Hanging in our House Chapel is an icon of St David – a gift from the Dean & Chapter of the Cathedral, so our Pilgrimage there is long over due. The Icon is a replica of an icon by Sarah Crisp to be found in the newly restored Shrine of St David at the cathedral.
For our Prior, Fr Mark, the Pilgrimage was “a going back to his roots”. As a teenager he regularly walked ( we went by car) with other young people to St Davids. Twenty Years ago this month he was ordained Deacon there, having been on Retreat at St Non’s. You could say it was also about the community going back to its roots, we were visiting the site of a Celtic Monastery founded by St David, and all though we do not pray the hours up to our necks in water like St David insisted they did, we do pray the hours.
We to stayed with the Sisters of Mercy at St Non’s Retreat House and used the Chapel built on the site of St David’s birth for our devotions. Both St Non and St David are featured in the new Jesse Window being installed in St Mary’s Priory Church this month. The Window designer, Helen Whittaker describes St Non as “a Celtic sister of Beersheba”. The Altar stone at the chapel at St Non’s is a stone which St Non is reputed to have pressed on to relieve her of her labour pains.
En route we stopped to say our Offices and to recite the Gradual Psalms that the Jews would have used on their way to the Holy City of Jerusalem. On arrival we went to the Holy Well at St Non’s for prayer and sprinkling of Holy water.
We joined the nation (it was broadcast live on Radio 3) for Evensong at the Cathedral. The service included the first public singing of a newly commissioned work for the St David’s Festival:”To heaven’s doore” by Geraint Lewis.
So our Pligrimage to Wales’National Shrine has begun.