Welcome to the site for News, Events and up-to-date Information on Traditional Catholicism in the West Midlands (UK). I am one of the Diocesan Representatives for the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales for the Promotion of the Traditional Roman Rite.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

St Frideswide at West Bromwich

I gave Fr Chris a bit of a shock last night by announcing I'd set up the Missal for this obscure Birmingham (or rather Oxford) Saint rather than St Peter of Alacantara, which he'd prepared for!

In truth, I had set the Missal up for the latter, having glanced briefly at my LMS wall calendar on the way out the house, with all the General Calendar dates. I then happened to check 1 min before Mass started, in the LMS Ordo on my iPhone, and noticed a special local Feast. I automatically thought this took precedence, although in actual fact they're both 3rd Class Feasts for October 19. So I rushed up to the Missal on the Altar and made some amendments to the markers! (And thanked God St Frideswide wasn't a Martyr or I'd have to change the white vestments to red!)

All quite funny really; If I'd been prepared I could have asked Fr Chris which of the two Feasts he'd prefer to observe. In any event, he took it in good humour and even suggested in his humility that he didn't have enough oil in his lamp, in allusion to the day's Gospel Parable Jesus taught about the ten virgins awaiting Christ the Bridegroom!

It was St Frideswide, herself like a wise virgin with extra oil in her lamp, who founded a convent in the 8th Century. I am unsure whether her Feast remains in the new Calendar (historical doubt and all that). Of particular interest is the idea that her 'double monastery' was the foundation of Oxford University. It therefore seems preposterous that women were ever forbidden from following an education there. It seems gloriously romantic to me that it was the institutional Church which preserved and founded rigorous academic and scientific study. Take note Mr Dawkins!

From the St Andrew's Daily Missal:
"St. Frideswide - or Fritheswith - was born about 665 near Oxford, the daughter of noble parents. She founded a convent at the gates of Oxford - where Christ Church now stands. Aelfgar, prince of Mercia, was determined to marry her for her beauty and her inheritance, but she fled to the forests to avoid his attentions. When she returned to Oxford, Aelfgar beseiged the city, but just at the point of victory he was struck blind.

"For many years afterwards, she presided as Abbess of a double monastery of both monks and nuns. Some say that the origins of the University of Oxford lie in the school she established there. She was well known in her lifetime for effecting miraculous cures, and a well at Binsey - where she latterly retired as a hermitess - became known as a place of healing. She died at Binsey on 19th October 735, and was buried in her monastery."

More Photos can be found at my Flickr page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

St Frideswide is in the OF calendar as an optional memoria, compulsory however in the City of Oxford

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