The Priory of Our Lady and other Chapels

The Priory of Our Lady

Within the Shrine grounds is the Priory where the Sisters of the Society of S. Margaret live a common life. Prayer is an important part of their lives too. It is the essence of their work. As well as the Daily Mass the sisters share in four services of prayers (known as Offices) and spend 90 minutes alone each day praying for many different people and causes.

The nuns formerly worked in the Sacristy (assisting in the preparation of worship) but now do a great deal of pastoral work with pilgrims in the Shrine and as they receive the sprinkling at the well. They are also involved in educational work at the Shrine and in the village school with schoolchildren - often very interested and intrigued by the idea of following such a selfless course in life - and in the six churches in surrounding parishes.

The Barn Chapel

As part of the building of the new Refectory and Cafe-Bar in 1999/2000 two neighbouring buildings in that part of the Shrine grounds - both in a poor state – were restored and refurbished. One of these was a derelict medieval barn standing on the Shrine site’s northern boundary in Guild Street. The decision was taken to create a small chapel suitable for pilgrim groups to use. Gradually, with a specially made altar and lectern, a beautiful ikon on the wall behind the altar and a stunning piece of modern sculpture (in metal and wire) hanging from the ceiling, the Barn Chapel has become a greatly loved place of worship. In 2007 the addition of an organ – the gift of a pilgrim - completed the set-up.

The steel sculpture – Crucifix – is by David Begbie and was created in 1988 for Winchester Cathedral and was given to the Shrine in 2004. The arresting figure of Christ has no hands; Christ has no hands but our hands – derived from the prayer of S. Teresa of Avila.

The Guild of All Souls Chapel

Founded in 1873 by Fr Arthur Tooth at Hatcham in south London, the Guild of All Souls is one of the Catholic Societies of the Church of England (the Anglican Church). The Guild objects were prayer for the dying and for the repose of the souls of the departed coupled with promotion of “two great doctrines of the Christian Creed – the Communion of Saints and the Resurrection of the Dead.” After an itinerant existence at various churches in the first half of the 20C, the Shrine offered space in 1965 to build a permanent home - the octagonal chapel, dedicated to S. Michael & the Holy Souls, which stands close to the Shrine Church. The architect was Laurence King (who also restored the parish church of Walsingham after the 1962 fire.

In medieval times many wealthy worshippers left money in their wills to pay for Masses to be said in the hope that they might have an easier passage into heaven. The wealthiest even built their own chantry chapels and employed a permanent chantry priest. Every day today the Chantry Priest at Walsingham says Mass at which the names of departed members of the Guild are remembered.

Mass times - until December 31st 2017 11.30 am everyday; from 1st January 2018 10.30 am weekdays, 11.30 am Sundays.