Our Lady's Mirror

Summer 1952

Fr Fynes-Clinton’s jubilee
After the Sung Mass on the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady, the Administrator proceeded to the altar of the Ascension (the chapel of the Church Union) and blessed the picture of Our Lady and the Holy Child painted by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (Sodoma) – which was given by Mrs Brackley some time back as an altar piece for the proposed memorial chapel to be built if and when the north walk of the Cloister is put up. As this extension seems to be somewhat remote at present, it was decided to hang the picture in the Shrine Church, and so it has found a temporary resting place over the altar of S.S. Francis and Clare (i.e. chapel of the Ascension). For several months the painting has been in a London studio undergoing expert cleaning. It is a magnificent work of art. Unfortunately the present position is not the best one could have wished to show it in, in all the glory of its colour, but it will help us to arrange the lighting in the most perfect way possible when the Cloister Chapel is put up. The picture came from the famous Mond collection. The artist lived between 1477 and 1549; what history was being made during that period in church and State, not only in England but all over Europe! A much-needed addition has been made to the sacristy by the fixture of a new section to the vestment press. There are eventually to be five bays, three only of which have so far been given. While we are on the subject of vestment presses – it seems incredible perhaps – but we are badly in need of more low mass sets, especially for the Holy House and High Altar. Many, indeed most, of those that have been given were secondhand to start with, and the constant use they are put to is obvious. Also we are very badly off for copes, the one we usually use for pilgrimages is past repair, and the one we use for regular services will soon have to be replaced. Our servers’ cassocks, also originally secondhand, are in a disgraceful state as well as the cottas. The Shrine is not in the position to replace any of these things from its funds, so will our readers please see what can be done about it. N.B. – Vestments, etc., given to particular chapels may not be used elsewhere. Donors expect their gifts, naturally, to be kept for and used in the chapels to which they are donated. The second section of stalls has been put it, this being the first on the Gospel side of the choir. It is a wonderful improvement to the church. These are the stalls of the Guardians. Eight more are required to complete the set. By the will of Major Bowker a fine memorial brass has been let into the floor of S. Thomas’s chapel in memory of Father Wilmott-Phillips, the late Vicar of Plaxtol. This chapel built and furnished by Bowker is a chantry for Father Tooth, Wilmott-Phillips and himself; a window depicting S. Thomas (of Canterbury) is in course of being made by Sir Ninian Comper, and we hope it will be in place during the “fall” as our cousins from overseas would say. At the end of July the annual Oxford Pilgrimage, organised at S. Paul’s, made its twenty-fifth visit to the Shrine; this has not been consecutive, as of necessity there was a break during the war. Well done, S. Paul’s, Oxford. The Altar pavilion used at Hickleton for the Congress there some years back and subsequently given to the Shrine by the late Lord Halifax has been undergoing a good clean up and repainting, and not before it was needed. It is a nice design and fits into the garden surround well. It is of great use too, when really large pilgrimages of several thousand people come, and overflow Masses have been sung there on such occasions. Many of us remember the piscina in the lower garden which twenty years ago was used for sprinkling the sick with the water pumped from the Holy Well in the pilgrimage Church. For a long time now it has not been used, and all sprinkling has been done at the well itself – so William had filled it with chalk-free soil and hopes to grow a clump of rhododendron and similar plants there. If successful it should be a great attraction to this part of the grounds as we cannot grow that type of plant elsewhere. A reader of the Mirror writes to complain that we are getting too much like an antiquaries journal, while in his opinion the paper ought to be used more for the propagation of the faith. Our reply is yes, but if this is to be done then it is up to our subscribers to write and send in articles for the Editor’s consideration. We keep on asking for copy for the Mirror but get very little literary support. So it is just up to our readers. We are more than grateful to those who do send in articles and so have enabled us to publish this paper for the last twenty-six years without a break, the first number having gone out in January, 1926. TO THE EDITOR OF THE MIRROR Dear Father Once again I have received my copy of the Mirror. I find myself wondering what it proposes to do. A quarterly paper of this sort will, of course, give us the news of all the happenings connected with the Holy House and Walsingham itself. This I believe you succeed in doing admirably. But the rest . . . . One might be reading an Archaeological Journal. In number after number we are given pages of stuff such as cover page 13. It may be intensely interesting to the specialist that the “ten bougets of silver” (whatever they are) were given by Alice Tye and that they weighed “1½ ounces with the strings”, but frankly I cannot see that this sort of thing will appeal to the average Catholic be he priest or layman. We pray for the day when all England shall be truly called “ Our Lady’s Dowry” once more. Cannot you use the Mirror in this cause? I fear it is becoming the happy hunting ground of medieval dreamers instead of a means of spreading the living Catholic Faith. Yours sincerely, B.M. OMAN St. Barnabas Tunbridge Wells. Vide Editor’s reply in Notes. A PRIEST FOR EVER It was a bright May morning, and as we drove up and entered the beautiful Church of St. Magnus by London Bridge one was struck by the peacefulness of the spot in the heart of the great city. This 17th century church, built by Sir Christopher Wren, which stands upon the ancient foundations of a pre- Norman church, is one of the most interesting of all the ecclesiastical edifices of the city. The occasion was the jubilee of the Reverend Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, and the High Mass, which began at 11 o’clock, was celebrated by him. The service was a most beautiful and impressive sight and the singing and organ a treat to hear. One could not help wondering what had happened to the rest of the Church of England! Among those in the choir was the Rt. Rev. The Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes. Father Hope Patten, who was the preacher, commented among other things on the three outstanding features of Father Fynes-Clinton’s ministry – the great work which he had done, and indeed still does for Catholic reunion, a work which is so misunderstood by many and for which he has been so persecuted: his founding of the Society of the Precious Blood for Priests, a work so dear to the heart of S. Charles Borromeo their patron: and his great devotion to Our Lady. Especially was he a devoted client of Our Lady of Walsingham and had been so from the first beginning of the revival of the Shrine. At the end of High Mass the members of the Guild of Our Lady Salve Regina went in procession to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham where the Easter Anthem was sung. A luncheon followed in the Fishmongers’ Hall where presentations were made to Father Fynes-Clinton – and so ended a memorable, and perhaps unforgettable occasion. S.S. articles: D T Glassford, 'The Assumption' (a poem); 'Two Maltese Shrines of Our Lady'; J C S, 'Our Lady of the Holy Mountain'; Lionel S Lewis, 'The Cup of Nanteos: Cwpwn Nanteos' photographs: two photographs from Fr Fynes-Clinton's jubilee [one above]; four photographs of the Maltese shrines; two photographs of monasteries on the Holy Mountain; an icon of Our Lady of the Gate in the Shrine church; the Shrine in the parish church in 1931