extracts fromWalsingham Review Number 6 September 1962
Walsingham NotesThe Constitution of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham provides for a Clerk who keeps the Register of Members. This work has for a long time been done by Miss Enid Chadwick, whose work for the Shrine in so many ways was recognised long ago when she was nominated one of the first Dames. I am now asking her to accept the official position of Clerk of the Society, which, as it grows in numbers, involves her in more and more work. Anyone who knows anything of the running of the Shrine is aware of what we owe to her, and there is no member of the Society who more richly deserves particular recognition.Canon Peterson has presented us with six copies of the Monastic Diurnal Noted, and while we are not able to sing Vespers, we have begun on most evenings to sing Compline, and hope to make it a worthy conclusion of the worship of the day. The College begins the day by saying the Angelus in the Holy House, and ends by singing the Anthem of Our Lady in the same place.During August a band of volunteers set about cleaning our North Barsham Church, which had been closed for many months. Everything moveable was taken out into the churchyard, and a real “spring clean” was given the building. Two days later Mass was said there, and the tiny church was packed. A small image of Our Lady of Walsingham was placed in the niche over the door to show that it is now “under new management.”Pilgrims are now used to the two Siamese cats who live at the College, one of whom is very devout and comes often to church and the other is rather Protestant and only comes in to lift up her voice and shout, “It’s too high!” For some months we have entertained a young visitor called Lucinda, but she has not been a success with her compatriots, who hiss like serpents at the sight of her. But worst of all, she has shown a marked interest in religion, and this has been greatly resented by the devout cat who looks on with scorn while she is removed from the altar and shows that she does not know how to behave in church. But when she did gymnastics in front of the High Altar during Compline, it was more than any well trained high church cat could endure, and he jumped off the stall where he was praying to be delivered from the terror that flieth by night, and chased her under the High Altar frontal with such a flow of language on both sides, that hasty banishment followed. Lucinda has now left, and I expect to find written in the Thanksgiving Book, “That a Siamese’s intention has been granted.”Fr Johnstone has started on a re-organisation of the Library, and this seems a good moment to say how grateful we are for theological books, particularly on Marian subjects.The Administrator was able to be at Mr John Upcott’s funeral and performed the Committal.The Administrator appeared on ITV in a programme about the Prayer Book. At a time when so many people say how fond they are of the BCP and what a glory it is to the Church of England, it is surprising how reluctant they are to use it as anyone who goes around to ordinary C of E parishes soon find out. And yet Catholics are the only ones accused of being disloyal when they do at least draw from sources which have some canonical authority. Nevertheless, we should do well to remember that in spite of its defects the whole Catholic Faith can be drawn from the Prayer Book and the teaching with Fr Patten gave in his early days at Walsingham was entirely based upon it. I sometimes get rather disagreeable letters complaining that we use too much or too little of the Prayer Book in the Mass and I am reminded of what I once heard Fr Raynes remark, “If people are converted and understand what the Mass is they never fuss about what prayers you use at the altar.”On August 18th a very successful fête in aid of the Children’s House was held in the Hospice garden. It was opened by Lady Harvey and was blessed by one of the only really fine days we have had. Together with the big draw, to which many pilgrims and friends have contributed, we have taken almost £350, which will wipe out the mortgage and begin to build up an endowment fund. Much of the drive behind this effort has come from Mr L Whitmore, to whom the Shrine is indebted in so many ways.Last October we had the first big Orthodox Pilgrimage for a long time and this August we have had a happy pilgrimage from the Cypriot parish of All Saints, Camden Town. It is hoped that as time goes on we shall have Greek, Russian, Polish and Serbian Groups coming to do homage to Our Lady at this ancient Shrine whose history goes back almost before the unhappy division of Easter and Western Christendom.The RosaryFurther to the notes on the public recitation of the Rosary in the last number of the “Review”, it is interesting that the institution of the daily recital of five mysteries before the image of Our Lady of Walsingham was the main action which Fr Patten took for the restoration of the pilgrimage. From the beginning there was a little group who were very faithful in maintaining this, but most of them now lie in their graves. However, there are still one or two left, and their regular appearance at the Rosary is the greatest memorial to Fr Patten’s work.