Sunday, May 18, 2014

A hot sunny day...

...and a beautiful walk through Chelsea, with an enthusiastic group discovering the sites linked to St Thomas More. We began at the church in Cheyne Row, went on to his statue facing the Thames, by  his own chapel in Chelsea Old Church, stopped again at Roper's Orchard and viewed More's town house - which was transported to Chelsea in the 1900s -  and then finished at Allen Hall in  Beaufort Street.  This is the seminary which trains priests for the Westminster diocese, and the Rector and students gave us a most wonderful welcome, with Tea waiting for us at tables set on the wide green lawn...absolute bliss.  After we'd all relaxed over tea and delicious cakes, we gathered in the refectory and Fr Rector told us the history of the seminary, dating back, of course, to penal times and Cardinal Allen, and Douai...and then, after we'd visited St Thomas More's mulberry tree in the garden - and everyone had plucked some leaves as a memento, an established tradition for visitors - we went to the chapel for Vespers and Benediction. It was so moving and inspiring to hear the strong male voices filling the chapel with glorious singing, and leading the prayers. Over tea we had been introduced to several of them: in addition to those training for the Westminster diocese there are some from overseas and several from other dioceses in England and Wales. Before we left, we gave them all three hearty cheers...and took up a collection to help with the seminary funds, and promised them lots of prayers...it was a wonderful day.

2 comments:

d312f012-e209-11e3-86e1-000bcdcb8a73 said...

My husband is originally from Weymouth in Dorset and we plan to visit London and several other cities next year. Are visitors free to join in the walks and observances you blog about, for the most part? We know that Catholics are a minority in England as they are in the southern United States where we live and would love to see what is going on "back home" with the Church.
Kathy Bird, Georgia US

Joanna Bogle said...

Yes, anyone and everyone is invited to join the Catholic History Walks that I advertise on this blog. Absolutely delighted to have you!

Joanna B.