Tuesday, 2 June 2009

St Bede- family birthdays- FSSR honours Our Lady

The 27th May was the feast-day of St Bede, known as the Venerable Bede, born AD 673 in property situated on land owned by the monks of Jarrow (Northumberland) and died 735 in Jarrow. Ordained deacon at the age of 19 years, and priest in his 30th year, his monastic life was based at the twin monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, rarely leaving the confines. He was the author of many theological and historical works, the best known and the one for which he is famous - ‘Ecclesiastical history of the English speaking people’, a key source for the understanding of early British history and the establishment of Christianity in Britain. He was pronounced a ‘Doctor of the Church’ by Pope Leo XIII in 1899, a designation of great theological significance, and the only native of Great Britain to be so honoured.

The 27th May also happens to be the birthday of Adrian our second son, Gerard our third son (one year later), and Hannah, Adrian’s daughter. I have often wondered at the mathematical odds of this occurrence, to have two sons and a granddaughter (the daughter of one of these sons) all with the same birthday, seems rather unusual. If some knowledgeable person could satisfy my curiosity on the mathematical ‘probability’ of this, it would be much appreciated.

On a further historical note; last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday; also the feast-day of Mary, Queen of Heaven, mediatrix between God and mankind; also the 10th anniversary of the acquisition of Papa Stronsay, the island site of Golgotha Monastery, by the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (FSSR). In thanksgiving for blessings received and in honour of Our Blessed Lady, the monks led by Fr Michael Mary FSSR and Fr Anthony Mary FSSR, processed on foot from the southern end of Stronsay to the old lifeboat station, a distance of about 5 miles, bearing a beautiful 3-4 foot high crowned statue of Our Blessed Lady strewn with flowers, on a specially constructed wooden base with two projecting handles at each end, rather like a stretcher, which allowed it to be carried safely on the shoulders of two carriers. Preceding the statue was Br Bernard FSSR carrying the processional crucifix, and Br Nicodemus FSSR carrying a large and heavy 'Our Lady's' banner, with the duties of statue bearer shared between the FSSR Brothers Louis, Xavier, Gerardo, Dominic, and Mathew, all roles physically demanding and tiring.If by oversight I have omitted any of the Brothers, I ask their pardon. On what was probably the hottest day of the year so far, this was truly a perspiring, penitential, yet devout and impressive pilgrimage. I have to confess that my unwilling legs only allowed me to join the procession over the final furlong or two, as also did my wife and our dog Hector, but it was a great privilege to be able to do even this. I also have to admit to a minor peripheral role in the proceedings, that of ‘water provider’ at a location about half way along the route. This simple exercise almost, but not quite, ended in disaster, for having filled three lidded water jugs plus one large 3 litre bottle with water, and fitted them and a suitable bottle of lime-juice, together with about a dozen cups, in my car, I set off for the agreed rendezvous in what I thought was plenty of time. As I neared the location I became increasingly concerned as I could see no sign of the pilgrims, however at the last minute I suddenly caught sight of them around the side of the building. I was travelling at a reasonable speed and had to brake sharply to enable me to turn off the road in time. As I did this all three jugs of water fell over, spilling virtually the full contents of two and more than half the content of the third all over the car floor. Fortunately and very providentially, the large 3 litre bottle of water remained intact, thus I was able to adequately provide for the needs of the hot and thirsty pilgrims. It really is surprising how many cups of water can be squeezed from a 3 litre bottle! The procession finally ended back at Golgotha Monastery, via a boat trip on the ‘St Alphonsus’ which was waiting at the monastic quay on Stronsay (adjoining the old lifeboat station) , concluding with the consecration of Stronsay and the re-consecration of Papa Stronsay to the ‘Immaculate Heart of Mary’.
The day ended with a delicious home-cooked, evening meal at the monastery, and a return boat trip to Stronsay on the ‘St Alphonsus’. We arrived back home at about 10.30p.m.suitably exhausted, but very grateful for a rather special day - Deo Gratias!

‘Thoughts from St Alphonsus’ by Rev C McNeiry C.SS.R

“By the light of the last candle all things in this world – applause, diversions, pomps and greatness – vanish. The most princely fortunes, the most exalted dignities, and the most superb triumphs lose all their splendour when viewed from the bed of death.” (June 3rd)

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, pray for us, and guide and protect our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.


Dicens said...

The following information is not quite exact:
St Bede ... born AD 673 near Newcastle .... his monastic life was based at the twin monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow (Northumberland) from whence he travelled widely throughout Britain".
Bede was born not near Newcastle but on the land of the monastery of Jarrow. Jarrow is in the present area of Tyne and Wear (fornerly County Durham but in Anglo Saxon times Northumbria)He did NOT travel widely throughout Britain.

umblepie said...

Thank you Dicens,for your correction. You are quite right. Mea culpa.

umblepie said...

Dear Dicens, I have corrected my post as per your information. Many thanks.

Jane said...


Let's hear it for St. Hilda!

This was a lovely post.

Have left a message for you in the Oasis combox in reply to your very welcome message to me there.

btw, now subscribing to 'Catholic'. It makes me realise I am, and I'm not alone!

God bless,

umblepie said...

Jane, Thanks for your kind comment, also for your reply in the Oasis post. Best wishes. B.

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