtutum – fountain of virtues;12  universae bonitatis fons – fountain of all embracing goodnes; 13 fons totius bonitatis (prunn der guete )14– fountain of goodness;15 fons charismatum; 16 ein brunne aller miltekeit – fountain of meekness;17  fons hortorum, aquarum puteus; 18 puteus dulcoris,19 fons dulcoris – well, fountain of sweetness; 20Maria ein fonteyn der suyssicheit  - Mary a fountain of sweetness;21  hortorum tu fons vere gratus ad irrigandum datus, tu puteus aquarum latus cum impetus fluentium – You fountain of gardens freely given to watering, you well of waters which flow generously and strong;22  fons, quae non siccaris, o quam suavis, dum gustaris – fountain which does never cease, o how sweet is your taste .23

Descriptive titles highlighting the Immaculate Conception:

Keeping in mind that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not yet defined we can nevertheless find invocations indicative of this privilege of Mary: fons signatus  (Brunne besigelter )24 – sealed fountain;  25fons signatus atque clauses – sealed and closed fountain;  26 puritatis fons signatus – sealed fountain of purity; 27 fons signatus, aquae vivae puteus;28 claritudo fontis – clear as a fountain;29 fons virtutis nimiae, dulcis et diligenda- fountain of extraordinary sweet and loving virtues;30 sanctitatis fons et bonatis – fountain of sanctity and goodness; 31 fons roris – fountain of dew; 32  fons magnificae pietatis; 33 paradisi patens fons – free fountain of paradise; 34  fons indeficiens aridos reficiens – fountain continuously refreshing the dry lands; 35 fons totius pietatis, sordis careens carie – fountain of all piety free of all pollution and corruption; 36 klarheit lûter brunne, dâ nieht trüebes is in deme zarten vluzze – fountain of utter clarity because there is no pollution in your water; 37 ein gruntlôser brunne – a bottomless well. 38

 

Descriptive titles highlighting Mary’s Divine Maternity:

 

Clearly the majority of statements regarding Mary as fountain point to her divine maternity as the following selection proves: fons vivus – living fountain;39 fons vivus fluens gratia;40  vivus fons hortorum – living fountain of the gardens;41 viventium aquarum puteus – well of life giving water;42 fons vitalis – vital fountain;43 fons vitae;44 viventium aquarum puteus – well of living waters;45 Fons olei;46 fons misericordiae- fountain of mercy;47 puram et profundam gratiarum undam fecundam funde vitae fons – pure and profound fertile water of graces well from the depth of the fountain of life;48 ave vivus fons hortorum, quem mens sitit contritorum, lava labem peccatorum – Hail living fountain of the gardens for which the contrite mind thirsts to be washed clean from sin;49 fons crescens in fluvium, vena veniarum, riga prata mentium rivis gratiarum –fountain flowing (growing) into the river, spring of springs;50 fons, quo pietatis rivus clangens effluit – fountain from which emerges a powerful river of virtues;51 dulcis fons charismatum dulcorans affectum- sweet fountain, sweetly equipped gift;52 fons, qui facis irrigum hortum – fountain watering the garden;53 tu es puteolus, ex quo efferbuit rivus, qui Stygea siti nos eruit – you are the little well of which flows a river that will free us thirsting in the netherworld;54 fons aquae salutaris – fountain of saving waters;55  du bist der gezeichent brunne, dar in schein diu lebendie sunne – you are the sealed well in which shines the living sun;56 dîn güete kan ûf wallen und als ein brunne quellen – your goodness can unfold and overflow as fountain;57 und des vinden wir eine urchunde in der alten ê an dem ersten bûche, daz ist in genesi; wan da lese wir daz in dem paradise ein brunne uf gie von der erde und der brunne der machot das paradise allesamt fiuhte. Wer ist der brunne der da von der erde ist ûf gegangen? Sich das ist der zarte got der haizet ain lebendiger brunne und der ist och ufgegangen von der erde, daz ist von der zarton maget Marion – And we find a document in the Old Testament in the first book which is called Genesis, where we read that in the paradise welled up a fountain from the earth and this fountain makes fertile all of paradise. Who is this fountain, which emerged from the earth? Behold, it is the gentle God who is also called a living fountain who welled up from the earth, which is of the gentle handmaid Mary;58 ex te fluit fons hortorum, paradisi nostrae mentis – from you flows the fountain of the gardens, the paradise of our souls.59

Descriptive titles highlighting Mary as the Mediatrix

These are just a few examples, which could be applied to Mary’s motherly privilege of obtaining or mediating favors for us, her children. These titles could as well be attributed to Mary’s maternity. However, since the symbol of the fountain implies the channeling of goods, the following titles are representative of Mary’s mediation:

 

Potum da de fonte pietatis, nos sitientes– give a drink from the fountain of piety to us who thirst;60Mariae fons irrigus – water bringing fountain of Mary;61 fons totius pietatis, lacte et melle profluus – fountain of all piety overflowing with milk and honey;62 fons indeficiens ad te curro sitiens, dulcis et reficiens – never ceasing sweet and refreshing fountain to you I run thirsty;63 der gnaden prunn – well of graces 64; Dieser verschlossne Gart ist vom Herrn selbst verwahrt. Der Brunn zum Leben, pflegt ihm die Fruchtbarkeit, Durch der Gnad Feuchtigkeit, reichlich zu geben. - This closed garden preserved by the Lord Himself. The fountain to Life nourishes His fruitfulness, through the moisture of grace, to give abundantly 65.

Descriptive titles highlighting the Virginity of Mary:

The following titles do not explicitly describe Mary’s perpetual virginity and yet they illustrate without a doubt her undivided surrender to God:

fons pietatis – fountain of piety;66 fons exundas pietatis – fountain overflowing with piety;67 ave, virgo, fons splendidissime – Hail, Virgin, most splendid fountain;68 tu fons pietatis manans largiter – You richly flowing fountain of piety;69 lûter ursprinc ewekeit ein brunne – a chaste well which emerged from eternity;70 der cheusch ein prunn – the chaste well.71

The more than sixty titles listed here give testimony of the inventive and symbolic wealth of the faithful during the Middle Ages. With an intuitive grasp of orthodoxy the devotional and liturgical piety of the times reflects the doctrinal core of Mariology. In the symbol of Fountain, Well or Springs, the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated as the sinless, ever Virgin, Mother of God, who from heaven is continuously engaged in providing the waters of our salvation. 

 

Sr. M. Danielle Peters


[1]Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 446.
[2] Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p. 21
[3] Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p. 10.
[4] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 598.
[5] Josef Kehrein ed. Lateinische Sequenzen des Mittelalters aus Handschriften und Drucken. Mainz 1873, p.331.
[6] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 593.
[7] Ibid, p. 511.
[8]Josef Kehrein ed. Lateinische Sequenzen des Mittelalters aus Handschriften und Drucken. Mainz 1873. p.8f. See also: Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 373.
[9]Ibid,  p.331.
[10] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p.507.
[11] Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p 14.
[12] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 549.
[13] Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p. 94.
[14] Phil. Wackernagel, Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der ältesten Zeit bis zum Anfang des 17. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig 1867, p. 62.
[15] Josef Kehrein ed. Lateinische Sequenzen des Mittelalters aus Handschriften und Drucken. Mainz 1873, p.306. See also: V.P. Gall Morel, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelaters, grösstenteils aus Handschriften schweizerischer Klöster als Nachtrag zu den Sammlungen von Mone. Einsiedeln, New York and Cincinnati 1868, p. 193.
[16] Ibid, p.190.
[17] F.W.E. Roth, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelaters, Augsburg 1888, p. 248.
[18] Gust. Milchsack ed. Hymni et Sequentiae cum compluribus aliis et latinis et gallicis necnon et theotiscis carminibus medio aevo composites. P.I.Halis Saxonum 1886, p.25.
[19] Ibid, p.26.
[20] Ibid, p. 184.
[21] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 432.
[22] Gust. Milchsack ed. Hymni et Sequentiae cum compluribus aliis et latinis et gallicis necnon et theotiscis carminibus medio aevo composites. P.I.Halis Saxonum 1886. p. 721.
[23] Ibid, p. 261.
[24] K. Müllenhoff, W. Scherer, Denkmäler deutscher Poesie und Prosa aus dem VIII. – XII. Jahrhundert. Berlin 1873, p. 10.
[25] Thesaurus hymnologicus sive hymnorum canticorum sequentiarum circa annum MD usitatrum collectio amplissima. Carmina collegit apparatus critico ornavit, veterum interpretum notas selectas suasque adiecit. Page 339. See also: Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p.380,531.
[26] V.P. Gall Morel, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters, grösstenteils aus Handschriften schweizerischer Klöster als Nachtrag zu den Sammlungen von Mone. Einsiedeln, New York and Cincinnati 1868, pp. 186f, 193, 206.
[27] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 531.
[28]V.P. Gall Morel, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters, grösstenteils aus Handschriften schweizerischer Klöster als Nachtrag zu den Sammlungen von Mone. Einsiedeln, New York and Cincinnati 1868, pp. 24, 172, 413, 178.
[29] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 172.
[30] Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p.68, 74.
[31] Ibid, p. 57.
[32] Josef Kehrein ed. Lateinische Sequenzen des Mittelalters aus Handschriften und Drucken. Mainz 1873, p.290.
[33]Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p. 58
[34] Ibid, p 4.
[35] Ibid,, p. 94.
[36] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p.586.
[37] Fr. H.v.d.Hagen, Hagens Minnesinger. Deutsche Liederdichter des 12., 13. und 14. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig, 1838, p. 338.
[38] Germania Vierteljahrschrift fr deutsche Alterthumskunde. Franz Pfeiffer and K. Bartsch ed. Stuttgart and Vienna 1856 296.
[39] Thesaurus hymnologicus sive hymnorum canticorum sequentiarum circa annum MD usitatrum collectio amplissima. Carmina collegit apparatus critico ornavit, veterum interpretum notas selectas suasque adiecit. Page 339. See. Anselm Salzer, Die Sinnbilder und Beiworte Mariens in der deutschen Literatur und lateinischen Hymnenpoesie des Mittelalters, Darmstadt, 1967.
[40]F.W.E. Roth, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelaters, Augsburg 1888, p. 189.
[41]Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, pp. 507, 510, 604.
[42] Ibid, p.593
[43]Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p 9.
[44] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, pp. 479,498,252;480.
[45]Ibid, p.593.
[46] F.W.E. Roth, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters, Augsburg 1888, p. 184.
[47]Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p 10.
[48] Ibid, p. 11. [49]Ibid, p. 2
[50] Ibid, p. 74.
[51]Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p. 49.
[52] Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p. 74.
[53] Ibid, p. 24.[54] Ibid, p. 137.
[55] Ibid, p. 91.
[56] Fr. H.v.d.Hagen, Hagens Minnesinger. Deutsche Liederdichter des 12., 13. und 14. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig, 1838, p.342.
[57] Ibid, p. 542.
[58] Franz K. Grieshaber, Deutsche Predigten des 13. Jahrhunderts. Stuttgart 1844-1846, p.55.
[59] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p.28.
[60]Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi. I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p. 35.
[61] Fr. J. Mone, Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters. II volume. Freiburg 1854, p.480.
[62] Ibid, p.471.
[63] Ibid, pp.561, 413.
[64] Phil. Wackernagel, Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der ältesten Zeit bis zum Anfang des 17. Jahr-hunderts. Leipzig 1867, p. 63.
[65] Stefan Geissel, Geschichte der Verehrung Marias im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert. Ein Beitrag zur Religionswissenschaft und Kunstgeschichte.  Herder Verlag Freiburg im Breisgau 1910, p. 251.
[66]Quido M. Dreves  Analecta hymnica  medii aevi.I. Cantiones bohemicae. Leipzig 1886, p.42.
[67] Ibid, p 121.
[68] Ibid, p. 18.
[69] Ibid, p 42.
[70] Fr. H.v.d.Hagen, Hagens Minnesinger. Deutsche Liederdichter des 12., 13. und 14. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig, 1838, p. 342.
[71] Phil. Wackernagel, Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der ältesten Zeit bis zum Anfang des 17. Jahr-hunderts. Leipzig 1867, p. 63.

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