Friday, 31 August 2007

Arabian Catholics

This is the notice board of Abu Dhabi Cathedral, showing the busy timetable for Friday-Sunday and the many different language groups represented: English, French, Arabic, Urdu and Malayalam. The church is packed for most of these Masses and often there's a large overspill outside. In fact, on the Solemnity of the Assumption there were 1,000 inside the Cathedral and 1,000 outside, listening to the Mass from loudspeakers, with occasional interruptions from the nearby minaret. Such numbers are hardly surprising given that 35% of the population of the UAE is Christian, most of whom are Catholics - yet in a large city like Abu Dhabi there is just one church, though the provision is luxurious compared to Saudi Arabia!
A reader has just pointed out to me Sandro Magister's new post on the Church in Arabia, which ties in nicely with my recent experiences and has the eye-catching title, The Christians Are Coming Back to Arabia - Fourteen Centuries After Mohammed. It vividly describes some of the pastoral challenges out there and is well worth reading.


Thursday, 30 August 2007

Three Nuns in a Desert Oasis

Last Monday I visited Al Ain, built around a desert oasis on the UAE-Oman border and called the 'Garden City of the Gulf'. Three of the sisters who I led on retreat also came and the above picture shows them pointing at dates on the trees.

In Arabia, nuns seem to be highly respected, partly because of their famously successful schools (such as St Mary's, Dubai). Also they can freely roam the streets in their habits because the veil, etc meet the Muslim idea of how women should be dressed (most nuns in this country wouldn't). Priests, on the other hand, have to be a little more prudent and I only wore my white cassock in the Cathedral compound (where I stayed most of the time). This explains why, in the following picture, I am dressed as an Englishman abroad (that will shock some of you!) and the sisters are dressed as sisters. The interesting thing, though, is that we are standing in UAE but the rock behind us belongs to Oman. It was the nearest I got to the Sultanate - to set foot in Oman you need a visa.


Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A Sign of Contradiction?

As I sit in my London presbytery, it's hard to believe that this time last week I was in Dubai, the 'Hong Kong of the Middle East'. I spent a pleasant day shopping, visiting the surprisingly interesting Dubai Museum and lunching at the Dubai Creek Golf Club.

Dubai is a town of construction sites, including what will become the world's tallest building, the Burj Dubai, which has currently reached its 146th floor at some 1,759ft:

The final height is being kept a closely guarded secret because of competition from other ambitious projects, including those in nearby Kuwait, Bahrain and (it is widely rumoured) Abu Dhabi. The tower could reach as high as 2,684ft. Wikipedia rather amusingly says:

The silvery glass-sheathed concrete building will restore the title of Earth's tallest structure to the Middle East — a title not held by the region since Lincoln Cathedral upset the four millennial reign of Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza in 1311 AD.

The most famous building in Dubai is the impressive Burj Al-Arab (above), which stands at 1,053ft and houses a super-luxurious 7-star hotel. Such is its iconic status that the tower appeared on Dubai number-plates, until being removed recently. Why? The building is meant to resemble a sail, billowing in the wind. Towards the top, a long horizontal structure (containing a restaurant) intersects the building's 'mast' or 'spine', giving the appearance of a Christian cross. In fact, some call it the largest cross in the Muslim world! You can make it out in the picture heading the post, or in this rather exaggerated one I found on the internet:

Of course, crosses can be found in almost every building if you look hard enough, but the (British) architects were accused by some of placing the symbol there on purpose. As a result, official photos never show the Dubai cross (which can only be seen from the sea) and the offending image was taken off Dubai number-plates. As one friend said to me, half in jest: such a strong reaction to the cross makes you think that there must be something in Christianity!


Saturday, 25 August 2007

This Green and Pleasant Land

I'm spending the Bank Holiday weekend at my parent's house in Rickmansworth, having arrived back to this green and pleasant land at 6.20 this morning. The flight was as comfortable as night journeys can be, though I do wish there was a separate cabin for families with young children! I had a window seat - rather wasted at night but I did manage to peer out as we passed near to Baghdad and said a quick prayer for the people of that war-torn region.

One of the Indian priests in Abu Dhabi said that, to his mind, England is an earthly Paradise. Compared to the dry humid heat and the largely unattractive desert terrain of Arabia, the mild climate and verdantly green landscape is certainly striking. It is indeed good to be back!


Thursday, 23 August 2007

The Largest 'Diocese' in the World

Greetings from Bishop's House, Abu Dhabi (UAE)! I haven't been able to blog the last few days - nor was I sure how prudent it would be to do so. But having got the 'go-ahead' from the Vicar General, who is an Englishman, I thought it was time to give an up-date. The picture above shows yours truly (in an Indian-style tropical cassock) with the good sisters I have been leading in retreat the last eight days. They belong to the Apostolic Carmel (based in Bahrain) and the Carmelites of St Teresa (based here in Abu Dhabi). Sorry about the shadow.

Here is St Joseph's Cathedral, the mother church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia. Abu Dhabi is one of the world's newest cities - just forty years ago it was a tiny desert settlement, with none of the skyscrapers that you see today. It has, of course, been transformed by the discovery of oil. The first Catholic church was built here in 1965, with the help of the British and the permission of Sheikh Zayed (who attended the opening ceremony). The episcopal seat was moved here from Aden in 1972 following the Yemeni Communist Revolution, thanks to the efforts of Bishop Calabresi, who had the wonderful title of 'Apostolic Delegate for the Red Sea'.

The Apostolic Vicariate claims to be the largest ecclesiastical territory in the world, covering Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen - an area of about 1,858,491 square miles (2,990,958 sq km), though much of this is desert. There is a substantial Catholic population, entirely made up of foreign workers. Sunday Masses (which are celebrated on Friday and Sunday) are packed and at least 2,000 attended the Cathedral's Assumption procession last week. The Vicariate's schools are highly regarded and are open to non-Catholics (indeed, such is the reputation that they are used by prominent members of the local community). Since 1916, the Vicariate has been under the care of the Tuscan Province of Capuchins and the current Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Paul Hinder, is a Capuchin friar originally from Switzerland.

According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, a Vicar Apostolic is equivalent in law to a diocesan bishop, possessing all ordinary jurisdiction and enjoying the usual rights, faculties, privileges and obligations. However, rather than exercising this governance in his own name, he does so in the name of the Supreme Pontiff. The fact that Arabia is an Apostolic Vicariate reflects this area's stage of ecclesial development - i.e. it has not reached full maturity or independence (just like England and Wales up until 1850).

Above is a picture of Bishop's House, which has been my home for the last fortnight. Note the rising minarets right behind - I wish modern English churches could be built to the same standard as these modern mosques.

One final picture of the Catholic compound here in Abu Dhabi is the convent of the Congregation of St Teresa, where the six nuns who run the school live. As you can perhaps tell from these pictures, it's jolly hot - in the mid 40s. I'm used to walking about quite a lot in London and so it's a bit of a shock coming to this climate and living in an air-conditioned bubble without much exercise. British readers who are complaining about their ghastly summer don't know how lucky they are! More Arabian-themed posts to follow.


Friday, 17 August 2007

Sabbath Inculturation

Here's one thing I hadn't realised before my recent travels: in Muslim countries, the weekend is kept either on Thursday and Friday or on Friday and Saturday. The point is that Sunday is a normal working day, which means that Masses for the Sunday can start as early as Thursday evening and continue until Sunday evening (though Saturday morning Masses are normally of the Saturday). This means that those who go to daily Mass may have to listen to the same sermon two or three times, though the priests do try to vary them. Also, since Friday is a festal day, the usual Friday observance is transferred to the Wednesday.

Confusing, but it does seem to work!



Yesterday, as a bit of fun between giving retreat conferences, I posted five Catholic facts about Mr E Presley on the 30th anniversary of his death. I didn't expect that it would lead to 2,648 visitors (compared to Wednesday's 269), thanks to mention on Whispers in the Loggia, Dappled Things, New Advent, Fr Jay's Young Fogeys, Fr Dwight's Standing On My Head, Deacon's Bench, Per Christum and even The Corner blog from the National Review!

Anyway, it's taken Roman Miscellany's total number of visitors to over 100,000 since April 2006. This is the by now obligatory post to note this fact and thank my patient readers. And, I suppose since my readership was so boosted on the anniversary of his death, thank you Elvis!


Thursday, 16 August 2007

Five Catholic Facts About Elvis

I have a grave confesion to make. I own some Elvis CDs. In fact, I used to be quite keen on his music and one has to admit that, despite his unedifying lifestyle and tragic final years, he was a talented musician. Many people around the world are marking the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death. Here are five top Catholic facts about the 'King':
  • one of Elvis' early performances (1955) was at the Catholic Club, Helena, Arkansas. However, his unorthodox performance did not impress the parish priest, Fr Keller, especially when the singer autographed a female fan's leg. 'You are a disgrace to manhood', he was allegedly told, 'don't come back anymore'. Read more about it here.

  • It is well known that the beautiful Dolores Hart, the niece of Mario Lanza who starred alongside Elvis in Loving You (1957) and King Creole (1958), left Hollywood in 1963 to become a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethlehem, Connecticut. There have long been rumours that Dolores previously had romantic attachments to Mr Presley. 'I'd done two movies with Elvis Presley', she later said, 'I'd been around Hollywood for a while - and saw how needlessly competitive and negative it could be. It never held my interest'. She eventually became Prioress and Mother Hart now holds the unique distinction of being the only nun to be a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


    ...and after

  • I've mentioned before Elvis' last feature film, Change of Habit (1969), in which he plays a doctor working alongside three sisters 'on placement' (see picture at top of post). The unique finale, showing Elvis as part of a folk group at an interim, pre-Novus Ordo Mass, can be seen here.

  • Elvis recorded a song called 'The Miracle of the Rosary' in 1971 (issued on the 1972 album, Elvis Now), with the lyrics: 'O Blessed Mother we pray to thee/Thanks for the miracle of your Rosary/Only you can hold back/Your holy son's hand/Long enough for the whole world to understand/Hail, Mary full of grace/The Lord is with thee/Blessed are thou among women/And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus/O Holy Mary dear mother of God/Please pray for us sinners/Now and at the hour of our death/And give thanks once again/For the miracle of your rosary'.

  • When Elvis died in his Graceland bathroom thirty years ago today, he is said to have been reading a book about the Holy Shroud of Turin - normally identified as A Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus (1972) by Frank O. Adams, which argues that the Turin Shroud really is Our Lord's Shroud. It has since become eagerly sought after by Elvis fans. Less impressive is the other book he was allegedly reading - Sex and Psychic Energy. Hmmmm, we better move quickly along.

NB There really was a Celtic saint called St Elvis, who was a bishop of the Irish See of Munster and may even have baptised St David, Patron of Wales - so it is a valid baptismal name!


Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Assumpta Est Maria

Yes, I am still alive, but opportunities for blogging are rather limited since I'm conducting a private retreat for some Carmelite sisters in a country far away from home. My day consists of Mass, two 40 minute conferences, Holy Hour and individual sesions with those who want them - and that's quite enough in the oven-like heat. In fact, it's so hot that I haven't even been for any walks yet.

Thank God for air conditioning and for the white cassock that I'm wearing. Don't get too excited - it is not exactly Gammerelli style, basically a sort of alb with buttons, with no Roman collar as such. It's what they wear in these parts and it keeps me cool, although it makes me look very Indian!

As I write this, the muezzin is calling the people to prayer from a nearby minaret. In fact, I'm woken up by this at 4.30 every morning - I suppose I should use it as an opportunity to recite Matins but I'm pretty useless at that time. The call of the minaret is heard throughout the day, including during our Holy Hour. How different it is from my home parish!

Great excitement here because tomorow is not only the Solemnity of the Assumption but also Indian Independence Day (I hadn't realised before that they both fall on the same day). So I'll be celebrating an especially solemn Mass for my Indian sisters - and they have a box of chocolates ready for afterwards.

To wherever you are in the world - buona festa!


Thursday, 9 August 2007

48 Hours in Paris

Just back from a short stay in Paris with Fr Whinder. As you can see, the weather had its moments and the Eiffel Tower was obscured by mist for most of yesterday. Before catching the Eurostar back to Waterloo, we visited the Invalides, which includes a very good military museum. Of course, we (half-heartedly) paid our respects to the 'shrine' of the Emperor Napoleon - and prayed for the repose of his soul:

In the museum we admired this First World War Mass kit, which would have been used in the trenches:

On Tuesday we made the pilgrimage to Versailles (for the first time since Coppola's stunning film, Marie-Antoinette). Unfortunately, the fountains were not working that day, along with the accompanying baroque music (a different selection is chosen each year and sold as a CD in the shops). But the gardens were as magnificent as ever:

Fr Whinder was full of the baroque spirit as we walked around the quaint little town, and even approached a friendly looking local to ask for directions:


Sunday, 5 August 2007

The 'Very Modern Priest'

Fr Tim has said in a recent post that I won't easily live down being described as a 'very modern priest' in this week's Catholic Times and that my friends should go and buy me 'some patterned jumpers and fawn-coloured slacks to go with his new image'.

Well, I rather like my new title, although there is some truth in what he says. Funnily enough, I'm not going to be wearing clerical dress for the next few weeks. I can imagine lots of shocked gasps all around the blogosphere. But let me explain.

On Friday I'm travelling to the Persian Gulf to conduct an eight-day retreat to some Carmelite teaching sisters. As I'll be in a relatively strict Muslim country, I'll only be able to wear clerical dress in the church compound where I'm staying (although, since I'll be in the compound most of the time, I suppose I will mostly be wearing clerics). However, on my rare expeditions into town, I won't exactly be seen sporting 'patterned jumpers' or 'fawn-coloured slacks' due to the intense heat and humidity.

It will be exciting to visit an Apostolic Vicariate (as opposed to a diocese). Many of the papers in the Westminster Archive concern the English Vicars Apostolic, who provided episcopal government in this country between the reign of James II and the Restoration of the Hierarchy. And it's easy to forget that many 'missionary' areas still have Vicars Apostolic, such as those of Kuwait and Arabia (the latter includes the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen). To read more about the Catholic situation over there, click here, here and here.

So, I'll be away from blogging for a bit - I intend to rest over the next few days in preparation and I'll be popping over to Paris for a quick break. If I find a computer in the Middle East (and if my hosts judge it prudent to do so) I shall let you know how I'm getting on. In the meantime, prayers please for a safe journey and a successful retreat!


A Humble Priest - Part 2

A few weeks ago I posted about the late Fr Sir Hugh Barrett-Lennard, 6th Bt, of the London Oratory. Well, the Daily Telegraph published a memorable obituary of him yesterday. I've taken the liberty of including some 'highlights' here, but it's really worth reading in full. I think St Philip Neri would definitely approve!

Pursuing a busy and eclectic apostolate in Knightsbridge, he was a dedicated parish visitor, so unconcerned about his appearance that he sometimes wore odd shoes; thus attired he would knock firmly on the doors of rich and poor alike. He visited the Household Cavalry, and served as a chaplain to both the local St Thomas More school and the St Christopher cycling club, though his cassock occasionally became tangled in a bicycle wheel and had to be cut free.

For a time (until his absentmindedness with keys led to concerns about security) he acted as an unofficial chaplain at Wormwood Scrubs prison, where his masses were said to be served by two prisoners known as Hammer and Sickle. He enjoyed recalling how he had once been served at Benediction by a thurifer who was a murderer and by two acolytes who had been convicted of causing grievous bodily harm.

In addition Barrett-Lennard gave devoted service as prefect of the lay organisation, the Brothers of the Little Oratory. He accompanied its youth club to the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides, where he was known as the "Pope of Eigg" and was in the habit of organising hunts for an imaginary haggis, which he encouraged with high-pitched shrieks like a peacock.

Noted for his piety, he was also admired for his unshockability and flexibility. He was once summoned to a room at the Oratory to find a woman who had removed all her clothes; Barrett-Lennard swathed her in a carpet. On another occasion, during the 1950s, a woman asked for confession outside church and he held up a tennis racket to serve as a grille, so that the separation of confessor and penitent was maintained.

As a retreat-giver at the Oratory prep school in Oxfordshire Barrett-Lennard made his mark by getting all the boys up for a midnight walk through the woods. He once arrived at the senior school soaking wet - he had fallen into a fishpond on leaving a Carmelite convent in Essex.

He had the title of extraordinary confessor, and his usual practice was to dump his bag on arrival at the school and immediately set off on a tour of the houses, where he received an enthusiastic welcome; and although he mostly heard confessions in his room he was prepared to do so behind a hedge. He remembered every boy, and if he ran into an Old Oratorian on the day of the St Philip's Day Mass at the London Oratory, he would remind him to attend.

Among Father Hugh's annual rituals was a Christmas party, known as "The Happening", which would include poetry readings, sketches by Girl Guides, a demonstration of hand-walking by a fellow Oratorian priest and some vigorous hymn singing. Every December 27 he led a party to Herstmonceux church, Sussex, where he celebrated Mass at the Dacre chapel and visited his parents' graves before retreating to the local pub.


Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Curé d'Ars

Today we celebrate the feast of St John Mary Vianney, who, all these years after his death, is still called the Curé (or Parish Priest) of Ars. This in itself is remarkable – as one writer puts it, ‘his name disappeared in his function’. He was a priest with the cure of souls first; everything else followed.

On paper, it seemed as if the Curé d’Ars' pastoral ministry would not be very fruitful. He only narrowly got through seminary and, because of his poor knowledge of theology, wasn’t even allowed to hear confessions at first! Once in the parish, he often yearned to join a monastery and made plans to run away on two occasions. ‘I should not like to die a Curé’, he once said, and he often noted how few canonised saints have been parish priests. Moreover, he faced many trials. In 1830 a group of parishioners tried to get him removed because he was ‘too strict’ and he even faced rumours of sexual scandal.

However, this simple, semi-illiterate pastor is the patron of parish priests. He won such fame as an insightful confessor, able to read souls, that special trains started running to Ars. He was a man of deep prayer who spent long hours in the Church and, on a number of occasions, had physical encounters with the devil. Whenever he was praised for his holiness and his special gifts, he always tried to detract from himself and focus people’s devotion on his favourite saint, the recently discovered martyr of the catacombs: St Philomena. He inspired his flock with his unsophisticated, accessible sermons. ‘It is all there, my children’, he once said pointing to the tabernacle, ‘What is Our Lord doing in the tabernacle? He is waiting for us’.

Today we pray that the priests of the twenty-first century will follow in the footsteps of the 'Saint Curé', seeking above all else the salvation and cure of souls. May their name – and with it their personal desires – disappear in their function. And, with this in mind, please pray especially for your own Curé - your parish priest.

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Friday, 3 August 2007

Patrona Britanniae

Here's title of Our Lady I haven't come across before. We all know about the Blessed Virgin as 'Patrona Bavariae' (Patroness of Bavaria - an ancient title) but not 'Patrona Britanniae' (Patroness of Britain). I found it in a mosaic in one of the new crypt chapels at the Divine Mercy shrine, Łagiewniki (a name which I'm still learning to pronounce) in the outskirts of Krakow. I think we should begin to use this title - perhaps someone should build a shrine to Our Lady, Patroness of Britain (but perhaps in a different style to the one below)?

I was surprised at how impressed I was at visiting Łagiewniki. As you can see from the above pictures, it comprises of a very modern basilica (which, in its own way, is remarkable and very spacious) as well as the old convent chapel, where St Faustina is buried. I've said before that the Divine Mercy devotion has never been a prominent feature in my spiritual life, but I purchased a few books about it when I was at the shrine and now understand the message of St Faustina a bit better. If you're in the Krakow area, I thoroughly recommend a visit.

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The Catholic Press

A few weeks ago James Kelly asked if he could interview me for The Catholic Times, partly to promote the Cardinals book and the diocesan archive (although many other issues are explored). It's printed in this week's edition - though it was rather unnerving to see a large picture of my face on the front page (I didn't think the item would be so prominent). I was amused that I was described as a 'film buff', a 'vocations director' (since I said that every priest is a vocations director) and also, for the first time in my life, as 'a very modern priest' (I hope in a positive sense!). Anyway, a warm welcome to any readers who have been directed here by the interview.

I've also got an article in Catholic Life (on the Italian hermit, San Pellegrino) - although they've misprinted my name as 'Fr Michael Schofield'!


The Last Acceptable Prejudice

In an age when political correctness is enforced by a bewildering list of new laws, it has become blatantly clear once again that anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice in this country. It seems absurd that same sex couples can have the same rights as married couples and that unmarried couples who have been together for over two years may soon be able to go through a sort of 'divorce' if they split up and yet Catholicism still remains an impediment to the Royal Succession.

Peter Philips, the Queen's oldest grandson and tenth in line to the throne, has announced his engagement to a Canadian Catholic called Autumn Kelly - not the most Catholic of baptismal names, perhaps, but Mrs Kelly has said that her daughter's proud to be Catholic and therefore unlikely to change her Faith. Hence Mr Philips (who has no royal title) may be required to renounce his right to the throne due to the 1701 Act of Succession.

Of course, Mr Philips is not the first modern royal to be affected by this law - Prince Michael of Kent renounced his right to succession on marrying the Catholic Marie-Christine Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz, as did two children of the Duke and Duchess of Kent: the Lord St Albans (when he married a Catholic, Sylvana Palma Tomaselli) and Lord Nicholas Windsor (after his 2001 conversion).

Some readers might think this a techinicality but it reminds us that Catholicism is the only religion explicitly discriminated against in UK law. Both the Cardinals of Westminster and St Andrews and Edinburgh have repeatedly criticised the lingering constitutional anti-Catholicism, and the convert MP John Gummer has said: 'it is inhuman in the 21st century for anyone to demand this'. Whether or not Gordon Brown agrees, time will tell.


Thursday, 2 August 2007

An Unusual Image of the English Martyrs

Continuing the series of paintings in the choir of Corpus Christi, Krakow, dating from 1624-32, here is what purports to be a most unusual depiction of the English Martyrs. According to the English guide book, the painting shows 'a group of Canons' saints murdered in England in 1572'. The Latin inscription below the picture also clearly links the group of martyrs to England: Milliadena Necat Sancti Gregis Anglia Christo/Non Alit Illa Lupus Induit Ipsa Lupum.

I don't know where 1572 came from - there seems to be no date on the painting or on the inscription. Perhaps the author of the guide book confused the English Martyrs with the group of priests and religious (including two Norbertine Canons) who suffered at Gorkum in the Netherlands in 1572. There were no English Martyrs in 1572.

As far as I know, no Canons Regular suffered for the Faith in England and Wales. Perhaps the seventeenth century canons of Krakow imagined the new breed of seminary priests in distant England to be canons regular and thus depicted them in canons' habits?

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Wednesday, 1 August 2007

British Saints in Krakow

It's amazing what you stumble across on your travels. My favourite church in Krakow was Corpus Christi (above), attached to a house of Canons Regular of the Lateran in the Jewish district. I was first struck by the baroque decoration, including a magnificent pulpit shaped as a ship:

As I walked around the church, guide book in hand, I discovered a huge painting of the martyrdom of St Thomas of Canterbury:

Hmmm, I thought, this is an unusual subject for a Polish church - especially given the painting's size and prominence. Looking more closely, St Thomas' followers are dressed as canons, and I remembered a painting I saw last year at Klosterneuburg in Austria (also a house of canons regular), depicting the saint of Canterbury as a canon:

The choir of Corpus Christi contains some charming seventeenth century paintings and statues of other saints who are claimed by the Canons Regular. Some are rather spurious, including a series of early Popes - such as St Eleutherius (2nd century), who may have sent missionaries to Britain, as requested by King St Lucius:

Then there was St Patrick, shown wearing a huge hat as he drove the snakes from Ireland:

It is unclear whether or not St Patrick was a monk of some sort, but it is likely that he lived in some sort of community of priests at Armagh. Likewise, in Klosterneuburg, he is included in the gallery of sainted canons.

Another Irishman included in the Krakow choirstalls is St Laurence O'Toole, the twelfth century Archbishop of Dublin, who introduced Austin Canons of Arrouaise into the diocese and wore the habit himself. Here he is shown calming a storm:

Less well-known, perhaps, is St John of Bridlington, a fourteenth century Austin canon who was one of the last Englishmen to be canonised (1401) before the Reformation (the last, in 1456, was St Osmund). Here is St John raising the dead to life:

There was one last group of English saints in the choirstalls, but as this is particularly unusual and exciting (at least for hagiologists or antiquarians!) it merits a separate post...

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