19 May 2010

The Great Lanherne Treasure

Reverend Mother (see the two last posts) passed out to us through the Turn the large relic of S Cuthbert Mayne. S Cuthbert was a West Country man (born near Barnstaple) who, in many ways, provides the link between the Catholic Renaissance of Queen Mary's reign, and the Recusant culture that followed the apostasy of Elizabeth Tudor. He got his education in Elizabeth's time at S John's College Oxford, which had been founded as a place of Catholic renewal in the previous reign. Although outwardly conforming to the new regime, S John's, even more than the rest of Oxford, long remained secretly devoted to the old Faith, which was kept alive and vigorously taught there (another son of this college was to be William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, martyred by the Puritans in the 1640s). Mayne learned the Faith at S John's and then went to the new College at Douai for his priestly formation. He returned to England and ministered in the South West; eventually he was captured and after the customary torture hanged, drawn and quartered at Launceston (then the 'capital' of Cornwall) in 1577.

His head was exposed on a pike at Wadebridge, not far from Lanherne, and rescued from there by one of the Arundells. The crown of the skull is kept in the Sisters' choir of the Chapel at Lanherne, a light constantly burning before it. This relic we venerated and were blessed with; and then we passed it back through the Turn! Mother also very graciously sent us Miraculous Medals.

The Tridentine Mass which S Cuthbert brought to England - he was the Protomartyr of the Seminaries - is still celebrated, honoured and loved at Lanherne. I pray that the sundered traditions of English Catholicism may, by his intercession, and by the prayers of the Sisters of the Immaculate at Lanherne, be reunited. This, surely, is what the Ordinariate scheme is all about?


Joshua said...

Ah! The relic!

Here in the antipodean Launceston, the late Dean Lloyd kept a relic of St Cuthbert in the safe for decades; more recently, Dean Southerwood had a reliquary made for it, installed under the new marble forward altar - but some time after the relic was enshrined, a person or person unknown stole it, and it has not been recovered.

Furta sacra...

motuproprio said...

This entry on the blog of His Hermeneuticalness chimes in very topically.

Joshua said...

I once ran up a litany in honour of St Cuthbert (who really ought be patron of my hometown here in Tasmania, as well as its namesake in Cornwall) - see my blog if you want it; here are the invocations, which tell the tale of his glorious course:

Saint Cuthbert Mayne, pray for us.
Who wast of mild nature and sweet behaviour, pray for us.
Who didst repent of the trappings of false religion, pray for us.
Who didst at length embrace the True Faith, pray for us.
Who didst flee abroad to be priested, pray for us.
Who didst study for the priesthood at Douai, pray for us.
Who wast desirous as a priest to honour God, pray for us.
Who wast desirous to offer reparation for sin, pray for us.
Who wast inflamed with zeal to save souls, pray for us.
Who wast sent in secret to England, pray for us.
Who didst labour in Cornwall, enduring danger and peril, pray for us.
Who didst reconcile so many to the Church, pray for us.
Who wast seized by evil men, pray for us.
Who wast cruelly imprisoned, pray for us.
Who wast wrongfully tried, pray for us.
Who wast unjustly convicted, pray for us.
Who didst refuse to swear the unlawful oath, pray for us.
Who wast condemned to death, pray for us.
Who didst pray so earnestly, pray for us.
Who wast illumined by a great light, pray for us.
Who wast hung, drawn, and quartered, pray for us.
Protomartyr of Launceston, pray for us.
Protomartyr of Douai, pray for us.
Protomartyr of Oxford, pray for us.
Protomartyr of the seminary priests, pray for us.
Of whose converts none ever recanted, pray for us.
Whose relics work miracles, pray for us.
Who dost reign with Christ for ever, pray for us.

Joshua said...

Fr H., of your exceeding charity, could you do these invocations into Latin? I've got the rest of the Litany in the old tongue, but haven't completed it with these...

Joshua said...

Note, by the way, that line (from an old history) "of whose converts none ever recanted" - several were condemned to perpetual imprisonment and perished at length after durance vile... may they pray for us.

Joshua said...

I seem to have gone on a bit - sorry!

Michael said...

Everyone in my class in 1952 was given a prayer card for Bl.Cuthbert Mayne to pray for his canonisation. Now one of the Forty Martyrs canonised and forgotten and rejected by the "Catholic" or Conciliar church in England. Without resorting to expletives, I have to assume that as far as the catholics in England and Wales are concerned the Martyrs gave up their lives to God in vain.
Just look at the celebration in honour of St Joan of Arc on the 9th May in Paris http://www.laportelatine.org/communication/videotheque/steJeanne100509/100509.php WHY do we not celebrate the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales who preserved the Faith for us?