24 Sept: Our Lady of Walsingham

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The great p.p. of Brighton, Fr. Ray Blake of St. Mary Magadalen has this great post:

The Wrecks of Walsingham

[attributed to Sir Philip Howard]

In the wrecks of Walsingham
Whom should I choose
But the Queen of Walsingham
to be my guide and muse !

Then, the Prince of Walsingham,
Grant me to frame
Bitter plaints to rue thy wrong,
Bitter woe for thy name.

Bitter was it, O to see
The silly sheep
Murdered by the ravenous wolves
While the shepherd did sleep.

Bitter was it, O to view
The sacred vine,
Whilst the gardeners played all close,
Rooted up by the swine.

Bitter, bitter, O to behold
The grass to grow
Where the walls of Walsingham
So stately did show.

Such were the worth of Walsingham
While she did stand,
Such are the wrecks as now do show
Of that Holy Land.

Level, level, with the ground
The towers do lie,
Which, with their golden glittering tops,
Pierced out to the sky.

Where were gates are no gates now,
The ways unknown
Where the press of friars did pass
While her fame was blown.

Owls do screech where the sweetest hymns
Lately were sung,
Toads and serpents hold their dens Where the
palmers did throng.

Weep, weep O Walsingham,
Whose days are nights,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to despites.

Sin is where Our Lady sat,
Heaven is turned to hell,
Satan sits where Our Lady did sway —
Walsingham, O farewell!.

Fr. Blake continues….

No other act symbolises the end of Catholic England than the destruction of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the burning of her statue at Chelsea. It marked the rejection of the Catholic idea of Grace. The model of the fragility of the Christ child in the arms of the fragile Virgin, was replaced by the state in its might imposing its will on the Christians of England.

I very much would like to visit the Shrine, hopefully during my next trip to the UK.

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  1. Fr. John Mary says:

    Our Lady of Walsingham, Virgin of Nazareth, pray for us in these dark times, that the beloved Pontiff, Benedict XVI, and all the bishops in union with him, may guide the Church, the Barque of Peter, in the tempest of apostasy, atheism, attacks upon the family,unborn, elderly and terminally ill and general lukewarmness. Amen.

  2. Sid says:

    No other act symbolises the end of Catholic England than the destruction of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the burning of her statue at Chelsea

    And the Christian faith in the English speaking world has been in chaos ever since, divided into a myriad of sects, some quite bizarre. And now it’s worth asking if the UK is even a Christian country, despite the Oxford Movement in the 19th C and the Anglo-Catholic movement (Eliot, Lewis) in the 20th.

    All this not because of doctrinal conflict, but only because Henry VIII wanted a divorce.

  3. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    Walsingham is one of the earliest Marian apparitions, when Our Lady appeared to Richeldis de Faverches in 1061. The site of the ancient shrine is in private hands, and all that remains is ‘the lonely arch’, what’s left of the east wall and rose window, which was kept as a folly by the new owners. The main gate still opens on the High Street, and archaeologists have determined where the Holy House was located. The Catholic shrine is the Slipper Chapel, which is where the pilgrims used to take off their shoes before walking the last Holy Mile barefoot. It had been used as a barn for centuries before it was bought by a Catholic convert around the turn of the last century and restored for Catholic worship. It really is a shame that so few Catholics know about what had been one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, with the faithful coming from all parts of England and the Continent. Our Lady of Walsingham should be as much in our hearts and devotion as Our Lady of Lourdes or Fatima.

  4. Supertradmom says:

    On this special day, I ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on “Mary’s Dowry” England. May Our Lady of Walsingham give us good priests and holy priests. Let us also pray for our brethren at Our Lady of Walsingham parish in Houston.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    My husband and I spent the first 2 days of our Honeymoon at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Walsingham is a small, charming English town located in Norfolk. Currently the Catholic portion of the shrine is located next to the Slipper Chapel (the only part of the original Shrine to have survived – it’s about a mile from the larger main shrine in town, where pilgrims used to leave their shoes to walk the rest of the way barefoot). The original shrine of course was destroyed, only a large archway remains. The Anglican portion of the current shrine is in town (and is quite beautiful), and there is a small Orthodox chapel in town as well. We went during the month of June and it was neither crowded nor commercial. The town is still rather pastoral – we could even hear the lambs bleating in the background during Mass. My husband and I joined up with a small Catholic pilgrim group taking Our Lady’s statue to the Slipper Chapel for Mass, then back to town – we were even asked to help carry the statue during part of the procession! It was so simple, and so very beautiful. The town was lovely, the people very friendly, and I highly recommend going. We loved it so much, and hope to go back for our 5th Anniversary.

  6. Traductora says:

    I’ve never been to Walsingham, which I gather has been restored, but I did visit the “bare ruined choirs” of Fountains in Yorkshire once. The ruins have not been restored, but have been preserved and are now a national park. The thing that stunned me was the size of it; medieval pilgrims and travelers emerging from the woods and fields must have felt as moderns do when they see New York. And all of it destroyed by Henry VIII in 1539 and sold off among his buddies. Mary’s Dowry. I hope someday this is realized.

  7. RichR says:

    Our Lady of Walsingham is an amazing parish. If I lived in Houston, I’d make the drive every Sunday to go here. A friend of mine who is a Jesuit seminarian is doing his pastoral work here.

    Here’s a photo of the sanctuary:


  8. Fr. John Mary says:

    And to add to my prayer above: We had the EF this morning in our Conventual Mass offered in honor of our Lady of Ransom, which to my understanding, is in England, called Our Lady of Pity, for the return of England to the Catholic Faith. May She bring all of us to Her Divine Son. Amen.

  9. irishgirl says:

    I had never gone to Walshingham on any of my England trips-wish I had-but my priest-friend from the Salford diocese [ordained by JP II in 1982] has been many a time, and has sent me many pictures of the beautiful statue of Our Lady and the Child Jesus, ranging from postcards to an 8″ x 12″ picture.

    There used to be a Carmelite nuns’ monastery at the Catholic shrine, but it was closed a couple of years ago-on St. Teresa of Avila’s feastday, no less-and the Sisters transferred to other Carmels. My friend told me about it in one of his postcards, and when he phoned me.

    Our Lady of Walsingham, please bring ‘your Dowry’ back to the true Faith!

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