Wednesday, 28 May 2008

This is a photograph taken today of what was the Vicarage of Fr Hope Patten here in Walsingham. Many of you might remember it as the Sue Ryder on the way to Great Walsingham towards the Russian Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration. Sadly, it has been sold to a developer and it is being divided into the customary luxury apartments with prices starting from a quarter of a million.
In this Vicarage Fr Hope Patten must have planned the re founding of the Shrine, but it was also this Vicarage which he opened up for the orphans from St Hilary in Cornwall when they were seeking a home.
In my last blog, I wondered when Fr Patten will be considered as one of the Anglican Beati (there is a collect approved for use in the diocese of Norwich some years back). Yesterday, by the grace of God, I came across a wonderful story regarding Hope Patten, a story which is breaking and am sure other people will write about better than me.
As my family and I were walking back from Great Walsingham we met Mr Syed the husband of the Walsingham hard working archivist. He said that he was on his way to the old vicarage to pave the way for his wife who was following with an important guest. Further down the road we met Mrs Syed who quickly introduced me to her guest. His name is Dick and he is from Cornwall. He was one of the boys to be taken in by Fr Patten. Dick served Fr Patten’s Mass and enjoyed his time in Walsingham. He left Walsingham 60 years ago and never returned. Some months ago his daughter was doing some research about this orphanage in Walsingham. She came in touch with Mrs Syed and arranged for this visit. Dick’s wife and family never heard of the Shrine but I could see how pleasantly surprised they were. I am sure this will not be their only visit. Dick was enjoying his visit to the place of his childhood and spoke so fondly of Fr Patten. At one stage Dick’s wife turned to me and said that her husband considers Fr Patten as though he was his father so good he was to him and the other orphans.I share this story because it is a wonderful one that shows an aspect of Fr Patten that not all may appreciate. This story speaks also to Anglo-Catholic priests and laity, showing us that the business of daily life does not forbid us to open up our homes and hearts to those who are looking for an inn, and walk with them the extra mile or so, that even 60 years on elicited a tear of joy from Dick and his family.

No comments: