Sunday, 23 April 2017

Saint George

As 23 April is on a Sunday this year, Saint George's Day will be celebrated at Mass tomorrow instead. At the National Shrine of Saint Jude - a national shrine in England - we celebrate all the special saints of this Island. We have lit a candle in honour of Saint George today. But, what do we know about Saint George? 

Saint George (c. 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was born in Lydda, and was probably a soldier in the Roman army - he was later venerated as a Christian martyr. Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian. In hagiography, Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic (Western and Eastern Rites), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. He is immortalised in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.

Why is he England’s Patron Saint?
The earliest documented mention of St George in England comes from the venerable Bede (c. 673–735). He is also mentioned in ninth-century liturgy used at Durham Cathedral.  Early (c. 10th century) dedications of churches to St George are noted in England, for example at Fordingham, Dorset, at Thetford, Southwark, and Doncaster.  In 1222 the Synod of Oxford declared St George's Day a feast day in the kingdom of England. Edward III (1327–1377) put his Order of the Garter (founded c. 1348) under the banner of St George. This order is still the foremost order of knighthood in England, and St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle was built by Edward IV and Henry VII in honour of the order.

In his play Henry V, William Shakespeare famously invokes the Saint at Harfleur prior to the battle of Agincourt (1415): "Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'" At Agincourt many believed they saw him fighting on the English side.

St George's Day was a major feast and national holiday in England on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century. The Cross of St. George was flown in 1497 by John Cabot on his voyage to discover Newfoundland and later by Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1620 it was the flag that was flown by the Mayflower when the Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Happy Saint George's Day to all the friends of the National Shrine of Saint Jude! The image below comes from one of our older prayer cards celebrating this great Saint. See more, here, or here


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Photo of the Month - April 2017

Our photo of the month for April is this beautiful statue of Saint Jude. 

The statue is by Philip Lindsey Clark (1889–1977), and was made for the College Chapel at Saint Mary's, Llandeilo, Wales, which was run by the Carmelites. It was then moved to two more Carmelite homes: Allington Castle, and then for the last 20 years it was based in East Finchley. 

Philip Lindsey Clark was born in London. His father was the sculptor Robert Lindsey Clark.

He worked with his father at the Cheltenham School of Art from 1905 to 1910 and then from 1910 to 1914 studied at the City and Guilds School in Kennington. He had a most distinguished war record in the First World War, winning the DSO. At the end of the war he returned to Royal Academy Schools to continue his training and remained there from 1919 to 1921. From 1920 to 1952 he was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and from 1921 onwards at the Paris Salon. From 1930 his work became more and more of a religious nature and he became a Carmelite Tertiary. He eventually retired from London and lived in the West Country.

The Prior Provincial, Fr Antony Lester, O.Carm, and his Council, decided that on the closure of the house at East Finchley that the National Shrine of Saint Jude would be a good place to have this beautiful statue of Saint Jude. It is now situated in the Shrine Information Centre amongst the displays on the history of the Shrine for our visitors to admire! All welcome.

With thanks to Fr. Francis Kemsley, O.Carm


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Easter Greetings

We'd like to wish all the friends of Saint Jude a happy and holy Easter.

Our office will be closed from 5pm on Thursday 13 April 2017 and reopens on Tuesday 18 April 2017 at 9am.

However, our on-line shop ( continues to be operational and items will be sent out over the Easter period.

If you have any queries, please send them to

May God bless you, Our Lady have you in her keeping, and Saint Jude intercede for you.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Where there is Faith...

In the run up to Easter and the end of Lent, we want to share this very simple prayer:

Where there is Faith, there is Love:
Where there is Love, there is Peace:
Where there is Peace, there is God:
Where there is God, there is no need.

The simplest of prayers are often the best...


Monday, 10 April 2017

Can you donate your old coins?

People often have old foreign coins and banknotes tucked away somewhere in a drawer. If this is you - we are currently looking for a number of coins from the pre-Euro age and any old British coins/notes that are no longer in circulation:
  • Austrian Schilling
  • Belgian Francs
  • Deutsche Mark
  • Dutch Guilders
  • French Francs
  • German Marks
  • Greek Drachmas
  • Irish Pounds
  • Italian Lira
  • Luxembourg Francs
  • Maltese Lira
  • Portuguese Escudos
  • Spanish Pesetas
  • Slovenian Tolars
  • Old British coins/notes no longer in circulation
If you have any of these, please simply send your coins/notes to Carmelite Friars, P.O. Box 140, Kent, ME20 7SJ. Please make sure you have the correct postage on anything you send us. Or, alternatively, you can bring your old coins and notes to the Shrine. All those who send us some old coins/notes will receive a complimentary prayer card as a thank you, so please make sure you send it with your address.

When we convert the currency, the money will be used for the work of the Shrine and the Carmelites in Britain and abroad. 

Thank you.


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Novena for Easter: 8 - 16 April 2017

The following novena recently published in Carmelite News and from the National Shrine of Saint Jude is for nine days.

Our novena for Easter is below and can be prayed over the next nine days until 16 April 2017.

You can pray the novena in private, with your friends or family, or in a group:

Loving God,
by this Easter mystery you touch our lives 
with the healing power of your love.
You have given us the freedom
to be children of God.

May we who now celebrate your gift find joy in it for ever in heaven.

Grant this through
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Some of the beautiful roses at the Shrine of Saint Jude

Thursday, 6 April 2017

On-line shop highlights - 6

Our new on-line shop includes not only a number of religious gifts and souvenirs connected with Saint Jude, but there is so much more on offer too.

For the next few weeks, we're going to show our blog and Facebook friends some special items and features of our special shop.

This time, we wanted to show you a very useful feature: changing currency! 

On the top right corner of our on-line shop, currency can be changed to USD or EUR, rather than GBP - if you would rather pay in those currencies. 

The exchange rate is updated on a daily basis from the European Central Bank so is as up-to-date as it can be!

Have a look at our examples below:

Top left hand corner of our shop - shows it as British Pound

Click on that icon and choose USD or EUR