Society of Our Lady of Walsingham
The Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham at the Vale is associated with the Society of the Holy House of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk.
In 1061 the Lady Richeldis, the Saxon Lady of the Manor of Walsingham, had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As a result of this vision, she had built a replica of the House of the Holy Family at Nazareth. At the site of the house in Walsingham there was also a Holy Well. The shrine became known as England’s Nazareth and became a major place of pilgrimage for 500 years, second only to Canterbury. Augustinians and Franciscans established a priory church.
In 1538, during the reign of Henry VIII, the shrine was destroyed and for the next 400 years Walsingham reverted to quiet village life.
In the 1920’s Fr Hope Patten, the parish priest of the parish church of St Mary’s in Walsingham, re-established the shrine and once again Walsingham became a place of pilgrimage. The present shrine was completed in 1932 and, on October 15th, the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was translated from St Mary’s to the Holy House. Since that time Walsingham has grown as a place of pilgrimage.
The shrine focuses on the Incarnation—the mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In a constantly changing world, Walsingham speaks about the eternal and permanent things which God reveals to us in Jesus Christ. At Walsingham there is a great work of prayer. Prayers are said at the shrine for people everywhere; for pilgrims who bring their intercessions, as well as for those who write letters from all parts of the world.
At the Vale, the members of the Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham attend a monthly Eucharist and offer prayers for those in need, particularly those who ask for our love and prayers. Members also take the names of those who ask for our prayers, and remember them in their personal prayers.
The Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham is a group of people who try to serve God through prayer and by reaching out to help others. You are invited to join our prayers and to become a member of the Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham; we would be pleased to welcome you We also arrange an annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Nolfolk.
The Objects of the Society
• To honour Mary, the Mother of God and to deepen faith in the incarnation of Our Lord.
• To promote devotion to Our Lady and pilgrimage to Walsingham.
• To further, with the aid of Our Lady’s prayers, the conversion of the nations and the re-union of Christendom.
• To seek holiness of life through prayer, the scriptures and the sacraments.
• Members of the Society are asked to say the Angelus each day.
O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, your divine Son, dying on the cross, confided us to your maternal care. You are our mother; we desire ever to remain your devout children. Let us therefore feel the effects of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ. Make your Name again glorious in this place once renowned throughout our land by your visits, favours, and many miracles. Pray, O holy Mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation of the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed. O blessed Mary, Mother of God, our Lady of Walsingham, intercede for us. Amen
The Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham
The statue is in the direct tradition of the great theological icons of Our Lord’s Mother. She is enthroned and crowned and draws attention to the Holy Child sitting on her knee. Her right hand holds a lily sceptre, emblem of her virginal purity. Her feet rest upon a “toadstone” symbolizing the uncleanness of evil. The throne is adorned with two pillars, encircled by bands, three on one side and four on the other, representing the Seven Sacraments; and the top of the back-piece is rounded like a rainbow. Her Divine Son, with a cruciform halo, clasps in his left hand the Book of the Gospels, signifying that the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us. His right hand is stretched out in protection and blessing.