Sunday 21 July 2024

Launch of the St Mary Magdalen Chapter

 Lucy writes: It was a great pleasure to attend the launch of the St Mary Magdalen Chapter yesterday, at the invitation of Chapter Leader Ola Smalley, and there were several friends of the Guild of St Clare also there including recent Sponsorship award winner Julija Bigataite.

The Chapter is entrusted with the care of the vestment collection at St Mary Magdalen, which under the supervision of Fr Martin Edwards has grown into a magnificent and eclectic collection. As the interiors of the church is Arts & Crafts, Fr Martin has successfully acquired many vestments of the same period, and they are extremely unusual in design, and beautifully made. 

We made a tentative start on a violet High Mass Set, the lining of which is damaged.

We also took our courage in our hands and tackled an ombrellino cover.

The church's most useful black Cope urgently needed a new morse and new clasps, and this task was nearly completed by the end of the afternoon.

I was very impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the new Chapter, and they are fortunate to have a couple of skilled supporters, so that they will be equal to the demands made of them.

The next meeting is scheduled for September, and will meet at regular monthly intervals thereafter. To find out more or to join the group, email Ola on .

Saturday 20 July 2024

Welcome to our newest supporter!

I'm delighted to be able to announce the arrival of our newest and youngest member, little Marita Beatrice Ulrike Windsor, daughter to Vreni, our London (St Bede's) Chapter Leader and her husband Tom. Marita is their tenth child. 

Marita was born at 4.31pm yesterday (Friday 19th July). I'm sure she was hoping to be in time for our quarterly Chapter Leader's meeting, which bodes very well for the future! 

Vreni and Tom have been stalwart supporters of the Traditional Mass for twenty years, and have been particularly active at St Bede's, Clapham Park, where there is a large and long-standing community. Their ten children are among their great gifts to the traditional movement; the oldest of them have already become, in their turn, of invaluable assistance, helping at many local and national events.  We thank the whole Windsor family and send them our congratulations on this auspicious arrival.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

A Response to Casual Contempt

Lucy writes: A photograph published on Twitter last weekend, of a female Church of England ordinand wearing a Borromean chasuble, gave rise to considerable debate, much of it too disedifying to warrant special notice. But one comment, directed towards me as a representative of the Guild of St Clare, does require a response, if only a brief one, especially since it manifests a common attitude. Here it is.

Women in the Catholic Church fill many roles, and Joseph Shaw, in his own response to this tweet, drew attention to Diane Montagna, one of our most influential journalists, Clare McCullough of the Good Counsel Network whose unstinting efforts have saved hundreds of unborn babies from abortion, Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs, noted sacred artist, in addition to women from past decades such as Sue Coot and Iris Roper, to whom the movement for the Traditional Mass owes so much. These women are an inspiration to all, a witness to the many ways in which women can serve the Church with distinction and true femininity.

At the Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat, February 2021

The Church has need of more than leaders, however. The fabric of her buildings must be maintained, and her furnishings also. For those of us - most of us - not able to take the lead in public life, the care of vestments and Church furnishings has come to represent a significant part of our devotional life. "Every stitch an Ave," Fr Stephen Morrison OPraem, one of our strongest supporters, is fond of saying - and it is true. Handling the garments that are used in the highest prayer of the Church draws one into a kind of prayer that is at once a meditation and an alms.

Repairs to the goldwork on a Humeral Veil

St Joseph was a carpenter, a skilled craftsman. Our Lord himself washed the feet of the apostles, warning them: "If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me." The true Christian life lies not only in the ability to value the most menial task, and to understand that its very lowliness gives glory to God in a way that is particularly precious - but also to be able to accept a menial offering with humility and gratitude. 

The Guild of St Clare at our annual class at the Royal School of Needlework

It is true that much of the sewing involved in the mending of vestments is simple and unexciting. But there is much more to it than setting the stitches. The woman with the issue of blood understood well the power of the clothing of the Lord: "If I shall but touch his garment, I shall be whole." Those of us who do reverently touch and care for His garments, do indeed experience the consolation and healing power of Christ.

Painstaking repairs to a beautiful and fragile chasuble

I do not suggest that it is the task of every woman to undertake this work. (I certainly don't think that it is a task that should be limited to women either - at the Guild of St Clare we have welcomed the assistance of many men over the years, and count them amongst some of our most enthusiastic and skilled helpers.) Those who do join us, however, both men and women, in a spirit of prayerful generosity, can be sure that the Lord does not despise our efforts; more than that, that they have an honoured place in the mission of the Church Militant.

Fr Stephen Morrison OPraem repairing the cassock of one of his servers