The New Church at Princes Risborough
From a Catholic Herald Staff Reporter Father F. M. Dreves has told the story of how his church in Princes Risborough has come to be built, in a shilling booklet called With the Help of St. Teresa: The Story of a Venture of Faith.
Readers of the Catholic Herald will remember how Pr. Dreves, who had to make do with a little tin church. made a pilgrimage to Lisieux and was there, as it were, inspired to tell St. Teresa that she was to find him the sum of £3,000 before October; how on the next feast of the Little Flower he met a young man and told him that the altar shrine to the Saint was a thankoffering in advance for the money that was coming; and how, finally, the same young man with two companions came to the altar rails on the next Sunday and said " It is all right, Father, you have great faith. Do not worry any more, for St. Teresa has answered your prayer. We, my brother-in-law and myself, arc going to give you £3,000!"
Having read Fr. .Dreves's account, with lots of other details in this new book. I felt that 1 must go and see how the " miracle " church was progressing.
The Church Progresses
Princes Risborough is in the heart of the Chilterns, a small and pretty little town, and a fairly important railway junction. As one comes into the town from Amersham way (after a drive through scenery that at this time of the year is one long glorious winding hilly road of old gold and flaming copper) the new church lies in the centre of the town on one's left.
Without asking anyone's permission I boldly made my way across the debris of timber and steel and entered the church. It is, I .believe, a little like the Basilica at Lisieux. In any case it is very unusual. A largish hexagon with five bays, it seems to be designed so that everyone may see the High Altar in comfort. The walls of soft red brick have reached the level of tin dome and cupolas.
1 asked the foreman when it would be finished. " It's difficult to say," he replied. " What with this armament we can't get the steel and some of the workers have had to be taken off. But we hope to have it done by the early part of next year."
" And, the cost?" I asked, thinking of what the readers of the Catholic. Herald might do to help.
" About six thousand pounds, I believe," he answered, " And that's not counting tha priest's house now being built in a similar style behind the church."
So Fr. Dreves, it seemed, has double faith. St. Teresa gave £3,000. Will she also see to the extra?