Our Lady's Mirror

Winter/Spring 1938

view of the extension work from the south-east
Winter/Spring Number 1938 Summer Number 1938 Autumn Number 1938
Press of work compels us to make this a combined Winter and Spring Number of “The Mirror” and to produce it as a double number in theory, though not in fact! There is so much to be done and so few to help at Walsingham that it is becoming quite an Herculean task. First there is the Parish – or rather three parishes; although Great Walsingham Church is closed in the Winter, there are always things to be done there. The work at the Shrine increases almost daily, and the correspondence occupies two people most of every day except Sundays; and with the building operation going on too, there is little time to spare. The site for the Collegiate House is secured, there are even some Priests willing to come – but they cannot live in the open and we dare not risk putting them into condemned cottages, with the danger of the roof collapsing or the walls giving way! We hope all readers of “The Mirror” will write for a copy of “An Account of Some Recent Discoveries on the Site of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham”, price 7d. post free. So far four have asked for copies, this does not suggest many fresh editions. These old foundations are causing us some anxiety, as part are still exposed, and although they are covered temporarily, the action of the rain, or frost or heat, penetrates the straw and sacking and other covering and is tending to break up the walls – from an historic and archæological point of view alone, this is serious, but if, as we believe, they are the remains of the original Shrine then it amounts almost to sacrilege. What do you think about it? June the 6th, Bank Holiday, we hope will be a great day of pilgrimage to the Holy House, for on that day we intend to bless and open the extension. The function will commence at 12. After lunch, opportunity will be given for pilgrims to see over the Sanctuary, and as it is a pilgrimage, we hope people will make the Stations of the Cross in groups and that Priests will come prepared to lead their people in this. Facilities will be provided for pilgrims to drink the water of the Holy Well and the sick to be sprinkled; here again we ask Priests to volunteer to take turns at the Well to attend to this. Later in the afternoon, Benediction will be given, and a formal last visit will be made, in groups, to the Holy House before departure. As on other visits to the Shrine we would remind all who are intending to go to Walsingham on that occasion not to forget the normal requirements of a pilgrim – Confession and Holy Communion – and an Intention. For the majority their Whitsun duties will of course suffice. We must all bear in mind that despite the extension to the building, the Sanctuary will still only be a Chapel, a good sized Chapel truly, but there is not going to be unlimited room, we have not been able to build to accommodate thousands, but we have made a building that should suffice to accommodate any of our normal pilgrimages, with allowance for a due increase in their numbers. It will be, we fear, a long time before English Catholics, except on very rare occasions, come in great crowds, two or three times a year, as the Roman Catholics are able to do. But this does not perturb us, as we realise how very few Anglicans, comparatively speaking, seem to have any marked regard for our Lady, and the great hope of the Friends of Walsingham scattered throughout the world is that the Shrine there may be such a focussing point that it may kindle in our fellow Christians a great love for Mary, and a deeper reverence and understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation. The Catholic revival in England is still in its infancy, and the restoration of England’s Ancient National Shrine is a step in the long trail in the return of those in Communion with the Province of Canterbury to the full acceptance of Catholic truth. One of the tokens of the medieval pilgrim was an arrow passing through a star, the arrow we presume is a pointer to the Holy House, but the star is symbolic of the light it sheds out in all directions, let us hope it may be true of that Holy Place again. The C.B.S. Chapel is being filled up, it will be very beautiful and occupies the most conspicuous place in the building after the High Altar. It is placed beyond the High Altar and above it, and the Altar and Tabernacle will stand under the semi dome of the apsidal end. This is to be covered in gold leaf, and upon it is to be painted a picture, within an aura, of the Coronation of our Lady. The walls below the core are to be panelled in woods of red and gold. The Altar itself is in cream marble, on a predella of the same, and in the centre of the gradine is to be a tall domed shaped Tabernacle. It is hoped that in this Chapel the Sisters will sing their Office and so free the Holy House. Little has been done yet towards plans for decorating the Chapels of the Priest Associates or Society of Our Lady of Walsingham, as the donations received for these have gone to pay for the actual fabric, but we hope as time goes on to get out schemes and to fit these Chapels up in a manner befitting the honour of Our Lady’s National Shrine. Six people have presented the set of candlesticks for the new High Altar, and parishioners from Walsingham are giving the Cross; these promise to be rather fine ornaments, carved in wood and gilded. Little headway has been made yet towards the work on the Orthodox Eastern Chapel. The Russian Orthodox seem very keen about this work, and hope that it may not be too long in materialising. They are so essentially a pilgrimage-loving race, and now that they are deprived of the joy of visiting their own Holy Places, some are turning their thoughts to Our Lady of Walsingham, and hope to find a Shrine where they can join with us, and yet by possessing their own Chapel can celebrate their Liturgy and receive the Sacraments according to their own rite. The Society of Mary have been offered the Altar of the Annunciation (under the Patronage of S. Gabriel the Archangel and S. Vincent, D.M.), as the Society’s Chapel at Walsingham. By accepting this, in the already built part of the Sanctuary, they have not been asked to pay for the construction of the fabric, as others have had to do, but merely to furnish the Altar. This has been done as an act of gratitude, in recognition of their zeal in promoting, from the beginning, in the old League of Our Lady days, the revival of the Walsingham pilgrimage. It is proposed to have a white stone altar, in place of the existing one, to present four candlesticks, and to have a tapestry of the Annunciation hung behind. There are already some gifts belonging to the Altar, which were presented before the Society accepted the offer, which will, of course, have to remain there. Friday, March 25th, was the 877th Festa of the Holy House, no pilgrimage was organised this year, although from the earliest days of the Norman occupation the Annunciation and Assumption have been the great days for visiting the Shrine. There was a Sung Mass in the Parish Church at 10.30 when the great Candle of the Guardians was presented at the Altar by Mr. George Long, where it was blessed and then taken to the Holy House and set up, to burn each evening for a year. The Candle is maintained by the Guardians. MR ARTHUR SMALLWOOD, O.B.E. Mr Smallwood had been a Guardian of the Shrine for nearly two years before his death on March 9th, and the news of his serious illness came as a shock to all who knew him. From 1921-1934 he had been director of Greenwich Hospital and it was owing to his energy and zeal that the Royal Hospital School for the sons of Naval men was built at Holbrook overlooking the River Stour, and the boys transferred there. The central feature of the School is its magnificent Chapel, dedicated to Our Lady and S. Nicholas. This lovely and stately modern Church, with its dignified High Altar standing before an Apse, resplendent with a unique representation in mosaics of the Nativity of our Lord, was very dear to the heart of Arthur Smallwood, for there in the daily pleading of the Holy Sacrifice was to be the consecration of all the activities of the School. The bell of this great Chapel was baptized by Bishop O’Rorke in the Shrine of our Lady at Walsingham. Great personal devotion to our Lady was the key-note of Arthur Smallwood’s life, and he was overjoyed when asked to join the College of the Guardians of the Holy House. His last visit to the Shrine was in the Summer of 1937. May he rest in peace. NOTICE Pilgrimage to England’s National Shrine to our Lady, 6th June, 1938, on the occasion of the Blessing of the Extension to the Pilgrimage Church four hundred years after the destruction of the original Sanctuary, 1538. The ceremonies will commence at 12 noon and will consist of a procession from the Parish Church and the blessing of the Chapel, followed by High Mass. Opportunities for making the Stations of the Cross; drinking the water of the Well will be provided. Benediction at 5. article: Mother Ariodna, 'Our Lady of Vladimir' photographs: sketch of drawing of building on the medieval seal compared with foundations uncovered in 1931-7; three photographs of the extension work [one above]