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Walsingham National Shrine.


According to Tradition, England was first consecrated to the Blessed Virgin as Her Dowry during the reign of King/Saint Edward the Confessor [1003-1066.] And it was during his reign, in1061, and five years before the Norman conquest, that Richeldis de Faverches, Lady of the Manor, and resident of Walsingham, reported being the recipient of a vision of the Blessed Virgin. Richeldis said that during a vision, Mary led her to the Holy Land and to the house in Nazareth where the Archangel Gabriel had appeared for the Annunciation. And that Mary asked Richeldis to build another house like this at Walsingham with a most wonderful promise attached:

"Whoever seeks My help there will not go away empty-handed"

Richeldis built the house, it had the interior of Mary's house/home at Nazareth, with the building itself being wooden and of Anglo Saxon architecture. A very positive feature saw the use of statues in the house, and from which developed their devotional use throughout the country. With the addition of reported miracles, Walsingham, "England's Nazareth" soon became a place of pilgrimage, with a great number of pilgrims who came from all over the country and beyond. One hundred years later [1153] a priory of Augustinian canons was founded to cater for the spiritual needs of pilgrims.
Walsingham became England's national shrine to the Blessed Virgin but the Reformation saw the destruction of both the Shrine and the Priory, and the ancient statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child was taken to London and destroyed.
The Slipper Chapel, dating from 1338, saw the Catholic revival at Walsingham; it was brought in1895 by Charlotte Boyd and restored for Catholic use. The chapel, a mile from Walsingham, had been used by pilgrims to make ready for the last mile of their pilgrimage, carried out barefoot.
On August 19th 1934, Cardinal Bourne transferred the shrine from Kings Lynn to the Slipper chapel, the occasion also saw him, together with the Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales, and with10.000 of the faithful alongside, take part in a pilgrimage in reparation for the Reformation and the act of Supremacy.
The new statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child is a replica (as close as possible) of the original one; The Child Jesus is shown with sceptre in one hand and the gospels in the other. The Blessed Virgin is shown waring an Anglo Saxon Crown in honour of Her ancient Queenship.
During a visit to Rome by the Bishops of England and Wales in 1893, Pope Leo XIII spoke of England as being Mary's Dowry, thus giving papal recognition and authority to the title, he encouraged it use and asked the Bishops to make the tradition a living one. He also asked the Bishops to re-consecrate England to the Blessed Virgin and St Peter, and this was carried out in the Oratory church in London. Pope Leo also said, of Walsingham: "When England returns to Walsingham, Mary will return to England."
At Walsingham, in 1948, Cardinal Griffin, together with the Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales, consecrated England to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This followed a pilgrimage of "prayer and Penance" with the intention of making reparation for the evils of World War II. The pilgrimage saw fourteen crosses carried to Walsingham from all parts of the country, and which became the Stations of the Cross as seen at the shrine.

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