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The Dowry Of Mary . . . Many Catholics Can Share In The Upcoming Rededication

January 22, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

In the centuries before the Reformation, England was regarded as the Dowry or “special portion” of our Lady — that is, the country was particularly noted for its Marian devotion. This came at least in part from the act of King Richard II (who reigned from 1377-1399) in offering the country to her in the fourteenth century.
The famous Wilton Diptych, a small painted portable altarpiece, depicts him kneeling before our Lady, the Christ Child and accompanying angels, and offering his kingdom as a “dos” or dowry to the Blessed Virgin, and thus entrusting it to her protection.
It could be said, though, that the idea of England as the Dowry of Mary extends beyond the physical nature of the country, and also applies to believers within it — but since this dedication is something that was clearly meant to be ongoing, then it continues today, which means that the descendants of those people who were alive then also share in the blessings of this dedication.
But the interesting point is that those descendants didn’t just stay in England — many of them emigrated and went to places such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. Therefore, in a certain sense, the descendants of those people, who are now living overseas, could also be said to share in this dedication.
Be that as it may, the whole Dowry principle has suddenly become more much relevant given the fact that England will be officially rededicated as the Dowry of Mary this spring. The Rededication program has been launched by the bishops of England and Wales and will culminate in a rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
As a lead-up to this, over the past two years the Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham from the reanimated ancient shrine has been visiting every Catholic cathedral in England with a mission to pray for the re-evangelization and conversion of the country.
Not only will there be an official rededication but in addition, Catholics in England are being invited to renew their own personal consecration to our Lord and our Lady through parish communal acts of preparation for Consecration to Jesus through Mary, along with pledges to commit to regular Confession, the praying of the angelus, the rosary and the invocation of the saints and martyrs of England, as ongoing prayers for the nation and the entire British Isles.
This rededication will be done officially in Westminster Cathedral in London, Walsingham, all the other cathedrals, and also in as many parishes and homes as possible. From February 21, 2020, all Catholics, and anybody else who wants to join in, will be invited to begin a personal 33-day consecration to Jesus through Mary following the method of St. Louis de Montfort, and this will finish on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.
Information about the Dowry of Mary Rededication can be seen at: http://dowrytour.org.uk/
But although the rededication is officially limited to England, in reality, in line with what was said above, anyone who has a link of some sort through ancestry, etc., with England, and who wants to join in can do so.
And this rededication will be more than just another religious ceremony since it is surely the case that God and our Lady will take such an official act very seriously — and if enough people join in it could have a very big spiritual impact, especially as there are indications from several saints that England could well have a big role to play in the Church in the future, and that, in a sense, the idea of the country being the Dowry of Mary is something that still has to bear fruit.
The fact is that England was cruelly wrenched from its ancient Catholic faith by the actions of Henry VIII and his followers at the time of the Reformation, and it has really not yet fulfilled its Catholic destiny.
The results of this defection of England were huge in terms of their impact on the world, since it meant that what would eventually become the United States developed as a Protestant rather than a Catholic country — which is what would have happened if the faith in England hadn’t been effectively destroyed. Its embrace of Protestantism tipped the balance in favor of the new doctrines and ensured that they survived on the continent too.
And of course, that fact that our Lady appeared at Guadalupe in Mexico in 1531, an event which led to the mass conversion of the Aztecs to Catholicism, was an indication that the Blessed Virgin was effectively claiming the New World for the Church — which would have been the case for both North and South America if the Reformation hadn’t taken hold in England.
(The above ideas are based on the writings of the late Catholic historian Warren H. Carroll.)
Now, returning to the role of Catholicism in the future in England, we have some indications of this from two nineteenth-century saints.
The first is the French saint, St. John Vianney, the Curé d’Ars, who was visited by Archbishop William Ullathorne of Birmingham in May 1854. The saint told the archbishop, in a firm and confident voice, “as though he were making an act of faith,” that he believed that the Church in England would recover its ancient splendor.
The second saint is Dominic Savio, the protege of St. John Bosco. Toward the end of 1856 he asked Don Bosco to pass on a message to the reigning Pope, Pius IX, saying that, “he should not lessen his special care for England. God is preparing a great triumph for the Church in that country.”
Dominic explained to Don Bosco why this was the case: “I was making my thanksgiving after Holy Communion one day [when] I seemed to be in a wide plain. There was a great deal of mist, and people were groping about as though they had lost their way. I heard a voice say: ‘This is England’.”
He then went on to explain how he saw another figure wearing pontifical robes coming toward him. He was holding a huge, flaming torch in his hand, and wherever he passed the mist disappeared. Soon it was as clear as midday.
Then Dominic heard the voice again: “This torch is the Catholic faith which is to illumine England.”
(From Schoolboy Saint, by John Saxton, SDB, Catholic Truth Society, 1972, pp. 24-25).

Close Ties

These two incidents point toward a great resurgence of the faith in England at some time in the future, and it is surely not fanciful to link this with the fact that the country is the Dowry of Mary.
A future revival of the faith in Britain could also have profound implications for not just England or English-speaking countries, but the whole world, since Britain, despite its present deplorable spiritual and cultural state, is still very influential, with many countries continuing to look to her for inspiration and new ideas.
In any event, the more people that join in the Rededication program the better — and this is particularly the case with America, given the close historical, cultural, and kinship ties it has with England.
Let us hope and pray that this rededication will help to undo the harmful effects of the Reformation and lead to a new spirit in the English-speaking world.

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(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also written two time-travel/adventure books for young people, and the third in the series is due to be published later this year — details can be seen at: http://glaston-chronicles.co.uk.)

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