Our Lady's Mirror

Autumn 1941

The High Altar
The chief event since the publication of the last Mirror is the formation of the Priory of Our Lady Star of the Sea, in the precincts of the Shrine. For some time this has been under consideration both by the Community at Laleham and those working at Walsingham. At the last General Chapter of the Guardians a special request was sent to the Reverend Mother asking her to see if the Community would make this departure from their usual practice, and the petition was granted. On the eve of All Saints, after the Chapter Mass in the Abbey Church at Laleham, Sister Helen together with Sister Grace Helen and Sister Marguerite, both of whom have worked many years at Walsingham, with one other professed Sister, were solemnly blessed and sent forth in the face of all the Community assembled, for the great work of founding the first permanent Priory of the Society of Saint Peter. Whereas the Sisters at Walsingham in common with those working in other branch houses, could be recalled to the Mother House at any time and the Hospice could have been closed down, now the Walsingham House forms a small permanent community which cannot be recalled or closed down, with its own Mother Prioress, while still remaining an integral part of the larger Community of S. Peter’s, Westminster. It can receive its own postulants, that is, those who wish to join the Walsingham Priory, although such aspirants will have to spend part of their novitiate in the Mother House at Laleham. Sister Grace Helen and Sister Marguerite, together with the first Mother Prioress, are the foundation Sisters. Other Sisters in the Priory are there to test their vocation to the particular form of Religious life which the unusual work demands at Walsingham. Letters in future to the Sisters should be addressed to The Priory of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Walsingham, while visitors’ address is still The Hospice of Our Lady. Your prayers are asked for God’s blessing upon this new development in the work of the Shrine. Only two hundred members of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham have responded to the suggestion made in the last Mirror and applied for certificates of membership. There are about another four hundred or more members – it would be nice if all would write, send 2½d. for postage and a penny or so more if they like for expenses. We are very anxious for the Society to be a real live fellowship and this is one of the first steps to kindle this – so we ask everyone who receives this copy of the Mirror – for it is only sent to members of the Society(and Priest Associates, who are not necessarily members of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham) – to write NOW for their certificate. Indeed we are going a step further, and suggest that those who do not ask for the certificate do not want to continue members of the Society. By this we shall know how many Mirrors to order in the future. This ought to be of interest to ALL PILGRIMS and VISITORS. Since publication of the last Mirror the ban on visiting the coastal district has been removed, until February, so that anyone can now visit the Shrine and stay in Walsingham until that month. So many people have bemoaned the fact that they could not come because of prohibition – now we shall hope to see all these and many others – but do not delay, February will soon be here. The face of the High Street is changing – the two long-established shops, so well known to pilgrims, Back’s and Curson’s, have changed hands and have been taken over by the Co-operative Society. It is sad when old firms, long respected and good servants of the public, close down. We are anxious that Cells of the S.O.L.W. should be formed in various Parishes and we would ask all Priests who are connected with Walsingham to try and establish one in their parish. Full particulars can now be had from the Secretary at the Shrine office. Three have already been erected. articles: H T F-C, 'The Fraternity of Our Lady de Salve Regina'; Fr P C Ingrouille, 'The Significance of Walsingham' photographs: High Altar of the Pilgrimage Church after mass on 15 October 1941 [above]; temporary shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham at S Stephen's, Clewer