That story about Mrs de Bary wandering England wondering where to deposit her Statue, her Devotion, and her Association ... does it remind you ever so slightly of those stories in medieval hagiography about chapels being requested and then not being built in quite exactly the right place, so that supernatural means had to put-things-right? As at Walsingham, for example? Possibly stories like that of Mrs de Bary lie behind those narrative patterns.
Mrs de Bary (1835-1913) was not, of course, born as a de Bary. She was born as a Mostyn ... there! That made you sit up, didn't it: The Mostyns of Flintshire! Those of you who have joined in the Latin Summer School which I run and which used to happen at Holywell and Pantasaph in Flintshire might have noticed all those Mostyn graves in that extensive Catholic burial ground beside the church at Pantasaph. You may even have drunk in the Mostyn Arms ... or do I mean the Talacre Arms? The Mostyns were a recusant family; and a baronetcy family.
Mary Pauline Mostyn, who became Mrs de Bary in 1862, was a daughter of Sir Edward, the seventh baronet. Her nephew was one Francis Mostyn, Vicar Apostolic (these very rare and delightfully exotic butterflies survived in the woodlands and meadows of Wales for nearly half a century after they became so sadly extinct in England) from 1895; Bishop of Menevia from 1898; and (second) Archbishop of Cardiff 1921-1939. (It surely made the Welsh Anglicans, who were being disestablished at that time, hopping mad that the papists got in first with an Archbishop for Wales ... and, in Francis Mostyn, even a Welsh-speaking Archbishop!)
Mrs de Bary must have felt quite at home when her husband rented Trelawne, an old estate where somebody had recently built a Catholic Chapel, because at her own paternal ancestral home at Talacre, the family had built, in 1829, the year of Catholic Emancipation, a chapel to our Lady of Mount Carmel. This dedication was probably inspired by the fact that earlier Mostyn ladies had been at the English Carmel in Antwerp in the 1620s (you will remember that, after fleeing the French army, these nuns ended up at Lanherne in Cornwall, where a young community has now recovered the authentic Carmelite life). Indeed, Mother Mary Mostyn became the very holy superior of a daughter foundation at Lierre. Those were the family traditions with which Mrs de Bary grew up.
So why, in 1895, did she not seek advice from her almost-episcopal nephew about where to settle our Lady of Light? Did she ever consider taking our Lady of Light to her home country of North Wales? Perhaps she did. Perhaps, when she left Cornwall in 1894, she had no idea that the young man was just about to acquire a mitre. But there may have been positive reasons why she went to Cardinal Vaughan for help and advice.
Vaughan, like the Mostyns, came from an old recusant gentry family in the Welsh borders. Members of it were Out with the Prince Regent in 1745-6 ... saw service under the King's Most Catholic Majesty of Spain ... all that sort of thing. A thoroughly admirable family! And they were from the same circles as the Mostyns. Mrs de Bary may have felt that the opportunity of seeking help from somebody of the same background as herself, whom, indeed, she may just possibly have known, was too good to miss. Anyway, we have seen that Vaughan's advice resulted in Mrs de Bary, and our Lady of Light, settling in Clacton.
But, again, difficulties! Why? Possibly her friend the Cardinal was not as reliable as she had hoped in the provision of clergy to serve her Shrine. Perhaps she failed to appreciate our Essex marshes (I am myself an Essex Man in whose veins the proud if pessimistic blood of the Marshwiggles still runs).
Or was it ... I hesitate to suggest this ... that in Clacton there was very little in the way of gentle or of Catholic social life? I have no idea where she ended up (she lived until 1913), but it may have been somewhere less far from the centre of things than Clacton was, both socially and geographically.
Does anybody know? She had a companion called Mrs Agnes St John.