Some of the Sisters of the English province recently visited Walsingham, one of England’s most important pilgrimage sites. The visit gave them the opportunity to admire two works of sacred art to which the province has contributed and to evoke memories of times past.
The Daughters of Jesus and Walsingham
Walsingham, situated in a tiny village in the Norfolk countryside, is especially dear to the Daughters of Jesus. Many of us made our novitiate at Massingham, some 20 km away across the fields – one or other sister has been known to make her way to Walsingham on foot over the years. We joined the nine centuries of pilgrims, Catholic and Anglican and Orthodox, in praying and singing our devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham. http://www.walsingham.org.uk
Renewing the connection
The sisters left Massingham some years ago but have not forgotten their connection with Norfolk. Despite the long history of Catholicism in the area it is only recently that the village of Little Walsingham itself has acquired a Catholic parish church. It is here that the sisters have left a discreet legacy.
Ten years ago we made an anonymous gift of a large stained glass window and crucifix in thanks giving for 50 years as a Province.
Now we have given a bronze sculpture of the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary installed on the round tower of the little church – the parish is dedicated to the Annunciation.
At once old and new …
Nestled in the tiny market square, the church with its Norfolk round tower in flint and brick, looks as if it has always been there. At the same time, virtually everything in the interior is new. The beautiful works of sacred art draw the eye and, “The overall sense is of the simplicity and beauty of modern Catholicism.” http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk. Not least, the building is the first carbon-neutral church built in the UK with solar panels for electricity and a heat exchange system.
In the 16th century, when the practice of the Faith became illegal in England, Catholics had to leave Walsingham. Today we have come full circle – there is once more a parish and a beautiful, modern church. The Daughters of Jesus of the English province are happy to have played a small part in this.
Sisters Anne Thompson and Mary Clare Mason for the Sisters of the English Province