Friday, August 15, 2014

Who is ‘Our Lady of Walsingham?’



To answer the question, it must be said that the Shrine Church bearing the title is the national Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary in England, the spiritual epicentre of world Anglican Catholicism. In AD 1061 the Holy Mother of God appeared in a vision to a noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches, and commanded that a Shrine in honour of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Family be built on her land. Our Lady revealed the design she desired to be built, a small house, a replica of the Holy House in which the Annunciation from the Archangel Gabriel took place and in which the Holy Family dwelt at Nazareth. A miraculous well sprang up in the place chosen by the Mother of God for the erection of the Shrine, and so the original Holy House was built thereon. Eventually the small chapel consisting of the House itself was transformed, first into a great pilgrimage Church, and later, an entire Augustinian Priory surrounded and protected the little House of England's Nazareth. Augustinian Canons then governed and administered the largest centre of Marian pilgrimage in all of Europe dating from 1146. The most popular place of Marian pilgrimage in the country, it closely rivalled the Shrine of Saint Thomas of Canterbury for overall celebrity. Our Lady of Walsingham is Our Lord’s Mother, the title by which the Mother of Jesus Christ is historically honoured in the British Isles.

Over the centuries, the Kings of England offered their royal patronage to the Shrine and endowed it with gifts of all kinds: Henry III, Edward II, Edward III, Henry IV, Edward IV, Henry VII, and Henry VIII all made pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Mother of God in Walsingham. King Henry VIII, eager to have their treasures, brought about the destruction of Our Lady's House and Shrine in 1538 - at the dissolution of the monasteries. The devotion lay in abeyance until a young Anglican vicar, Father Alfred Hope Patten, moved to Walsingham in 1921 with the hope of restoring the ancient Shrine as well as the ancient Faith. A leader of the Catholic Movement in the Anglican Church, the energetic Father Patten restored the fullness of orthodox doctrine and practice to the parish Church of Saint Mary's, Little Walsingham, and in 1922 he restored the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham inside the parish Church at the north side of the building. It was his idea to base the new statue of Our Lady of Walsingham on the Image depicted on the seal of the medieval Priory. Regular pilgrimage and devotion were returned to Walsingham. From the first night the Image was restored, people gathered to offer their intercessions in union with the prayers of Our Lady, and the ministry of prayer, intercession, and devotion has gone on unbroken every day since. Father Patten firmly believed that if the Anglican Church were truly an Apostolic Church, it must have a living centre of devotion to the Mother of the Lord. The Restoration of the Shrine was for him a proof of Anglicanism's universality and a vital connection with her pre-reformation Faith and history.


Throughout the 1920s, the trickle of pilgrims became a flood of large numbers, for whom eventually a Pilgrim Hospice was opened (a hospice is technically the name of a place of hospitality for pilgrims) and in 1931, a new Holy House encased in a small pilgrimage church was dedicated, and the Image translated there with great solemnity. In 1938 that church was enlarged to form the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady, more or less as we know it today. Anglicans around the world continue to flock to England's Nazareth to worship and adore the Divine Son of Mary, Jesus Christ, and to venerate God's lowly Mother. Devotion to Our Lady under the title of Walsingham has become an undoubted defining characteristic of the Traditional Anglican. 15th October 1931 is today commemorated as the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. In 2005, the Anglican Shrine was ranked by the BBC as Britain's most popular and loved site of Christian pilgrimage and prayer: the dream of Father Patten has been realised and Walsingham is once again the centre of orthodox English Church life and devotion.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Enid Chadwick Triptych

The triptych, or Altar piece, photographed below was designed and painted by the legendary illustrator Enid Chadwick, whose clean, graceful, and flowing images adorn the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. Ms Chadwick was, for all practical purposes, the official artist of the restored Anglican Shrine throughout much of the twentieth century. This triptych was commissioned by Father Conrad Kimbrough, a dear personal friend and an Anglican priest for 25 years. The image now resides in the sacristy of Saint Mary's Church (RC) in Greenville, South Carolina under the custody of my cousin Father Jay Scott Newman, and was used for many years as an elegant reredos for Father Kimbrough's oratory Altar. Enjoy!

Of your Christian charity, pray for the blessed repose of the souls of Conrad Kimbrough, priest, and Enid Chadwick.




Blessed Charles Stuart I of England, King and Martyr.

Saint Uriel the Archangel with Saint Charles.


Saint Augustine of Hippo.

Our Blessed Lord and Our Lady of Walsingham with the Archangels Saint Michael and Saint Gabriel.


Saint Ambrose of Milan.

Saint Edward the Confessor with the Archangel Saint Raphael.




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