St. Hugh of Lincoln (c. AD 1135 – 1200)

[#11 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of November 11 – 17]

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AINT Hugh was actually born in Avalon, France, to a wealthy noble named William, Lord of Avalon, and his wife Anna. His English connections come later. He was the first canonized Carthusian. His feast day is November 17th.

Hugh’s mother died when Hugh was only eight years old. After Anna’s death, William retired from the world to a monastery and brought his son Hugh with him. Hugh’s older brother, also named William, carried on the affairs of the family while father and son sought God in holy contemplation as professed religious. Hugh made his perpetual vows at the age of fifteen. Continue reading “St. Hugh of Lincoln (c. AD 1135 – 1200)”

Blessed John Duns Scotus (AD 1266 – 1308)

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#10: Week of November 4 – 10:

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T is commonly said there are three medieval theologians who stand above all the rest in contribution: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, and this week’s Britannic feature, Blessed John Duns Scotus. Blessed John’s feast day is November 8th.

John was born to a wealthy farming family in the town of Duns just North of the Scottish border with England. He was reported to be a beautiful child both in appearance and behavior, and he received a solid moral education from his parents.

Blessed John Duns Scotus attended catechism classes at the Cistercian Melrose Abbey (also appearing in our article on St. Cuthbert) where he gained a deep devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary – for which the Cistercians are well-known – who would later be the subject of Scotus’ most significant theological contribution. Continue reading “Blessed John Duns Scotus (AD 1266 – 1308)”

Saint Winifred (AD 635 – 660) and Saint Bono (d. c. AD 650)

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AINT Winifred was born in Tegeingl, in Northeastern Wales, and her Feast Day is November 3rd. She was born into great wealth as the daughter of the Welsh nobleman Tyfid ap Eiludd during the period when Christianity was only beginning to have its effect in the British Isles.

Winifred appears to have been exposed to Catholic Christianity through her mother, Wenlo. Wenlo’s brother Bono is also venerated as a Saint by the church for his work as a founding abbot of the abbey of Caernarfon. During Winifred’s life, women had no say in their marriage partner, and marital unions were typically arranged by parents in order to secure political alliances. Continue reading “Saint Winifred (AD 635 – 660) and Saint Bono (d. c. AD 650)”

The Six Welsh Martyrs: Saint Richard Gwyn (c. AD 1537 – 1584)

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URING the terrible persecution of Catholics under the execrable Henry VIII and his successors, many hundreds of righteous English men and women attained the crown of martyrdom. On October 25, Welsh Ordinariate Catholics feast in particular six Welsh martyrs who died in the English Reformation. Despite its distinct language and culture, Wales has been effectively part of England since AD 1284 when King Edward I annexed it and made the heir to the English throne the “Prince of Wales”. One of its most famous symbols is the red Welsh Dragon, depicted on its flag. Today there is one stable Ordinariate Mission in Wales located in Newport with two other communities in formation in the towns of Swansea and Presteigne. Continue reading “The Six Welsh Martyrs: Saint Richard Gwyn (c. AD 1537 – 1584)”

Saint Mary MacKillop (AD 1842 – 1909)    

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IGHT years ago, Mary MacKillop, also known as Mary of the Cross, was made Australia’s first canonized Saint by Pope Benedict XVI on October 17th, 2010. Mary’s parents emigrated  from Scotland to Australia while it was still a part of the British Empire.

Mary’s father Alexander had studied to become a priest in Rome at the Scots College, but fell ill and chose to live in holy wedlock with Flora MacDonald whom he married in Scotland.

The two immigrated to Australia, seeking a better life, and Mary was born one of their nine children in 1842 in Melbourne. The family was poor. By the age of 14, Mary was already working, often her family’s main source of financial support. In 1860, she moved away and became a governess for her better-off aunt and uncle. But she insisted on educating not only the couple’s children, but the poor of the town.

Her work was endorsed by a young priest named Fr. Julian Tenison Woods. With his help, in 1866, Mary formed Australia’s first religious order of nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, taking vows and becoming the Mother Superior the following year. They also founded a free school in a converted barn. Just one year after that the sisters founded an orphanage, a half-way house for women released from prison, and similar schools in other Australian cities. By 1871, over 130 Josephite sisters were working in more than 40 schools across Australia. Continue reading “Saint Mary MacKillop (AD 1842 – 1909)    “

Blessed John Henry Newman (AD 1801-1890)  

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N October 9, we celebrate Blessed John Henry Newman. Bl. John Henry Newman was a famous convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism in England during the 1800s. He was a nationally known Anglican priest who became a Catholic priest and cardinal.

Newman is mainly remembered for giving intellectual credibility to English Catholicism during the 1800s, for founding University College Dublin and the London Oratory, and for his writings (Parochial and Plain Sermons, Idea of a University, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, many prayers, and the hymn “Lead, Kindly Light”).

Newman had an intense conversion experience when he was 15. He became an evangelical Calvinist and believed the Pope was the antichrist. After graduating from Oxford, he became an Anglican priest at age 24 in 1825.

From 1828 to 1833, Newman’s views gradually became less Low Church and more High Church. However, he was still firmly Protestant: in an 1832 letter, he described Rome as “the most wonderful place on Earth,” but the Catholic Church as “polytheistic, degrading, and idolatrous.”

From 1833 to 1841, Newman was one of the main authors of Tracts for the Times, a series of pamphlets defending High Church ideas like apostolic succession, fasting, prayers for the dead, religious orders, vestments, the Eucharist, confession, etc. This movement was called the Oxford Movement or the Tractarians.

In 1843, Newman published a retraction of the hard things he had said about Catholicism in the Oxford Conservative Journal. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1845. His conversion alienated many of his colleagues, friends and family. In 1846, Newman was ordained a Catholic priest in the Oratorians. In 1879, he was made a cardinal.

Newman’s spiritual routine consisted of celebrating the sacraments, the Divine Office, the rosary, study, and spiritual reading, especially the Bible. His favorite saints were the Virgin Mary, St. Philip Neri, and St. Athanasius.

Personality-wise, Newman was a shy and spiritually sensitive intellectual. Many of his writings touched on the theme of beauty, and he often referred to Jesus as “The Beautiful One.” He deeply loved his friends and the truth.

When he died, Newman was buried in the same grave as his lifelong friend Ambrose St. John. The pall over his coffin said “Heart speaks to heart” (a quote from St. Francis de Sales) and the tombstone read “Out of shadows and phantasms into the truth” (a reference to Plato’s allegory of the cave).

“O my Lord Jesus, low as I am in Your all-holy sight, I am strong in you, strong through your Immaculate Mother, through your saints and thus I can do much for the Church, for the world, for all I love.”

“To be deep in history, is to cease to be Protestant.”

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!

For a weekly dose of English Catholic Patrimony, if your Ordinariate parish or parochial community would like to receive our This Week in English Catholic History articles in advance in single page black-and-white pdf form (perhaps inserted in the bulletin), please contact us at <foster1452@gmail.com>, and we will be happy to oblige, gratis

Written by Mr. John Burford, IV and Dr. Foster Lerner of Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida; a parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (C) 2018.

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John is the founder and owner of Magnolia Prep, an SAT and ACT tutoring business with branches in several major US cities. Foster holds a Doctorate in Medicine from  Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in medicine.

The Apparition of Our Lady of Walsingham (AD 1061)

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N September 24th, Ordinariate Catholics since our inception following the promulgation of Anglicanorum Cœtibus in AD 2009 and English Catholics in general since the year 2000 have celebrated Mary most holy under her title Our Lady of Walsingham.

The Cathedral of the North American Ordinariate, the original British Ordinariate erected in 2011, and the Parish Church of Rockhampton in the West Pacific Ordinariate are all named after this apparition. What is its significance?

In 1061, Richeldis de Faverches, an English noblewoman living in Walsingham received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This event was recorded in song by Richard Pynson much later in the 15th Century. The appearance of Mary to Richeldis is one of the oldest recorded Marian apparitions.

In a series of three visions Mary showed Richeldis the House of the Annunciation in Nazareth and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham. Mary also promised that “Whoever seeks my help there shall not go away empty-handed.” The wealthy but devout Richeldis obeyed and built the shrine.

Over the centuries the shrine became a popular destination for pilgrimages. Wayside chapels developed where pilgrims could go to confession and Mass. The Slipper Chapel, built in 1325, was the closest of these to the Shrine, where pilgrims would remove their shoes (or “slippers”) and walk the final “holy mile” barefoot.

Yet in 1538, King Henry VIII sent his commissioners to destroy the shrine. They took the image of Our Lady with the Child Jesus (see image below) as she had allegedly appeared to Richeldis and carried it off to London where it was publicly burnt. The Slipper Chapel escaped destruction, but fell into obscurity.

Pilgrimages ceased, and public devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham and public Catholic devotion in general were made illegal in Britain until as late as 1829, when the Act of Catholic Emancipation was passed by the British Parliament.

In 1896, Charlotte Pearson Boyd purchased the Slipper Chapel and restored it to Catholic worship. The following year, in 1897, Pope Leo XIII officially restored the sanctuary by papal rescript. Pope Leo said “When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.” The first public pilgrimage since the Reformation was organized the same year by the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, and throughout the 20th Century pilgrimages to and interest in the shrine and its significance for English Catholicism has continued and increased.

Thus in England and now in the Ordinariates, September 24th – the Commemoration of Our Lady of Ransom, after Mary’s intercession for captives of a false religion, in the Old Universal Calendar still vivified by Masses celebrated according to the 1962 Missal – has been made the date when we celebrate Our Lady of Walsingham. Blessed Mary, who appeared to Richeldis the Fair and promised your aid to those who seek it, restore the Church in England and her children abroad, your Dowry, and purge your Son’s Universal Church of every contamination. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us!

UPDATE: A reader, Jeff Hirst of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (UK), writes to fill in details of the recent history of the Anglican and Catholic Shrines that have attracted so much devotion of late:

“Here in the UK the Shrine at Walsingham is a major pat of our Patrimony, and many – if not most – members of the Ordinariate have a great love of Walsingham through our visits to the Anglican Shrine. As well as the restoration of the Catholic National Shrine we remember the revival of devotion in the Church of England. Fr Alfred Hope Patten, the vicar of Walsingham, set up an image of Our Lady of Walsingham in St Mary’s Parish Church in 1922. The copy of the Holy House was built in 1931 and the Image transferred, and the Shrine church was completed in 1936. Under his influence pilgrimage grew, not without opposition, and annual pilgrimages became a much-loved annual ritual amongst Anglo-Catholics. Even as Catholics, the emotional pull to the Anglican Shrine remains strong. At 5.30pm today [September 24th, 2018], Our Lady’s solemnity, the directors of both shrines are to sign an ecumenical covenant. We pray for both Shrines and give thanks for what it means to us in these lands.”

Thanks so much, Mr. Hirst!

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For a weekly dose of English Catholic Patrimony, if your Ordinariate parish or parochial community would like to receive our This Week in English Catholic History articles in advance in single page black-and-white pdf form (perhaps inserted in the bulletin), please contact us at <foster1452@gmail.com>, and we will be happy to oblige, gratis

Written by Mr. John Burford, IV and Dr. Foster Lerner of Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida; a parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, (C) 2018.

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John is the founder and owner of Magnolia Prep, an SAT and ACT tutoring business with branches in several major US cities. Foster holds a Doctorate in Medicine from  Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in medicine.