Our Lady's Mirror

Spring 1946

The new reliquary of S Vincent before receiving the relics
By the time you receive this number of the Mirror you should all have had and read your copy of the Thankoffering Memorial Appeal, and we hope you will have sent your own offering for this to the Administrator. We aim at placing the sum required - £5,000 – on the Altar at the Offertory on the Whit Monday Pilgrimage. You will do all you can, we are confident, to make Walsingham a living witness to all who visit it in time to come of the gratitude of English Catholics to God and our Lady for saving our homeland from invasion and granting us peace. The Administrator’s Quad in the College grounds, which a couple of years ago was a veritable wilderness, is now blooming with flowers and shrubs – a complete transformation. Alas! the Shrine gardens are crying out for renewal and gifts of seeds and plants; also flowering shrubs are badly needed, as the war years have sorely depleted our stocks. Visitors will be glad to hear that a new series of lavatories is being put up to the west of the Hospice, still very primitive, as there is no sanitary system in the village, but more adequate than in the past. We must also emphasise the fact for all visiting priests and laymen that while they are in Walsingham on holiday the members of the College, when in residence, are NOT on holiday and have their work to do, and would be grateful if this was recognised. At the moment there is much too much to be done for the present number of priests, and at least three more are needed if all the work connected with the Shrine and its organisations, to say nothing of the parish, is to be adequately done. To this end it is hoped that some day we may be able to endow five prebends, so that the College may become adequately staffed. We aim at having our own guest house for priests who wish to make private retreats or at least wish to have a quiet time while visiting the Shrine. Our kitchen and hall will be available, we hope, shortly after Easter. Your prayers are asked for the College, and that men may be moved to give their lives to this life, which seems so necessary for the maintenance and continuity of the work of the Shrine. A very large proportion of modern Communities and Colleges are founded upon the rule of S. Augustus to which constitutions suitable for the particular house are added. This is what is done here, and we are under obligation to assist daily in Choir at Mattins (Morning Prayer) and Evensong as well as a Chapter Mass. There are rules, of course, concerning daily prayer and meditation, times of silence, and study: but this is little different from the rule of any secular priest. Our rule has been seen and approved by those competent in such matters. Now a word in passing to visitors and others who have complained because they are not able to run in and out of our precincts or use our garden as a short cut to the Pilgrimage Office, etc. We would like to point out that it is very unreasonable and short-sighted of them. The enclosure of the College is PRIVATE, and why should it be looked upon or treated as public any more than any other dwelling. It must, therefore, be emphasised now, and quite definitely, that it is essential for the life of the College that their precincts and privacy should be respected. This does not mean that the priests are any more unapproachable than when living at the Vicarage; anyone can ask for them at any time, either by calling at the Office at the entrances (as at any person’s front door) or by phone, if appointments are wanted. The people of the parish find it much more convenient having the clergy living in the village rather than “all the way up at the Vicarage”. Since sending these notes to the printers Easter has gone by once more. On the following day a series of day pilgrimages converged on the Shrine, coming from Lowestoft, Peterborough, Ditchingham, and Barsham, Suffolk. The Shrine Church was well filled for the High Mass at 11 a.m. and for the other devotions. Scarcely had these groups left Walsingham when a pilgrimage from South Wales arrived, having made a journey of getting on for four hundred miles by bus. A pleasing feature of this pilgrimage was the sound of the sweetly melodious voices and the use of Welsh at Benediction, and the eloquent sermon preached by Father Burton in that language. One wonders if this is the first time since the invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries that God and His Holy Mother have been praised in this ancient British language. Few visitors notice the details in the Pilgrimage Church, and so by way of introduction we give pictures of two of the piscinas and one of the Holy Water stoups, all carved by a member of their own village. The new expository which had to be made for the relics of S. Vincent is in metal gilt and ebony and crystal, with cherubs at each angle and shields at the end of the gables – on one the arms of the College of Guardians and on the other the seal of the Bishop. It is the work of Mr Harold [Howard] Brown of Norwich. A few donations have been received, but far from the sum required, as owing to the cost of materials and labour it worked out much more expensive than was at first stated. A friend advanced the balance required in order that it could be blessed and the relics transferred and sealed. It was therefore sealed by Bishop O’Rorke when he was here after Easter; this of course could not have been done unless the makers had been paid. So clients of S. Vincent are still asked to help defray the cost and so enable us to repay this loan. About £40 is still needed. articles: Fr Patten, 'Reminiscences'; sermon preached by Bishop Vibert Jackson at Walsingham on the feast of S Linus; E M [Chadwick], 'Other Shrines'; 'Notes from the Cells [of SOLW]' photographs: the new reliquary of S Vincent before receiving the relics [above]; three photographs inside the Shrine - piscinas at the High Altar and altar of SS Hugh and Patrick, and holy water stoup at the Sacristy door; a group of priests and men on a pilgrimage before the war