News Archive

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Our Lady of York

Twenty-three years ago the statue of Our Lady of York was stolen from St Wilfrid's. The sad loss was reported in the Catholic Herald.

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The statue had a long history of popular devotion in Flanders before being brought to York after the closure of religious houses in the wake of the French Revolution. Fr Richard Vandepitte built a shrine for the statue in his parish at Market Harborough. When he moved to York he brought the image with him in the hope that York's place at the centre of the railway network would bring more devotees to the shrine. Permission for the move was given by the Oratorian Bishop of Nottingham, Bishop Bagshawe.

There is a reference to Our Lady of York in the Latin inscriptions in St Wilfrid's Church and evidence of real devotion in times past. If anyone knows any more about the history of this title of  Our Blessed Lady, or about the earlier history of the statue in Flanders, where the image was venerated under the title of Our Lady of Mercy or of the Ramparts - read about it here - we would love to know more. Please let Fr Richard know.