The Swedish Saint Birgitta (1303-1373) belongs to the great female mystics of the European Middle Ages. She founded the Bridgettine order in Vadstena (Sweden) in 1346, and from 1349 on she lived in Rome, where she wrote down her numerous revelations.
This is the earliest edition of her Revelationes extant. Although small extracts were included in some of Bridget's works printed earlier, the present edition commissioned by Vadstena Abbey authenticates Bridget's revelations and forms the basis of succeeding editions and translations. Forewords by Matthias de Suecia and Johannes de Turrecremata, including the papal bull of Bridget's canonisation, and her vita complement the edition. According to the Diarium Vazstenense, a priest Petrus Ingemari and a lay brother Gherhardus went to Lubeck in 1491 to have the Revelationes printed. It further states that 800 copies were printed on paper along with an additional sixteen on vellum. The work was finished the following year and the pair returned to Vadstena on 25 November 1492.
The aforementioned lay brother Gherardus may have also been responsible for the designs of the woodcuts, fine examples of north German printing. Especially remarkable are the full-page illustrations composed of several smaller woodcuts. This allowed for a repetition of the depictions of Christ and the Virgin and of St. Bridget receiving her vision, while changing the subjects of the revelations. The illustration was of considerable influence, as a copy of this edition served as a prototype for Koberger's reprint in 1500.