Catherine Saucier, associate professor of musicology in the School of Music, released a new book "A Paradise of Priests: Singing the Civic and Episcopal Hagiography of Medieval Liège," which was published by the University of Rochester Press earlier this year. In "A Paradise of Priests," Saucier examines the music of religious worship in medieval Liège, the seat of a vast diocese in northwestern Europe that accommodated as many Masses each day as Rome.
The book reveals within the liturgy and ritual a civic function by which local clerics promoted the holy status of their city. Analyzing hagiographic and historical writings, religious art, and sung ceremonies relevant to the city's genesis, destruction and eventual rebirth, Saucier uncovers richly varied ways in which liégeois clergymen fused music with text, image and ritual to celebrate the city's sacred episcopal origins and saintly persona. The work forges new interdisciplinary connections between musicology, the liturgical arts, the cult of saints, church history and urban studies and is an essential resource for scholars and students interested in the history of the Low Countries, hagiography and its reception, and ecclesiastical institutions.