Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tour of London's Marian Shrines

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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.
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We went to the church of the English Martyrs church near the Tower of London but it is currently closed for refurbishment.
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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.
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It is interesting to see the arrows embedded in the pavement which lead people from the direction of the tube station to the shrine.
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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.
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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.

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