Our Lady's Mirror

Winter 1955

The hostel of S Michael and S George
We have two pieces of good news. The first is that an anonymous donor has made it possible for us to have plans prepared for an extension of the Hospice of Our Lady Star of the Sea, which when completed will provide a proper entrance with a large reading and writing room over, an extension of the Shrine Shop with a number of bedrooms above, together with bathrooms and lavatories, all of which have so long been needed, especially the latter. We hope this work will be begun in the early spring. The second piece of good news is that our Sisters are being formed into an autonomous house with their own noviciate and Mother Superior; it is hoped that this will be officially established in May, when the Mother will be installed. Together with this, but all part of the same news, is the exciting plans being made to build a convent for their community. The Fellows of the College of Guardians have given a site for this adjoining the Shrine garden north of the sepulchre, and we are looking forward for this building to start also in the spring. When completed, and the Sisters are established there, it will provide still more accommodation for pilgrims in the Hospice and enable the enclosure in front of the Sisters’ present Priory to be thrown open once again into the rest of the Hospice gardens, which will be a very great boon. By the time this copy of the Mirror is in your hands Bishop O’Rorke’s tomb will be completed. It consists of a monumental table on four pedestals over the grave, supporting an effigy of the Bishop vested in soutane, alb, stole, maniple, tunic and dalmatic, chasuble, mitre, gloves, etc., with his pastoral staff at his side. The whole is covered by a tester. The figure, etc., was carved in Italy and the whole work has been beautifully painted and gilded by Enid Chadwick. As our readers will remember, the Bishop’s remains were buried on the epistle side of the altar of the Society of Mary, of which Society he was for some years a Vice-President. The Catholic League has endowed an annual Requiem Mass for him. The figures on the orphreys of the chasuble represent Our Lady, to whom the Bishop had so great a devotion and on account of his connection with O.L.W. and the Society of Mary; St. Stephen the first martyr – his name-Saint, and St. Nicholas in memory of his being a Rector of St. Nicholas, Blakeney. Upon the “bed” of the tomb are his personal arms, those of his diocese and of the College of Guardians of the Shrine of which he was a Fellow and Treasurer from its restoration. We trust this monument will call forth a continuous stream of intercession for his soul, the primary purpose for any such memorial. The fronts of the Shrine Office (in the Common Place) and an adjoining house have been cleaned up and during the process the beams have been exposed again. We all think it is a great improvement both to the buildings themselves and the appearance of the village. Those who propose bringing pilgrimages to the Shrine this year should book their dates as soon as possible, as already parties are reserving. It is no good leaving it until near the time one wants to come, as rooms cannot be guaranteed except by early bookings. This also applies to those wanting to stay in the village as private visitors. The accommodation is so scarce early reservation is absolutely essential and anyone hoping to get a furnished cottage or part of one should guarantee a reservation fee, so that their landladies are not “let down”. Do not forget to make your bookings for the annual Whit-Monday pilgrimage. WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN FATHER PATTEN DIES? By a Religious A morbid prospect indeed, but also a question which is at the back of the minds of many who have Walsingham and all that it means at heart. (The Shrine is under the care of the College of Guardians, whose main responsibility it will be to find some way in which the work of Walsingham may be continued. They may appoint a new Administrator who will have charge of the Shrine and the Pilgrimage, much as an incumbent does in a parish. He will be appointed for “X” years). It will never be quite the same of course, because a new man could not possibly maintain a tradition which he has not helped to create, and after his term of office has expired, a new man, a new tradition will replace the old. Not a happy picture, but an inevitable one. It was foreseen years ago when a plan was put forward to solve the difficulty be endeavouring to lay the foundations for a body of men in whom might be preserved those traditions which have found a place in all our hearts, and which have made Walsingham what it is to-day. Since the inception of this venture, sixteen men have come forward during the last ten or more years, offering to live such a life as would be required by a small band of “fellow-workers” with Father Patten in his task as Founder-Administrator of the Shrine and its works. Of those sixteen, there were twelve who decided after six months’ trial to continue for a further period, still very much in doubt probably as to whether they were called to do such a work, but willing to have a try. Eventually the number came down to five who felt they had sufficient sense of vocation to remain attached to the new foundation under an arrangement renewable every three years. Of these, two are still persevering. These figures, covering a period of at least ten years, are intended to show that the statement “No one ever stays” is not justifiable in any venture of this kind. Compared with a similar list covering five years within the life of a community which would be considered “flourishing,” we might even say that the statistics are favourable. Twenty aspired in five years, of whom eleven were clothed, of whom seven were temporarily professed, of whom two persevered. Similar lists from communities on the Continent could be reproduced to show that the Walsingham list is nothing out of the ordinary, indeed it might be regarded s the usual pace of development. The College at Walsingham is very much in its birth pangs, not as some suppose, in its death throes. Those who hold the latter opinion show their complete lack of understanding of the situation and want of faith in the obvious Divine Vocation of Walsingham. It must be abundantly clear, at least to all those who will read these lines, that Walsingham and all that it means has proved itself to be under God’s favour. It will also be agreed that it must be God’s will to continue it. Yet of all the men, priests and laymen alike, who claim to be devotees of Our Lady of Walsingham, are there only 16 within at least ten years with sufficient zeal and generosity even to offer to try? What kind of devotion is that does not aspire to GIVE and give generously, even if it be only six months of one’s life, to be able to say “At least, I did try”? This appeal for support in the foundation of a College of priests and laymen at Walsingham is not from Father Patten, but from one outside who knows of most of the objections which are put forward when one declares himself to be considering whether or not he should offer to test his vocation. (These objections always appear to come from those who have never lived the life at the College, and, sad to relate, from those whom one would imagine had the Shrine and its hopes nearest their hearts). The writer feels that these objections, when placed in the balance with the devotion which seems to animate the regular pilgrims to Walsingham, and the spirit of adventure which should be the possession of every young man under 50 (!) are not worth the trouble taken to circulate them. Walsingham’s future is in the hands of Mary’s children. God calls: are there none with sufficient love to answer? THE NORTH WING OF THE COLLEGE This adaptation of the old cottages on the west side of Knight Street and extending to the north of the College is just on completion. It forms a cloister walk from north to south leading to the undercroft and thence into the cloister room of the Administrator’s Lodge from east to west. On the ground floor are bed-sitting rooms, halls, etc., and on the first floor four other rooms, making six in all; each room has hot and cold water and a “Cosy” stove. To the west is the terrace garden of the College with a fish pool on the first terrace and a small orchard with a building connected with a small summer house. We are now open to receive applications from Catholic priests who would appreciate such quiet surroundings and the advantages offered by the Shrine. FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE COLLEGE Now that a new wing is to be opened, chiefly for retired priests and men visiting the Shrine, we are obliged to put on record a number of items which are required for fitting up the eight or nine extra rooms, and although we expect priests who come to live at the College will wish to bring a certain amount of their own things, especially shelves and books, etc., nevertheless each room will require a basic amount of furniture and the following are essentials:- Divan beds, Blankets, Pillows, Sheets, Pillow cases, Towels, Napkins, Carpets, Easy chairs, Small tables, Curtains, Plate, etc. From the beginning, the College has been furnished by the personal things of Father Patten brought from the Vicarage and his own home, and these, after many years of use, have, for the most part, worn out or disappeared, so that our own linen cupboards, blankets, etc., are all needing renewal. You will therefore realise that a large amount of household stuff is required, both to furnish the new wing and to put in order the three houses which go to form the College buildings. Besides these items, it is very essential to get the College endowed, and this seems a time to put before you this need when we are about to form a home for aged priests. They will, of course, contribute towards their own maintenance, yet there will always be expenses beyond this contribution such as rates, heating, renewals and unforeseen expenses which always crop up. Lay people who wish to make some token of gratitude for the ministry of priests to themselves or their forebears who are now past active work might like to endow a room, or help build up a fund which can be earmarked for the maintenance of the priests’ quarters. Those who are interested should write to The Reverend the Administrator, who will send particulars. articles: 'Chapel of St Columba and the Celtic Saints'; 'Our Lady of Good Counsel'; Anthony B D Walker, 'Our Lady in Spain'; Hugh Ross-Williamson, 'The Canon of the Mass' [continued]; A H P, 'The College of St Augustine' photographs: hostel of S S Michael and George [above]; the tomb of Bishop O'Rorke; the Richeldis window; 'Our Lady of Good Counsel', a copy of which is venerated in St Augustine's Chapel; Our Lady of the Friendless procession in Valencia