Saturday, June 25, 2011
Tour of London's Marian Shrines
Matthew of LMS Southwark North has proposed a form of multi-shrine pilgrimage, along the lines of the traditional devotion of the Seven Altars in Rome, for London, so he and I and a couple of others spent much of Wednesday travelling around London on the Tube looking at Marian shrines, with a view to thinking about what would make sense from a devotional and transport point of view.
We started naturally with Our Lady of Westminster in the Cathedral, and had a look at the fine modern statue of Our Lady of Pew in Westminster Abbey down the road.
We went to the church of the English Martyrs church near the Tower of London but it is currently closed for refurbishment.
We then embarked on the long journey to the shrine of Our Lady of Willesden. This is a refounded Medieval shrine, and one of considerable importance, dating back to the 13th Century. It has an excellent shrine image, though the shrine chapel is sadly stripped of traditional furnishings.
It is interesting to see the arrows embedded in the pavement which lead people from the direction of the tube station to the shrine.
We then went to the impressive shrine of Our Lady in Our Lady and St Gregory in Warwick Street. This shows you what a Catholic shrine traditionally looks like. I hear that it once had not only the silver 'ex voto' offerings indicating answered prayers, but a collection of crutches from those who had experienced a cure thanks to the intercession of Our Lady here.
For a completely bonkers take on some other events in that church, have a look at the Bones.
The proposed pilgrimage will need a lot of planning but it is an interesting idea and I hope it works out.
More photos here.