Thursday, 8 May 2008

Our Lady of Greatness

All around the globe are havens of peace and joy to which millions flock each year – shrines dedicated to Our Lady the Mother of God. Many of these shrines are so tied with the history of a local area that they become known after the place name, famous examples surely are Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Walsingham. Some are more famous than others. Some are international; others national and others still local shrines.

Here in Sevenoaks we had a local shrine complete with Holy Well. It was known as Our Lady of Greatness taking its name from the area. It was situated near the pilgrims’ way towards Canterbury and very near the Hospital of Saint John the Baptist, also dissolved by that most cheerful of Monarchs, Henry VIII.

The area where the Spring of Our Lady was is still there, however so far we did not get access to it. Below is a photograph from a 1910 Map of the area.

Above is the photograph of Our Lady of Greatness in the place of honour for her feast day. Mass in her honour was celebrated at the usual time of 9.30am. I have just come back from Rosary at noon which started with the Regina Coeli and ended with the sung Salve and the Prayer to our Lady of Greatness which is attached below.

Later on we have Office of Readings, Vespers and Litany of the BVM and at 7.30pm we have a talk about the history of the Our Lady’s Spring and an abridged version of the Akathist Hymn in honour of Our Lady. I shall keep you posted.

Our Lady has already been answering our prayers. A member of the congregation had to go for some results at hospital today and I have just found a message from him saying that he is literally just out from the hospital and that all is well. Another candle to Our Lady of Greatness!
Prayer to Our Lady of Greatness
Blessed Mary, you have been blessed and favoured by God.
You became not only the Mother of Jesus, but ours as well.
We come to you today as your loving children.
Watch over us and take care of us,
as you did with all our forbears
who venerated you here in Sevenoaks.
As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms,
so take us in your arms.
Be a mother ready at every moment to help us.
Intercede for us, dear Mother,
in obtaining pardon for our sins,
love for Jesus,
and the grace always to call upon you,
Our Lady of Greatness.

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