Our Lady's Mirror

Autumn 1945

The Administrator’s cottage, August 1945
Small pilgrimages are being made to the Holy House by lay folk led by their priests, but transport is still difficult. However, quite large Roman Catholic pilgrimages of men and women in the Forces are visiting the Slipper Chapel, but, alas, our Chaplains are either not Catholics or have little devotion to our Lady, which those in their charge for the vast majority seem indifferent to religion and totally ignorant of Catholicism; besides, it is doubtful if buses and cars would be placed at the disposal of our folk. The difficulty of providing accommodation for pilgrims and visitors is growing acute. So many who used to take people have either died, or their things have worn out, or they have people living with them, while the new residents, so far, do not know Our Lady, being “Strangers” – as we say in Norfolk. The Administrator and Bursar have at last left the Vicarage and are living in the College. The buildings so far consist of two cottages, and S. Augustine’s (in which are two bed-sitting rooms), and the Library. There is no kitchen or dining hall – these are in the course of reconstruction, so that the Fathers have to camp out for meals in the Refectory. We hope, however, in a few months at least, to be settled in our own feeding quarters. The promised pictures of the Administrator’s Lodge as it was eighteen months ago and as it is now are printed in this copy of the Mirror. The Shrine Home At last the family has got into the new house, and it really is very charming. There have been quite a large number of visitors, and they all express their delight at the house with its surroundings. There is a nice little hall and a large sitting room, a small dining room with a minute little room leading off, and a good kitchen, while on the first floor there are four bedrooms. The Choir School On July 27th the first chapter of the story of our Choir School finished, when the boys broke up for the holidays. Ever since they came, about the middle of the Summer term, 1944, they have been occupying quarters in the precincts of the Shrine, but with the opening of the Autumn term on September 24th they start at the Vicarage, where the School is to be installed for the present. Mr and Mrs Batts who came with Quainton Hall will not return in September, Mr Batts having accepted a post at Berkhampsted. It is difficult to say how we could have made the change-over as easily as we have from Long Marston to Walsingham without the attention and devotion of the Batts to the boys, and it is with mixed feelings that they leave the story, but this is certainly mitigated by the fact that Mr Tapping who is well-known to many of us at Walsingham, together with his wife, is the new Head Master. If energy and zeal coupled with high qualifications and wide teaching experience count for anything, we have every prospect of a great future under their capable guidance. With the move the School takes on a new name, being no longer connected with Quainton Hall, Harrow, of which up to the present it has formed the Country Branch. So with the complete change-over the School becomes in the fullest sense a real part of the Shrine organisation, with Governors chosen from among the Guardians of the Sanctuary of the Holy House. Its name? you will ask. Well, this has proved a very thorny problem, and various names were suggested, and no less than two were chosen, but finally each in turn had to be discarded for one reason or another, and at last it has been decided to call it the Sanctuary School. This is really a very apt title, for it emphasises the fact that it is the School of the Sanctuary of our Lady of Walsingham; but we anticipate as time goes on that it will become known far and wide simples as “Walsingham”. We wonder! A new prospectus, still we fear war-time in make-up, can be had on application, and we are hoping that our readers’ interest is sufficient for them to make this work under the ægis of our Blessed Lady known. The School is being run as a definitely Catholic School, and as such should provide a real need. The Sisters of Our Lady of Walsingham Life for our Sisters is very strenuous at this time of the year, with the house full of visitors and a number of small pilgrimages coming constantly; but they are bearing up very well and seem cheerful, and that is always a good sign. On the Saturday in the Solemnity of S. Benedict they sang Mass most beautifully in their Chapel, which by the way is becoming quite a little Shrine in itself – but it looks as if the days are not far off when a larger choir will have to be built or found for them. Another need for attention is evident in the Hospice. We just cannot find sufficient room in or out of it for the number of pilgrim visitors who want to come; a real problem faces us here. The Sale was as usual a great success, and notes and silver and copper seemed to accumulate, but what for one could not imagine as it was very difficult to get goods for the stalls, and yet when the day arrived they all seemed well stocked. This is always an annual event, and despite a furniture sale in the village on the same afternoon our old local supporters and others from around turned up as usual. articles: 'The Ballad of Our Lady's Jongleur'; 'Some less familiar shrines'; 'The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: When You Cannot Hear Mass'; A Naval Chaplain since deceased, 'A Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Walsingham ten years ago'; 'S Richard of Dundalk' photographs: Administrator's cottage in Spring 1944, and in August 1945 [above]; In the College Precincts; South View of the Sanctuary School [the vicarage]