Sunday 13 May 2012

Aylesford in the sun!

Yesterday at the Shrine with Pilgrims and Bishop Paul Hendricks

Basking in the May sunshine

Aylesford is a place of retreat and pilgrimage. People come here rain, hail or sunshine. The only time I have ever seen this place completely quiet is when we have had a big snowfall. It is of course more pleasant when the sun is shining and everyone seems to be happier then.
Last week we had Fr. Kevin Alban over from Rome and he led a day of reflection on Mary, the mother of Jesus. He specifically reflected on a traditional title that Carmelites are fond of, “Mary our sister”. He also led an enthusiastic group around Aylesford studying the art and history of this place. We are so privileged to live and work here as so many have done before us. When the first Carmelites arrived here from the Holy Land in 1242, they could not possibly have realised that nearly 800 years later their humble little home would turn out to be a major pilgrimage and retreat centre.
That brings me neatly back to Aylesford in the sun. At the weekend we had the Legion of Mary pilgrimage and it was nice to see the piazza full. Some repair work had been done on the flagstones over the winter and the grass was newly mown to make the place just right for our visitors. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes here but we all do it so that the many people who come here can experience the peace that seems to envelop this place. People find this peace whether they are walking alone on the rosary way or in the peace garden or whether they are part of a large crowd.
Why don’t you come to experience the peace?

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