Holy House in the Anglican shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter has one distinctive feast day on its sanctoral, and that is September 24, Our Lady of Walsingham, patroness of this Ordinariate.
Rather than relate the history of OLW, which is already done on the title page of this website, we will give instead the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn to mark the day. Another beautiful hymn to Our Lady of Walsingham can be heard here.
All glory to God in his mercy and grace Who
hath established His Home in this wonderful place.
Ave Ave Ave Maria! Ave Ave Ave Maria!
All glory to Jesus our Saviour and Lord
Whose image within us by grace is restored.
All glory to God in his Spirit Divine.
Who hath fixed His abode in this poor soul of mine.
Sing the praises of Mary, the Mother of God,
Whose “Walsingham Way” countless pilgrims have trod.
Then lift high your voices, rehearse the glad tale
Of Our Lady’s appearing in Stiffkey’s fair vale.
When Edward Confessor ruled over the land
The Faverches’ Manor stood here nigh at hand.
The Lady Richeldis devoted her care
To good works and penance and worship and prayer.
One day as she prayed and looked up to the skies,
A vision of splendour delighted her eyes.
Our Lady, God’s Mother, in glory arrayed,
Held a House in her arms which was clearly displayed.
“Take note, my dear daughter, and build here
a Shrine As Nazareth’s home in this country of thine.”
“And the spot that I choose where the house
shall arise By a sign shall be plainly revealed to your eyes.”
The vision passed slowly away from her sight,
But her mind held the House in its length, breadth and height.
Bewildered she pondered this message so sweet,
When a clear spring of water burst forth at her feet.
Bewildered no longer for this was the sign,
She vowed on this spot she would build such a shrine.
The finest materials her workmen could find
She employed for this House she had fixed in her mind
But though she had given both timbers and lands,
The power of the work lay in Mary’s own hands.
And this was made clear when the work was complete
By the answers to prayers poured out at her feet.
And soon mighty wonders by grace were revealed,
For the sick who made use of the waters were healed.
So Walsingham then came a place of great fame
And Our Lady herself was called by this name.
And many a pilgrim to the day of his death
Took the road once a year to “England’s Nazareth.”
So crowded were roads that the stars, people say,
That shine in the heavens were called “Walsingham Way.”
And many the favours and graces bestowed
On those who in faith took the pilgrimage road.
The Image of Mary with her Holy Son
Was honoured and feted by everyone.
The Canons and Friars built houses around
And the praises of God were a regular sound.
And Kings, Lords and commons their homage would pay
And the burning tapers turned night into day.
But at last came a King who had greed in his eyes
And he lusted for treasure with fraud and with lies.
The order went forth; and with horror ’twas learned
That the Shrine was destroyed and the Image was burned.
And here where God’s Mother had once been enthroned
The souls that stayed faithful ‘neath tyranny groaned.
And this realm which had once been Our Lady’s own Dower
Had its Church now enslaved by the secular power.
And so dark night fell on this glorious place
Where of all former glories there hardly was trace.
Yet a thin stream of pilgrims still walked the old way
And hearts longed to see this night turned into day.
Till at last, when full measure of penance was poured,
In her Shrine see the honour of Mary restored:
Again ‘neath her Image the tapers shine fair,
In her children’s endeavours past wrongs to repair.
Again in her House her due honour is taught:
Her name is invoked, her fair graces besought:
And the sick and the maimed seek the pilgrimage way,
And miraculous healing their bodies display.
Oh Mother, give heed to the prayer of our heart,
That your glory from here never more may depart.
Now to God the All-Father and Son, with due praise,
And life-giving Spirit, thanksgiving we raise.
Ave Ave Ave Maria! Ave Ave Ave Maria!
Source: Unknown (reproduced from the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham Pilgrim Manual)
Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us!
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