Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Finding St. Anne Line...

When I first decided to take private vows, my Spiritual Director advised me to adopt a patron saint, preferably one of the English martyrs. I had heard lots about St. Margaret Clitherow, but I couldn't find any sort of connection that made me want her as my patron, and so I started to look at St. Anne Line as a possible candidate.

The first thing I discovered was that there was very little known about her, other than brief accounts of her arrest, trial and her death at Tyburn. However, her feisty declaration, first at her trial and repeated on the scaffold, that she didn't repent of the "crime" of sheltering a Catholic priest but only regretted that she couldn't shelter more, really did grab my attention. I decided that Anne Line was the patron for me.

For a while, I knew very little else about my chosen saint. The internet, normally such a mine of information, yielded only three sources - one from the Catholic Encyclopaedia, one from Wikipedia and one on an American website with resources on the Faith for families. That was it.

A few years later, I got chatting to a friend of mine, Joanna Bogle, and St. Anne came up in the conversation. It transpired that Joanna had recently met a priest whose church was dedicated to the saint, and we decided to make a pilgrimage there. I've described in a previous post how we ended up going to visit a completely different church to the one we'd originally intended to visit before going on to our planned destination. That's what happens when you get two blondes in a car.

The two visits provided me with more valuable information about my chosen patron - much of which I used for my chapter about St. Anne in Joanna's book, English Catholic Heroines.

And now it seems that someone else has been interested in my saint. Martin Dodwell has written her biography, claiming that she was a muse for some of Shakespeare's work. Most appropriately, there is going to be a talk (and book signing) by Martin Dodwell held at the second of the two churches we visited - the church of St. Anne Line, South Woodford. Even more appropriately, the date of the talk is 2nd February - Candlemas - the 413th anniversary of St. Anne Line's arrest. The talk is at 3:30pm, followed by Benediction.

I am delighted to learn that the statue of St. Anne Line is no longer consigned to the presbytery garage (where it was being kept safe at the time of my pilgrimage.) Fr. Coveney reported to His Hermeneuticalness that the statue has been restored and moved inside the church in a place of honour, flanked by the framed account of her martyrdom and the famous painting of the Forty Martyrs, with votive candles in front. I can't wait to see it!

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