IN the history of devotion to Our Lady in the British Isles there has been but one instance of a Papal coronation and that, remarkably, was in 1893 by Bishop Butt of Southwark as delegate of Pope Leo XIII. This was in thanksgiving to Our Lady of Consolation for having allowed the flame of Faith to remain unextinguished at West Grinstead in Sussex throughout penal times.
It is therefore very exceptional that in this year of Our Lady's grace the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham should thus be crowned. But the privilege becomes a responsibility as well. To crown Our Lady, and the Holy Child, crowns not wholly unworthy of our Heavenly Empress will be required. In 1439, Richard Beau champ bequeathed the far lesser Shrine of Our Lady of Warwick a crown of gold, garnished with rubies, sapphires and pearls. Shall we do less today by Our Lady of Walsingham? In order that these crowns for Walsingham may be truly national as offerings, the Bishop of Northampton has invited all who will to send him offerings either of money or, perhaps of greater sentimental value, of jewels. In the granting of an indult for the coronation of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Vatican Chapter will be paying tribute to English devotion to Our Lady. Shall it be said that our devotion is any less than the tribute paid? May Our Lady of Walsingham, crowned as Queen of this her Dowry, greatly speed the conversion of our land.