Our Lady's Mirror

Summer 1931

We are living in historic days again. New beginnings, new prospects, new hopes. One wonders how people felt and talked and thought in Walsingham eight hundred and seventy years ago when they saw the walls of the little chapel in the meads by the Stiffkey river rising; and when among the trees they found the Holy House completed. What did these people, just like ourselves, in most things, but long- haired be-tunicked Saxons, think when they looked into that new little building for the first time? How small and insignificant and new it all looked; did it have a wonderful atmosphere from the first, or was there a cold damp feeling with the horrid smell of new mortar? We cannot help thinking of these things. Today a building larger than the original Holy House is rising once again, and at the same time within it a reproduction of the famous Santa Casa is growing. In years gone by the outer chapel grew to protect the ancient Shrine; today the Shrine and its guardian church are growing both together. The walls are rising, the door frames are being put into place, and soon the roof will be soaring up into the sky, and we hope an image of Our Blessed Lady will be seen crowning the gable - a sign to all passing by that here once again stands a church built to guard England's Nazareth, a chapel built according to the desire of the Mother of God. All over the country priests are offering the Holy Sacrifice every week with the special intention and petition that God will pour out the plenitude of His grace and favour on this little spot, so that it may become a great and living force and power in the lives of multitudes. They are interceding too that the Bishop will license the chapel so that pilgrims and others may receive the Bread of Life in this Shrine of the Incarnation and that the Holy Sacrifice may be offered for the living and the departed. All members of the Society are requested to make these petitions daily and to assist at Holy Mass for these very desirable objects. We wonder if the brothers and sisters of the SOLW realise what a tremendous privilege is theirs at the present time? The GAS, the CBS, the LOL, the COL, have been in existence for many years, but not one of these societies, as far as we know, has yet got or built a special Chapel or Church of its own as its oratory. And this is partly what this new little church will be - the home of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham; and such a home! Very small, yes! very simple, yes! very insignificant, yes! - but the reconstructed Nazareth of England, the reconstructed Shrine of Mary. Herod's temple was only a faint shadow of the glories of its predecessor, but it was the desire of the hearts of all true Israelites. May this little church be the mecca of English speaking Catholics for many a century to come. The Golden Book of Our Lady's friends is growing - a record of those who are showing their love for Mary and their desire that the House of her choice in this land should be an accomplished fact. We hope every member of the Society of Our Lady has sent something towards their new home? If you have not done so yet, do not hesitate any longer, but send whatever you can afford, and Now! The plans for the opening of the Shrine and the Translation of the Holy Image are beginning to be formed, and it is our earnest hope that as many of the SOLW as possible will make it their business to come. There will be no organised pilgrimage on this occasion, but a special day train from London will be run, when the fare will be greatly reduced. If we could guarantee 200 passengers, a special train could also be run from the North. Who will undertake to organise this? [Outline details of the proposed programme for the day are given.] We would be grateful if all those brothers and sisters who joined the Society in a flush of a pilgrimage, and who no longer have any interest or devotion for this place, would send back their Scapulas, as we want the confraternity to be a living reality and a zealous body, and would infinitely rather have just a hundred keen members than a thousand indifferent confreres. [A copy of the stone inscription placed in the wall of the Holy House is given.] There are no illustrations in this issue: one of Enid Chadwick's drawings of the village is shown above gifts: for the list of gifts to the Shrine so far, click here wants: for the long list of "almost endless" wants for the new church, click here
one of Enid Chadwick’s village drawings