Pilgrimage to Pennant Melangell - 22/08/2013

On the 22nd of August, 2013, a small group of parishioners made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Melangell in Powys.

Our Venerable Mother Melangell was an Irish princess in the 6th century.  Having fled to avoid her father's plans of forced marriage, she settled in the Welsh countryside, and there lived a life of prayer.

During her prayers, a hare took refuge beneath her cloak while fleeing from its hunter, the prince Brochwel, who, upon hearing Melangell's story, was so impressed by her piety that he gave her land on which to build a church.  This she did, and formed a community of nuns.  The monastery became a place of prayer and solace for many and, after Melangell's repose, her shrine became a place of pilgrimage.  Many healing miracles were attributed to her prayers.  This devotion continued long after the Schism of the western church, right up until the Protestant reformation.

When many of the holy places were being destroyed at the hands of the reformers, St Melangell's relics were removed from the shrine and concealed in the wall of the church by pious people.  Here, they faded from memory until the 20th century, when they were rediscovered.  The shrine was rebuilt, the relics were restored to their place of honour, and once again a stream of pilgrims make their way to ask the prayers of St Melangell.

The hospitality that we received from the shrine guardian crowned the day, and there was a true sense of spiritual kinship among us.  Here are a few photographs from the day.