Our Lady of Willesden

In the heart of London is another medieval Marian shrine that has been restored. You can read here about the history of Our Lady of Willesden.
You’ll be used to the tale by now: ancient shrine–much loved by the people, who made pilgrimages, donations and prayers there for centuries. Then the king’s men came in and destroyed it all. One of the ironies of those who disseminate the pro-Reformation propaganda is that the Reformation is often ‘sold’ as a great grass roots movement. We’re told that ordinary people welcomed the new religion gladly and were happy to see the old order overthrown. Not in England anyway. There was nothing democratic about the revolution. The popular religion of England was destroyed by powerful royal figures who had everything to gain. The ordinary people and their religion were their victims.

  • Jeannine

    Thanks for posting about this! So few people know about it. We imbibe a sort of pro-reformation propaganda just from the English-speaking culture around us. That’s why The Stripping of the Altars was such a revelation to me. I studied (and now teach) English literature, but when I was in college and grad school the real nature of the English Reformation wasn’t taught. Perhaps it wasn’t known! The English people were, within a generation or two, cut off from their own past, their ancestors, even the dead in their own villages and churches. I am now reading Will in the World, whose author, Stephen Greenblatt, believes that Shakespeare’s father may have been a secret Catholic on the basis of a Catholic spiritual testament found in the 18th century in the eaves of the house in which the Shakespeare family lived. And Duffy’s stories of people who hid the statues, books, and vestments from their village churches are so touching.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00167592634288375599 Fr Nicholas

    Thanks for drawing people’s attention to our diocesan shrine!