28th November : Our Lady Of Walsingham

Our Lady Of Walsingham

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Before the sad days of the so-called Reformation, devotion to Our Blessed Lady was a remarkable trait in the lives of the English people; so England gained the remarkable privilege of the title of “Our Lady’s Dowry”.

Among the many shrines, Walsingham was pre-eminent as a place of pilgrimage.  The “Slipper Chapel” was thronged with pilgrims of high and low degree—amongst them Kings, Queens, Princes, Courtiers and Commoners all bent on being shriven, and making their peace with God.  In humility they went barefoot for a mile to the Nazareth House, leaving their shoes behind—hence the name “Slipper Chapel”; thus fortified they made their way to the Abbey to beg the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Lady.

The High Church of England is reviving devotion to Our Lady and having processions to Walsingham, while Catholic hymns are sung in honor of Mary.  Today the Franciscan Fathers, Capuchins, have a room which is used as a chapel; there, daily Mass is said and evening devotions held.  During the summer session or season, hundreds of pilgrims come to Walsingham, where Holy Mass is offered at the Slipper Chapel and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is given in the Abbey Grounds.

Records reveal that King Henry VIII hung a golden chain round the neck of the Lady Statue at Walsingham.  He donated that a candle burn always at the shrine, and he walked barefoot once to the shrine.  However, several years later he had the shrine savagely treated and leveled to the ground.  The youth of England who took the least part in the desecration of the shrine, today take the lead in its restoration.

Walsingham was founded to be the shrine par excellence of the Mystery of the Incarnation.  Mary is portrayed there holding her Divine Son, Who extends his right arm in blessing, clasping in His left hand a book, Symbol of the Word made Flesh.  The Walsingham seal shows the iconography of the oldest type of Madonnas.  It bears a great resemblance to the theokratical ikons venerated in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Today the people of England are coming back to Walsingham; England pays tribute to the Eucharistic Christ, and Our Lady of Walsingham blessed England with Her Son.