Our Lady's Mirror

Autumn 1952

Some of the Religious in procession
At last after repeated requests from our Priest Associates, a badge has been ordered; it is being made with two means of fastenment, one with a pin and the other to wear in the button hole. We think most Priest Associates will wish for both, one for the cassock and one for walking dress. The price will be 3/- each. Will you please send money with order and something for postage as well. We hope every Associate will possess a badge and wear it as a piece of propaganda and use it as a means of getting to know other friends of Walsingham. 7th November, 1952 To the Editor of the Mirror: Sir, We read with surprise your correspondent’s criticism in the Summer Number, and respectfully wonder if he is not a little over-earnest, to begrudge the recreation of the Mirror’s articles which on the whole, we much enjoy. Speaking as very ordinary Catholic laity, we feel that this present day and age so lack the richness of thought and culture rooted in the “living Catholic Faith”, as well as needing far more missionary zeal, that we cannot but find inspiration in the survey of the whole-hearted devotion of our forefathers, and the fruits of their tremendous enthusiasm for the honour of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. It is an encouragement to us in our Mission to England, and an inward joy, to know too of the faithful love and veneration shown to Our Lady in other countries at this present time – the more so since not many of us are able to travel abroad and witness it for ourselves. Surely the Mirror is not intended to be a John Bull Tract? but rather a “reflection” for our delight of some of the glories of devotion in the Holy Catholic Church, and especially as called forth by God’s gift of His Mother to us sinners. So please let us have many more “glimpses”! and leave the direct teaching of the Faith to such periodicals as the parish magazines. Yours faithfully Three Ordinary Catholics OCTOBER 14-15 1952 We had scarcely sat back after the exertion of the pilgrimage of thanksgiving on the twenty-first birthday, as some call it, when we were reminded that in nine years’ time we should be observing the nine hundredth anniversary of the apparition of our Lady in Walsingham and the subsequent foundation of the original Holy House. How wonderful it would be if it could be a combined Festa in thanksgiving for that unity for which we all pray. Who knows? The rain had simply teemed down for days, and some were anticipating a very bedraggled pilgrimage, but as so often happens the weather cleared, and by the time the pilgrims began to arrive on the Tuesday afternoon, it was quite fine. At 7.30 the nave of the pilgrimage church was comfortably filled, when the Guardians in their blue mantles filed into the stalls, the rest of the choir being already packed with a large gathering of priests. Father Milburn, chaplain to the Hostel for the Dying at Clapham, sang Vespers of our Lady, at the conclusion of which the Assistant Bishop of Peterborough, one of the College of Guardians of the Holy House, vested in cope and mitre, with his deacons of honour, etc., entered the choir and the procession set out into the dark of the night. Through the mediæval Common Place and High Street, trodden by an innumerable concourse of pilgrims down the ages, the procession wended its way, all bearing a light and singing first the litanies and then the rosary. In the midst, shoulder-high, the much venerated image of our Lady of Walsingham was borne by four deacons in dalmatics. At the second procession in the afternoon four other deacons had to be requested to help with the none-too-light burden. Arrived at the Parish Church, the pilgrims filed into the seats while our Lady’s image was set down on a stand prepared for it at the entrance to the chancel. Those Guardians attending the Festa went to places on either side, a large space having been prepared at this part of the church, while the Bishop moved to a seat set in the midst of the choir facing down the church. All being seated, Father Fynes-Clinton, one of the original Fellows of the College, ascended the pulpit and delivered a telling sermon, in the course of which he reviewed the past thirty years during which England has begun to return to Walsingham. A hymn followed, and then the Bishop approached the high altar while a body of priests formed a semi- circle behind him and a solemn Te Deum was sung – an act of praise and thanksgiving for our Lady’s favours and God’s many blessings in response to her powerful intercession. The procession re-formed and, as thirty years ago when the holy image was first carried into S. Mary’s on July 6th, 1921[1922], the bells which had welcomed her arrival some three-quarters of an hour before pealed out afresh, while the cortege, wending its way along the country roads, returned to the Shrine and so having passed right round the present enclosing walls of the precincts of the one-time Priory Church, now alas in ruins. Approaching the Pilgrimage Church, the nine bells in its tower all gave tongue in their joyous welcome home to the Queen of Walsingham as the image was borne into the brilliantly-lighted Shrine and placed in the middle of the Holy House below the predella. Here it remained for nearly twenty- four hours, surrounded by the votive lights of our Lady’s clients, who were able to approach and gaze upon the ever-changing features of the miraculous image. The Bishop, ascending the steps of the high altar, concluded this part of the ceremonies by giving Solemn Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. From then onward the Holy Sacrament was exposed and a continuous watch kept by parishioners and pilgrims. At midnight Benediction was again given, and Masses began and continued throughout the night until 7 o’clock, when, Exposition being ended, High Mass was sung by Father Lingwood, with Mr Jagger the deacon and Father Smith sub-deacon. Private Masses continued well into the morning, while groups made the Stations of the Cross, visited the altars or were sprinkled at the Holy Well. By twelve o’clock, midday, the church was packed, may pilgrims arriving from London and the neighbouring counties. Bishop Vernon having been met at the church door, was conducted to the Blessed Sacrament chapel and then to the faldstool before the high altar, where he was vested for the Mass, which he sang assisted by Father de Lara Wilson, with Father Steel of S. Barnabas, Tunbridge Wells, as deacon, and Father Sturt of Holy Cross, S. Pancras, as sub-deacon. Most of the servers came from Father Oldland’s parish of S. John, Balham, while a choir of priests from London sang the Common, Dr. Shields and Brother John being cantors. At the end of the Mass the usual visit, made on high days, was paid to the Holy House for the censing and salutation of our Lady of Walsingham. The third part of the ceremonies commenced after lunch by further drinking and sprinkling at the Well, while groups made the Stations, or saying the Rosary visited the altars, a continuous stream moving into the Holy House where people were praying all night and day. At 3.30 the bells called the pilgrims back to their places in order to listen to a stirring oration by Father Colin Gill of S. Martin’s, Brighton, delivered in his inimitable way, when the second of the two processions set out, this time presided over by the Master of the College of Guardians, assisted by Father Bales and Father Smith. This time again the image of our Lady of Walsingham was carried out into the streets and squares of the village, attended by the Guardians, eight deacons taking turns in bearing the feretory. A large number of Religious, priests and lay people accompanied. And again the pilgrim hymn was sung. And so back to the Holy House they bore the so-loved figure of Blessed Mary and the Holy Child, which had not left the pilgrimage church until the previous day for twenty-one years. The Fest was brought to an end with Solemn Benediction of the Holy Sacrament. A truly great act of devotion offered to the Glory of God and to the honour of our Blessed Lady, the Word-bearer, the ever- virgin Mary. Laus Deo. articles: 'In search of St Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin'; R Turner Cole, 'The Necessity of Mary'; Donald L Irish, 'The Basis of Mariology'; M St H A, 'The Holy Child of Prague'; obituary of Fr Francis Baverstock photographs: six photographs of the twenty-first anniversary of the Translation [one above]; two interior views of the Holy House