A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Our Lady of Walsingham. Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary, venerated by Catholics and some Anglicans. Associated with the 1061 Marian apparitions to Richeldis de Faverches, a pious English noblewoman, in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk. Lady Richeldis had a structure built named The Holy House in Walsingham, which later became a shrine and place of pilgrimage. In passing on his guardianship of the Holy House, Richeldis’ son Geoffrey left instructions for the building of a Priory in Walsingham. The Priory passed into the care of the Canons Regular of St Augustine in the late Twelfth Century. According to tradition, in a Marian apparition the Blessed Virgin Mary took Richeldis’ soul from England to Nazareth during a religious ecstasy to show the house where the Holy Family once lived and in which the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel occurred. Richeldis was given the task of building a replica house in her village in England. By the time of its destruction in late 1538, during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII, the shrine had become one of the greatest religious centres in England and Europe, together with Glastonbury and Canterbury. It had been a place of pilgrimage during medieval times, when due to wars and political upheaval travel to Rome and Santiago de Compostela was tedious and difficult. Royal patronage had helped the shrine to grow both in wealth and popularity, receiving regal visits from the following: King Henry III; Kings Edward I, II and IV; Kings Henry IV, V, VII and VIII; Queen Catherine of Aragon. In 1513, Erasmus had said: “When you look in you would say it is the abode of saints, so brilliantly does it shine with gems, gold and silver. Our Lady stands in the dark, a little image, remarkable neither for its size, material or workmanship.” A Prior having led a scandalous life before order was restored, the English Reformation suppression of the monasteries came when another Prior saw a serious plot hatched to resist the suppression and 11 men were executed, the Sub-Prior being hanged outside the Priory walls. The suppression of the Walsingham Priory was under the supervision of Sir Roger Townshend, a local landowner. Walsingham was famous and its fall symbolic, with the statue pf Our Lady being carried away to London. The site of the Priory, with the churchyard and gardens, was granted by the Crown to Thomas Sydney and all that remained of it was the gatehouse, the chancel arch and a few outbuildings. The modern wooden image of Our Lady was carved in Oberammergau, of Passion Play fame, and was once associated with the Virgin of Mercy under the Marian title of Our Lady of Ransom, sometimes called locally Our Lady of the Dowry. The popularity of the Marian cult gradually localised the place of devotion as Our Lady of Walsingham. This month, Anglican Bishop Jonathan Goodall, the fifth Bishop of Ebbsfleet, resigned his post to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, as did the third Bishop of the same Anglican Diocese, Andrew Burnham, in 2010 to become a priest of the personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and honoured by Pope Benedict with the honorary title of Monsignor. The Ordinariate (Ordinariatus Personalis Dominae Nostrae Valsinghamensis in Anglia et Cambria) was established in 2011 under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham and under the patronage of St John Henry Newman, a former Anglican himself, to allow Anglicans to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church whilst retaining much of their heritage and traditions. Image: facebook.com.
His Eminence St John Henry Newman Cong Orat (1801-90). Commemoration of English theologian, popular preacher, writer and poet descended from a notable family of Huguenot refugees. Newman was an Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism, founded University College Dublin and became Cardinal Deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro, the Seventh-Century church in Rome dedicated to St George. Newman was a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford and Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, an important and controversial Nineteenth-Century religious figure in England, known nationally by mid-1830s. The Cork Examiner said he went to his grave with a singular honour of being by all creeds and classes acknowledged as the just man made perfect. Newman was the fifth saint of the City of London, after Thomas Becket, Thomas More, Edmund Campion and Polydore Plasden. Although to the end of his life Newman looked back on his conversion to Evangelical Christianity as the saving of his soul, he gradually moved away from his early Calvinism and came to see Evangelicalism, with its emphasis on religious feeling and on the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone, as a Trojan horse for an undogmatic religious individualism that ignored the church’s role in the transmission of revealed truth and led to subjectivism and scepticism. Venerated in Catholic Church, Church of England, Episcopal Church. Feast Days 11 August in Church of England, 9 October Catholic Church and 21 February Episcopal Church. Patron of personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Image: youtube.com.
Prayer Oh, my Lord and Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Your Sacraments. To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often. Growth is the only evidence of life so fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning. Amen
St Bercthun of Beverley (Bertin, Britwin, Berhthu Beorhthun) (d733). Celtic commemoration of the Eighth-Century Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Beverley monk, a disciple of St John of Beverley and Bede’s informant for much of Bede’s history regarding Beverley. Around 705, Bercthun became the Abbot of Beverley and a Bust of Bercthun is thought to be kept in the British Library. He died on 15 May 733, on which day his Feast was locally kept. At the beginning of the Eighth Century, the 706 Bishop John of York had retired and founded a monastery at Inderawuda, the site of Beverley Minster, to end his life in 721 in a manner pleasing to God and be buried in the Chapel of St Peter, Beverley, his shrine being plundered by Danes around 850 but his remains still lying in a vault beneath the Minster nave. The term Minster is first found in royal foundation charters of the Seventh Century, corresponding to the Latin monasterium (monastery) that designated any settlement of clergy living a communal life and endowed by charter with the obligation of maintaining the daily office of prayer. King Æthelstan, the first King of All England, stopped at Beverley on his way north in 934 so that he could pray for success at the shrine of St John of Beverley and four years later he took the banner of St John into battle against the Scots at Brunanburh (Wendun). In recognition of his success in battle, he gave a number of privileges to Beverley including the right of sanctuary, so that Beverley became a place where fugitives could find a safe place until justice took its course. Æthelstan refounded the Inderawuda Monastery as a collegiate church of secular canons, the establishment of the major Minster and its privileges continued and, by the early-Eleventh-Century, Bishop John’s tomb had become a major pilgrimage centre. The 1051 Archbishop of York Kynesige added a high stone tower and his 1060 successor Ealdred expanded the church with a new presbytery. He also installed a painted and gilded ceiling from the presbytery to the tower. St John’s cult encouraged the growth of a town around the Minster and succeeding Archbishops of York and the Lords of Beverley throughout the Middle Ages secured grants for four annual fairs that enhanced the town’s trading rôle, it having been from the Twelfth Century a major exporter of wool to the Low Countries. A Twelfth-Century charter indicates substantial rebuilding work but nothing remains of the Anglo-Saxon church and no records of building work under the Normans survive. However, large quantities of Norman masonry have been found in excavations throughout the town, and four large arches built behind the nave triforium (arcade) during the Fourteenth Century are composed of reused Norman voussoirs (arch stones). On Easter Sunday 1548, the Collegiate Church of St John the Evangelist at Beverley, together with its chantry chapels, was suppressed and the Minster reduced to the status of a parish church, although larger than many English Cathedrals. York has the principal English Minster and, in the Nineteenth Century, Southwell was elevated, others now similar to Beverley being Reading, Cheltenham, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Grimsby, Halifax, Hull, Leeds, Plymouth, Preston, Rotherham, Sunderland and Newport. Image: youtube.com.