Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Yesterday evening - as part of the Christian Unity Octave - there was a special service of Monastic Vespers at Tyburn Convent in London. This stands near where the site of the Tyburn Gallows where so many Catholic martyrs met their deaths. It was a standard Vespers, led by the nuns - there are some twenty or more of them, living a community life of prayer here in the heart of London - and the preacher was the Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Rt Rev Geoffrey Powell. He spoke well, referring to the Tyburn martyrs and also to the Protestants burned during the religious strife of that era.....there were prayers for unity and for mutual forgiveness an d healing etc.....the chapel was full, as was the Gallery where I was sitting. We sang Newman's "Praise to the Holiest", and the sisters chanted the psalms and antiphons.

Afterwards, we were welcomed to a buffet: the sisters are so sweet and smiling, all anxious for us to eat and meet.....there were several people there from the Catholic Union (of which Jamie is Chairman) and there was much talk of this new problem with the Govt's nasty "Sexual Orientation" regulations, about which I'd been debating on TV earlier.....when I got home later there was another message, from some Breakfast TV group wanting a further discussion......

It is extraordinary cycling through London from Tyburn after a moving service like that, aware of so much history. The night was crisp and cold, everything seemed sharply outlined. I sang "Jerusalem" as I sailed down past Green Park, round by the Palace (standard was up, Sovereign at home) and turned right along past Horseguards and St James' Park and into Parliament Square.

This morning, woken by that strange light which means snow: the garden and the road outside look enchanting. The TV people don't want me after all (DG) and I can settle to some work before a morning meeting in town: no cycling today and I've just been bringing in to the house the washing I hung out yesterday, all frozen and dusted with is steaming gently by the radiators.


Anonymous said...

You will loose respect, Joanna, if you persist in accepting invitations to appear on television, enjoy the results and the reclame, and then publicly bite the hand that feeds you by discouraging people to watch. Its pure hypocrasy. Have you ever discussed this with Mother Angelica? Nobody is going to take the least notice, so why bother?

Rich Leonardi said...

The convent and its chapel are lovely. During a trip to London last year, one of the sisters gave my wife and me a tour of the crypt that included the viewing of first- and second-class relics. We purchased what seemed to be an ancient print of the Forty Martyrs -- the ribbon around it disintegrated in my hands -- which now hangs on my living room wall.

And someone needs to erect a monument to the martyrs on that traffic circle instead of the cheap concrete tile/placard. The last time I was there, it was cracked, crudely repaired, and covered with leaves, cigarette butts, and wads of chewing gum.

Kyro said...

I just found your blog, great to see you online. Im a GKC/CS Lewis/Tolkein fan and have a great love for English Catholicism and history. I listen to your EWTN shows when I am doing filing in my office. Great to see you online.

PS I see you like the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I grew up just a few miles from where she lived, and where her parents are buried.

Anonymous said...

Just recently found your blog and am enjoying it. Thank you for posting about Tyburn Convent.
I visited it last summer. Unfortunately, we couldn't see the relics due to construction, but we were able to spend some time in the chapel. It's wonderful to know that places like that exist in this world.

Marston Magna said...


May I wish you a Happy Feast of St Francis de Sales.