The little house at Lanherne, tucked away in its magical Cornish valley between S Columb and the sea (see last post), is no longer the home of Arundells (a branch of which family does survive at Wardour Castle). Throughout the Penal period, it was a recusant house - it is said that at no time did the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar cease to be reserved and honoured there. But the Lanherne Arundells died out towards the end of the eighteenth century, and the House was then converted into a Carmel; occupied by a Carmelite community of English women who had been in Antwerp since 1619, and returned to their native land in 1794, during the disorders of the Revolutionary period.
But the twentieth century brought a decline in vocations, and the few remaining Carmelite sisters have joined another Carmel in the North of England. Their House is now occupied by the Sisters of the Immaculate: one of those young, vibrant communities which have sprung up during the new spring of the last and of this Pontificate. They have adopted the liturgical books of 1962, and found professores to teach them Liturgy and Latin. By the kindness of one of these, a priest who is dear friend of mine, we met Reverend Mother and Sister Vicar. Sitting our side of the double grill in the Parlour, we heard about the energy and devotion of this young community of thirteen, about their formation and charism. I felt particularly at home with them, since they are devoted to that great master of the spiritual life, S Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, and to his teaching about Consecration to Jesus through Mary (yes, he is the chappie who was so important to Venerable John Paul II and who provided that Pontiff's motto Totus tuus). The sisters have a Marian vow - that our Lady may do with them whatever she wills - to complement the three Religious vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience; and, said Mother, "We treat that as our first vow".
Pam and I and Fr X had tea our side of the grill, passed though the Turn beforehand by Mother. After tea, Mother very graciously - it was entirely her idea - suggested passing out to us, through the Turn, the greatest treasure of her House ... Continues.