27 June 2023

Walsingham: episcopal problems and the work of the Devil.

 Charlotte Pearson Boyd was born on 21 March 1837, of an old and aristocratic Scottish family; she died a Catholic in 1906. I am indebted to Ethel M Hostler for the information in her elegant "notes on her life", published in 1996 by the Catholic League.

Boyd inherited a great deal of money; she was inclined to spend it on Religious Communities, firstly Anglo-Catholic and then Catholic. And she was an enthusiatic client of our Blessed Lady sub titulo Our Lady of Walsingham.

So it was that she was able, in 1896, to buy the ruinous remains of what had been the Slipper Chapel a mile outside Walsingham ... by tradition, the spot where pilgrims removed their shoes, and made their confessions, before entering the Holy Land of England's Nazareth. She employed the architect Thomas Garner to restore the building; he was a pupil of Sir Gilbert Scott and a long-time partner of Bodley (founder of Watts and Co). Then she gave it to Downside Abbey. In 1903, she wrote " ... we had hoped ere this Holy Mass would have been said daily for the conversion of England, and souls would have been gathered in."

Bishop Arthur Riddell of Northampton, the Catholic Diocesan, seems to have been the problem. Miss Boyd wrote frankly: "The Bishop, I feel, will be our great obstacle in the matter of Walsingham. His known dislike to the regulars--especially Benedictines--has prevented a mission at Walsingham for years." She referred to herself as "unsavoury in the Bishop's nostrils"; we are told that "Miss Boyd says the Abbot has asked for permission to open the Slipper Chapel and have Mass said there and been refused. He does not wish to write again, as the Bishop did not answer his last letter."

A later writer tells us that "Miss Boyd always maintained that every set-back as regards the Slipper Chapel was the work of the Devil to prevent the pre-Reformation devotion to our Lady of Walsingham being restored, but her faith in its restoration to its old-time splendour remained unshaken."


Atticus said...

Miss Charlotte Pearson Boyd
Was thoroughly annoyed
By the obstructive stance
Of the bishop of Northants.

Chatto said...

I wonder if her support for the Benedictines was encouraged by being born on St. Benedict's Day.

Woody said...

Is there any indication who the new rector of the Catholic National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham will be?

coradcorloquitur said...

The great mystery again: why is it that the worst enemies of the True Faith are often men sporting miters? What can a personal dislike of Benedictines have to do with the wholesome devotion so selflessly promoted by Miss Boyd? Can these mitered bureaucrats have anything whatsoever to do with the Great Commission given by our Lord to the Apostles [and their successors]?