THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM
Walsingham, in North Norfolk, England has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times. The Shrine originates from 1061 when Richeldis de Faverches was taken in spirit to Nazareth and asked by Our Lady to build a replica, in Norfolk, of the Holy House of the Annunciation.
The Shrine Church is situated in beautiful grounds close to the centre of the medieval village of Little Walsingham. Built in the twentieth century the Church is where the Holy House is located - a replica of the home in Nazareth of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Within the Holy House is the image of Our Lady of Walsingham, carved in 1922 and copied from the seal of the medieval Priory which was suppressed in 1538.
What to see at Walsingham
Sprinkling at the Holy Well
Water from the well has always played an important part in the worship at Walsingham. We are told that the original sign to the Lady Richeldis as to the exact position she was to build the Holy House was the springing up of water from the ground. Fr Patten was thrilled when, as the foundations of the Shrine Church were being dug in 1931, the workman uncovered an old disused well. Cleaned out and repaired, the well has for more than 75 years gushed out water of beautiful quality. Sprinkling is a healing service. After listening to a short address and prayers, the pilgrims make their way to the well where they receive a sip of the water, are signed with a cross on their foreheads and then have water poured through their hands.
The Procession of Our Lady
The highlight of pilgrimage to Walsingham! Every Saturday and Wednesday evening between Easter and the end of October, the Procession of Our Lady of Walsingham winds its candlelit way around the gardens. The statue of Our Lady is affixed to a howdah and supported on the shoulders of four trusty pilgrims. The image is preceded and followed by everyone else, singing the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn. The pilgrims are accompanied by the Shrine Church organ, which is relayed out into the gardens.
The Procession of the Blessed Sacrament
As part of the Sunday afternoon service of Benediction, the great monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament is solemnly carried in procession around the gardens, accompanied by the pilgrims singing the great Thomas Aquinas hymn, Lauda Sion. On return to the Shrine Church there are prayers and then benediction is given.
In this service the presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar is celebrated. The Host (bread), consecrated at Mass, is placed in the monstrance so that pilgrims can see it. There are hymns and prayers in honour of the wonderful truth that God, in Christ, remains among us always under the form of bread and wine in the Blessed Sacrament. The service ends with the blessing - Benediction - and pilgrims experience the warmth of God's blessing in their lives.
Contact details The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham: *44 1328 824206 (fax)