Pope Leo XIII – England, Our Lady’s Dowry

On the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, 1893, the bishops of England and Wales, in response to the wishes of the Pope, consecrated England to the Mother of God and St Peter in the Oratory Church in London. The action was a direct result of an audience with Pope Leo XIII in which he recalled that this country had long been known as Our Lady’s Dowry, thereby giving papal approval to what had been a hallowed tradition and instigating an act not without significance for our own time.
The Pope spoke of “the ‘wonderful filial love which burnt within the hearts of your forefathers towards the get Mother of God… to whose service they consecrated themselves with such abundant proofs of devotion, that the Kingdom itself acquired the singular title of Mary’s Dowry.” He also recalled the special devotion paid to St Peter as the principal patron of the country. He desired that this devotion to these “two patrons of the faith” and ‘guardians of all virtue” be revived and a new consecration made by a solemn rite. He foresaw it bringing great benefit on the people at that time which marked a new beginning for the Catholic Faith in England.

Source – “England’s Title: Our Lady’s Dowry: its history and meaning” by Rev TB Bridgett. CSS.R, collected in “The Church of Old England” vol. lll, C.T.S., London 1894.

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