The Italian Episcopal Conference and the General Management of Italian Libraries and Cultural Institutes are financing a project of improvement in the conservation of the Deposit of Ancient and Rare Books in the Lasallian Library. Thanks to the 8×1000 Fund, we have received this year a contribution of 13,000 euro,. With this we have been able to acquire 270 metres of suitable shelving for the storing of our Deposit of Ancient and Rare Books.
In addition to this, there was a contribution of 2,500 euro from the General Management of Italian Libraries and Cultural Institutes to provide digital cataloguing of the Gazier Martinais Collection (which came directly from the library of Port Royal in France).
The works conserved in our library are of great value both nationally, because most of them are the only copies in Italy, and internationally, because currently copies of them can only be found here and in the Biblioteque National de France.
The uniqueness of these books is due to the fact that they relate to the Jansenist movement in France, and consequently most of them were included in the Index of Prohibited Books. Many difficulties arise in the efforts to catalogue them, because the authors of the XVII and XVIII centuries often used a false title in the fronticepiece so as confuse the officials of the Congregation for the Index and so ensure free circulation for their work.
Some of the books were given by the Biblioteque of Port Royal to Brother Clement-Marcel Martinais who personally received them. Others he carefully searched for and found during the time when he stayed in Rome. This is all well documented by the substantial correspondence preserved in the General Archives of the Institute.
After all these years since the death of Brother Clement-Marcel, we are happy to be able to announce that the value of his collection has been properly appreciated by the competent institutions and that they show their appreciation by providing the much needed financial support.
The Service for Lasallian Research and Resources is making every effort to ensure that, once the work of cataloguing is completed, it will be possible to publish a study guide of this collection, unique in Lasallian history, in order to make more it widely known.
Those who wish to carry out research, or are simply curious to know what texts are available online, may go to the link:
Write the words ‘Gazier Martinais’ in the field ricerca [research], and you will see in alphabetical order the list of books catalogued so far.