The 2024 Calendar has arrived from the Redemptorist House on Papa Stronsay, in the Orkney islands. It is, as always, truly magnificent. Here we have a thoroughly modern house, but with the liturgy and piety of the days before the Wreckovation. They are now also present in New Zealand an America, and there seem to be a lot more of them than when I went to lecture on Stronsay a few years ago.
When they showed me round, and opened a large heavy farm gate for me to walk through, one of the young men observed "Bishop Fellay just jumped over that". I was assured that the guest bed I was occupying had been slept in by his Lordship, and, more recently, by Fr Aidan Nichols, when he was there to help with the canonical rectification of the Community's situation. (I hope, by the way, that lots of readers have benefitted from Apologia a Memoire, in which Father brings the story of his life down to the present with his account of his treatment under the Pope Of All Mercies.)
Among the spendid photographs in the Papa Stronsay 2024 Calendar, I particularly enjoyed the picture of Fr Seelos Maria being ordained to the Sacred Priesthood. Ordinations are such wonderful, joyous occasions, aren't they? The picture, I think, captures the moment when he is receiving the second laying on of hands ... when the Bishop tells him that whosoever's sins he remits are remitted ... a ceremony which the wreckovators, of course, eliminated in the 1970s. (When I received the Sacred Priesthood in Oxford's Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ in 1968, the Anglicans still kept it, and the Cathedral Chapter imposed hands together with Bishop Carpenter.) A few pages later, we see Father offering his first Solemn Mass. (I am just a tadge surprised that S Patrick, whose statue is few feet to South, looks perhaps a trifle disapproving.)
Please don't say that you already have 17 Calendars for 2024. I bet you won't find the masses of material in any of them that you will be given in the Papa Stronsay Calendar. For example: July 24 will be the the 800th anniversary of the Passing of of S Christina the Astonishing. I gave up reading that after the first few lines ... but was much edified to read that in 2024 we get the 1400th anniversary of the transitus of s Mellitus, first bishop of London, third Archbishop of Canterbury; commemorations of S Columba's biographer Adomnan, Abbot of Iona; and of S Angela Merici, product of that magical piece of real estate, Lake Garda; founder of the Ursulines.
I can never think ofMother and her 'Ursulines', without recalling Waugh's account of the escape of Mr Scott-King, a dim Classics Master in a dim English Public School, during the European confusions just after the end of the War. " ... a large and antiquated saloon car was bumping towards the sea. In it sat in extreme discomfort seven men habited as Ursuline nuns. Scott-King was among them."
Golgotha Monastery Island