Lucy writes: In the last two months I have been delighted to assist in the foundation of two new Guild of St Clare chapters. The first is in the idyllic setting of Withermarsh Green, where the community at Our Lady Immaculate & St Edmund are keen to support Fr Henry Whisenant's traditional apostolate there by making and caring for the vestments and altar furnishings.
The journey to Manchester, for the launch of the Northern Chapter, was even longer, but the weather just as kind: the sun smiles on Guild of St Clare meetings, no matter where they are held! Some members of this group are in fact from Yorkshire, so although the first meeting was held in Lancashire a hybrid nomenclature has been settled on. It isn't attached to any particular parish; rather the idea is to provide a local network for the many traditionally-minded stitchers who find it difficult to travel to London for the regular vestment-mending workshops. There, too, we began with stole-making, and once again the previous experience of the founding members was very evident and promises well for the success of this chapter.
The publication of the document Traditionis Custodes was a shattering blow for traditionalists, and the new restrictions placed on the celebration of the traditional sacraments have been very distressing. The need for the support of a loving community has never been stronger, and these new Guild of St Clare Chapters are a direct response to that need. The work we do not only supports traditionally-minded priests in a material and necessary way, but is also itself a prayerful offering that we make for the good of the whole Church. In making that prayer together, we strengthen our own faith and that of each other. It does my heart good to see the devotion that goes into the repairs undertaken at Guild of St Clare meetings, and I would encourage anyone local to these new chapters to attend whenever possible.
I very much look forward to travelling back to both new Chapters, to see how they are prospering and to join them in their spiritual travels through sewing.