The Catholic Defender: Our Lady of Willingham
In 1061 the lady of the manor, Richerds de Faverches, had a series of visions of the Virgin Mary, who showed her the house in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel made his revelation of the forthcoming birth of Jesus.
Our Lady asked Richeldis to build a replica of the holy house here in Walsingham.
Our Lady is depicted as a simple woman, a mother, seated on the throne of wisdom. This is in the midst of the Church, represented by the two pillars that are symbolic of the gate of Heaven, with seven rings to signify the seven sacraments and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
It is believed that it was here that the Angel Gabriel promised Mary that she would give birth to a son, Jesus.
Richeldis was then asked in this vision by Mary to build an exact copy of this house in Walsingham. This is why Walsingham is often called the Nazareth of England.
Yes, the message of Walsingham is all about joy! The Pynson Ballad reminds us that the Virgin Mary wanted the Holy House to be built as a reminder of the joy she felt at the Annunciation when Christ became incarnate.
This is what she desires for us: the fullness of joy that only God can give.
Devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham is always centered on the Mystery of the Annunciation.
It was at the Annunciation that Our Lady accepted God's invitation to be the Mother of God, the Theotokos. She gave herself over to God's will and conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Pray, O holy mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed. O blessed Mary, mother of God, our Lady of Walsingham, intercede for us. Amen.