Thursday, 29 March 2007

Aylesford Chapels & Shrines

We spent most of our time in the Cloister Chapel. This is the smallest chapel, and it gave our retreat an air of intimacy, which helped to set the mood. Maybe it's the Carmelite fashion, but I feel that the chapel could benefit from a little decoration... although this is my favourite chapel, especially if I come down to Aylesford on my own, I think it is a little spartan... even (dare I say it?) a little Protestant!

At the back of the chapel, facing the altar, there is this altar with a statue of the Infant of Prague... see what I mean about "spartan"?

...and in a small niche on the right, there is this statue of St. Jude.

Above is a photo of the main shrine area... they put out the benches for major events, and, I think, for most of the summer months. The statue under the arch is Our Lady of the Assumption.

After the Cloister Chapel, I think my next favourite is the Relic Chapel, which is to the immediate left of the main shrine. They have some bit of St. Simon Stock (I think) in the reliquary which is designed to represent all the little hermit caves on Mount Carmel...

Also in this chapel, they have a shrine to all the Carmelite Saints and Beati (the blesseds are depicted with only a partial halo, while the full-on saints get proper ones!!)

The English Martyrs have a side-chapel... the names are on plaques either side of the altar, and the Blessed Sacrament is reserved here.

There are other chapels, such as the one to St. Anne (where you can light candles, but not sit down) and one to St. Joseph. The Choir Chapel is where the Friars Community pray the Office and have daily Mass... it is also a little on the spartan side, so I didn't bother taking a photo of the inside...

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