“What is a dowry if not the riches that a woman brings to her husband?
What are the riches of the Church, in a particular place, if not her saints?” -Leonie Caldecott

Classic England: Mary’s Dowry

In 2020, England was re-dedicated by its Catholic Church as the “Dowry of Mary” — as it was called in more ancient times — in an effort to deepen and promote devotion to the Mother of God in England. The title originated in the medieval period, when devotion to Mary was particularly strong.  It was believed that England belonged in some special way to Mary, who was seen as the country’s “protectress” and who, through her powers of intercession, acted as the country’s defender or guardian. 

Walsingham is one of the oldest shrines to the Mother of God; and in pre-Reformation times, it ranked with Jerusalem, Rome and Compostela as one of the most visited shrines in Christendom. The message of Our Lady at Walsingham is very simple: she asks us to “share her joy at the Annunciation,” where her Son became our Savior. In preparation for the 2020 commemoration, a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham went “on tour,” visiting all of the Catholic cathedrals of England.  Join us on this pilgrimage as we, too,  journey through England, both outwardly and inwardly seeking Our Lady, and deepening our own devotion to her. 

Pilgrimage Overview

  • Spend three (3) nights at the Cathedral Gate Hotel, located in the heart of Canterbury within steps of the towering Canterbury Cathedral;  three (3) nights at the newly refurbished Dowry Retreat House, located in the city center of Walsingham and three (3) nights at the Grange Wellington Hotel in London, only minutes from Westminster Cathedral
  • Meet Dr. Robert Moynihan, leading Vatican analyst and founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, Deborah Tomlinson, Chief Operating Officer, and friends of Inside the Vatican magazine

DAY 1: Canterbury – Visit West Grimstead

  • Arrive in England and travel to Canterbury stopping on the way to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation of West Grinstead, the first Catholic Shrine in honor of Our Lady to be established in England before the Reformation

DAY 2: Canterbury – Day Trip to Ramsgate 

  • Attend Mass at the Shrine to St. Augustine
  • Dine overlooking the English Channel and the Cliffs of Dover
  • Explore Canterbury on your own

DAY 3: Canterbury

  • Private tour of the famous Canterbury Cathedral, the medieval pilgrimage site where St. Thomas À Becket was martyred
  • Venerate an important relic – the severed head of St. Thomas More
  • Attend Mass in the only Catholic parish in Canterbury
  • Join the sisters of Eastminster for tea and Vespers

DAY 4:  Walsingham – Visit Alyesford 

  • Travel to Walsingham, stopping along the way to attend Mass at the Carmelite Shrine at Aylesford, where the Brown Scapular originated
  • Meet the monks at the Carmelite Shrine
  • Be welcomed by the nuns in Walsingham on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption

DAY 5: Walsingham  

  • Stroll through the quaint streets of this English town, which is known as “England’s Nazareth” due to its special devotion to Our Lady
  •  Attend Mass celebrated at the Chapel of Our Lady of Walsingham on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary
  • Pray at the “Slipper Chapel” where medieval pilgrims used to leave their shoes, journeying a “holy mile” to the original shrine
  • Wander the serene grounds of the medieval abbey ruins in the center of town
  • Possible: drive to the coastline for tea at Holkham Nature Reserve

Overview Continued…

DAY 6: Walsingham – Day Trip to Norwich 

  •  Learn about the 14th-century anchoress, St. Julian of Norwich, and visit her shrine
  • Attend Mass celebrated at the Catholic Cathedral of Norwich
  • Lunch in the center of Norwich at a local’s favorite place to dine
  • Possible: visit Carmelite Monastery of Quidenham, where we may encounter modern day mystics

DAY 7: Walsingham to London

  • Enjoy a presentation by friar in residence at Walsingham about the life of a medieval friar
  • Visit King’s Lynn, and tour the church dedicated to Our Lady of Walsingham that began this devotion
  • Visit Ely Cathedral founded by Etheldreda (d.679), Queen, Foundress and Abbess of Ely
  • Lunch at the Ely Cathedral 
  • Enjoy dinner in London at a local’s favorite “mom-and-pop” place for fish and chips

DAYS 8, 9 and 10: London

  • Attend Mass celebrated in Westminster Cathedral and the oldest Roman Catholic Church, The Church of St. Etheldreda
  • Tour Westminster Abbey and venerate the tomb of Edward the Confessor 
  • Visit Tyburn Convent and share afternoon tea with Mother Superior as we listen to her thoughts on the many English martyrs who were hung, drawn and quartered near this convent
  • Tour the Crypt of the Tyburn Convent and pray by the resting places of the English Martyrs
  • Take a walking tour of Catholic London, visiting many places along the way
  • Visit the National Gallery to view the famous Wilton Dyptich, which depicts the concept of England as“Mary’s Dowry” in art
  • An excursion to the London Oratory. It is the church of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. and the second-largest Catholic church in London
  • Attend mass at St. Etheldreda Church
  • Dine with friends of Inside the Vatican magazine at some of our favorite pubs and restaurants in London