Friends of Walsingham Occasional Paper
The Whit Monday Pilgrimage was a most happy affair, blessed with glorious weather, and there were more people than for several years past. These came from such places as London, Watford, Norwich, Hitchin, Letchworth, Bury St Edmund’s, Caister, Lincoln, Wainfleet, Huntingdon, Boston, Oxford. The arrangements made to cope with 1400 pilgrims seemed to work smoothly, and the way the buffet lunches and teas were handled by the usual willing helpers was the admiration of all. Over 500 people were served in under half-an-hour. The sermon was preached by Fr Whitworth SSJE, and again this was pronounced the best for many years. He told us that devotion to Mary was little known in the Church of England as a whole, and that it was our duty and privilege to share our love and thankfulness for and to her with other people. We were to become apostles of Walsingham and what better job could we do, for does not the Shrine stand to proclaim the great fact that God became man, and surely everything for us Christians follows from this?
The plans for the Sisters’ Convent have passed the Walsingham Rural District Council; a start has now been made and the walls are slowly rising.
Walsingham Sewerage: The inhabitants living along the narrow streets of Walsingham have had a very noisy time lately as the local Council is busy putting in a sewerage plant for these two places, namely Great and Little Walsingham. The plans were made many years ago and had to be postponed in being put into operation due to an embargo on works of a capital nature by the central Government. After much agitation on the part of our local Councillors and the working out of a memorandum giving details of the number of people both staying in and visiting Walsingham, the central Government was convinced of the urgency of the matter and work is now progressing. It will cost somewhere in the nature of £60,000, so before long we should be able to provide water closets. So we progress.
Hospice Extension: The plans for the extension of the Hospice have now been drawn and are before the local Council as we write. They show that the Shrine Shop will be moved a little to the east and the private entrance to the Hospice garden will have a brick gateway with a large sitting room over etc. At the west end where the Shrine Shop now is will come lavatories approached from the garden, and on the first and second floors we shall get accommodation for just over 20 more pilgrims. These rooms for the most part will be furnished with wash basins with hot and cold water. There will also be three bathrooms and a men’s sitting room. It will indeed be a great blessing to get these extra rooms which have been so badly needed for so many years. We are indebted for all this to a most generous benefactor who is providing £10,00 for this work. Please say a prayer of thanksgiving.
Cottages: We are taking advantage of the Government grants to improve many of the Shrine cottages. The tenants will now have hot and cold water and indoor sanitation – the first time for many in their lives.
A New Memorial: The Memorial to William Frary, the late beadle and gardener of the Shrine, is almost finished. It stands near the pilgrims’ refectory, and as people visiting the Shrine pass it a tablet will be seen asking for prayers for the repose of his soul.