• Church Life,  Mother of God,  Spiritual Devotions

    The Dowry of Mary

    Many years ago, at primary school in the south of England, we prayed a little prayer every morning in class which reminded the Blessed Virgin – as though She needed to be reminded – that England is ‘the dowry of Mary’. This ‘prayer for England’ included the words – O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in Thee. In England, devotion to the Mother of God is – and has been for many, many centuries – particularly strong and widespread. As a little child, praying this…

  • Events,  Opinion,  World View

    The Cross and The Crown

    Tomorrow, the United Kingdom will pay a final mark of respect to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey in London. We know a great deal about The Queen and her life, lived out in the view of the world. One aspect of her life, however, is commented on less often than other aspects – her life of faith. It is said that at her Coronation in 1953, the Queen viewed the most solemn moment not as the one where the glittering Crown of St Edward was placed upon her head, but the private moment in which she was anointed with holy oil; for…

  • Faith and Life,  Mother of God

    The Gentlest Caress

    In the oldest part of Westminster Abbey, London, stands the tiny chapel which is pictured above. It is opposite the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor and is surrounded by the tombs of numerous Kings and Queens of England, as well as a huge number of illustrious figures from the worlds of the arts and literature across the centuries. This statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been touched so much in the past thousand years that the face is partially rubbed away and much of the fine detail has been lost. And yet even now, so very long after the statue was first placed there, still it is adorned…