Saturday, 28 September 2019

ABERGAVENNY AND ST MICHAEL

St Michael the Archangel, whose feast is celebrated on 29th September, (Michaelmas) is the Patron Saint of the dying and also of grocers, policemen, soldiers, bankers, and of artists.  Abergavenny, the birthplace of St David Lewis, has an ancient connection to St Michael.
ST MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL (Photo by J D Smith)
An old Welsh legend tells the story of a prominent Abergavenny man who had committed three murders.  Racked with guilt, he undertook a penitential pilgrimage to Rome to seek forgiveness. Upon his return to Abergavenny, he climbed the rocky path to the top of Skirrid Fawr.  Here, while praying, the nobleman saw the Archangel Michael.  This experience moved him to erect on the site a chapel dedicated to St Michael.  Skirrid Fawr is also known as St Michael's Mount or the Holy Mountain.

Skirrid Fawr played an important part in the Catholic history of the Abergavenny area. For centuries, Catholics climbed the Holy Mountain on Good Friday and on St Michael's Feast to pray in the little chapel.  Even in the troubled times of the 16th and 17th centuries they defiantly carried on the practice of their faith.  John Arnold testified to Parliament that "hundreds of Papists meet on top of a high hill called St Michael's Mount where is frequent meetings eight or ten times in the year."  Arnold went on to say that Mass was said there and sometimes sermons were preached.
Skirrid Fawr or St Michael's Mount, Abergavenny
(Photo by J D Smith)
This was confirmed by another anti-Catholic witness who stated that he had seen "very great numbers of people at their devotions on the top of a high hill in Monmouthshire, called St Michael's Mount, where there is a ruinous chapel and a stone with crosses upon it, which he took to be an altar.  And he hath seen people with beads in their hands, kneeling toward the said stone, both within and without the said chapel.  Some Papists have affirmed in his presence that they have heard as good sermons preached there as ever thy heard in their lives."

Abergavenny born St David Lewis (1616-1679) laboured in the area for more than thirty years.  He served two terms as Rector of the Jesuit College at the Cwm and it is recorded that he said Mass at the house of Thomas Gunter in Cross Street, Abergavenny.  Thomas Gunter was the son of his sister, Mary Lewis and Thomas Gunter senior.  Fr Lewis also stayed at the home of his aunt, Lady Frances Morgan, at Llantarnam, and said Mass in the chapel there and conducted, weddings, christenings, and other  services for the local Catholics.  He is one of the priests thought to have led pilgrimages to St Michael's Mount and said Mass there in the, by this time, ruined chapel.  
St David Lewis, alias Charles Baker
(Photo by J D Smith)
The Catholic Church in Abergavenny is in possession of a very interesting historical document.  This document, dated 1676, reads "Pope Clement X grants a Plenary Indulgence to those who devoutly visit the Chapel of St Michael on the Skirrid Fawr on 29th September - Michaelmas Day.  Anyone wishing to gain the Indulgence is required, first to go to confession and Holy Communion, then, on the Holy Mountain itself, to pray for peace among Christian Princes, for the rooting out of heresies, and for the exaltation of Holy Mother Church.  Given at St Mary Major's, Rome, under the Seal of the Fisherman, on 20th June 1676 and valid for seven years."

This rescript of Pope Clement clearly shows the importance of this awesome local landmark in the turbulent Penal times.  What of the Skirrid today?  Now in the hands of the National Trust, Skirrid Fawr is a popular site with tourists, hikers and others.  It is still a revered holy site and this is attested to by the devout pilgrims who still wend their way up the hillside at Michaelmas in honour of the archangel Michael.

In 1886 Pope Leo XIII instructed that this prayer to St Michael should be prayed after Low Mass: 
"St Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O  prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down into hell Satan and all the wicked spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen."

In 1964 it was decided to remove the obligation to recite this prayer after Mass and in 1965 it came into effect. However, it remained a popular prayer for private use and continued to be used on various other occasions.  In 1994 its use was encourage by Pope John Paul II.  In 'Regina Caeli', 24th April 1994, He wrote: "Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world."  
Pope Saint John Paul II
That is excellent advice from a good and holy Pope who is now a Saint.  
St John Paul II, pray for us.
St David Lewis, pray for us.
St Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

LINK TO THIS POST:
ST MICHAEL'S MOUNT AND ST DAVID LEWIS (HERE)

Saturday, 24 August 2019

TOMORROW IS THE DAY!

Don't forget, tomorrow is the day!  The pilgrimage in honour of our patron, St David Lewis, will take place tomorrow, 25th August.
To learn more about St David Lewis, have a look at the official website of Friends of Saint David Lewis (link here).

Monday, 29 July 2019

ANOTHER DATE FOR YOUR DIARY!

John Kemble (link here) son of John Kemble and Anne Morgan, was born at Rhydicar Farm, St Weonards, Herefordshire in 1599.  He was ordained priest in 1625 and for 54 years he laboured for the persecuted Catholics of Monmouthshire and Herefordshire.  In 1678 Fr Kemble became another innocent victim of the sordid and fabricated Popish Plot (link here)  The 80 year old priest was arrested at Pembridge Castle and confined to Hereford Gaol.  He was tried for the treason of being a Catholic priest, found guilty  and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.
The execution of Fr John Kemble
(Photo J D Smith)
On 22nd August 1679 the gentle old priest was executed on Widemarsh Common. His nephew removed the Martyr's body to the church at Welsh Newton and buried him beside the churchyard cross.  
The grave of St John Kemble, Welsh Newton
(Photo J D Smith)

Fr John Kemble is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales (link here) canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.  There is an annual pilgrimage to the Saint's grave and this year's pilgrimage will take place on Sunday, 18th August 2019 at 3 pm at Welsh Newton.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

FOR YOUR DIARY!

St David Lewis, portrait in Llantarnam Abbey
 (Photo J D Smith)
Saint David Lewis, the last Welsh Martyr, was executed on 27th August 1679.  The site of his martyrdom is in the grounds of Porth Y Carne House, opposite the Catholic Church in Usk.
St David Lewis was martyred on or near 
this spot in 1679 (Photo J D Smith)
Every year, on the last Sunday of August, a pilgrimage in the Saint's honour (click heretakes place from the Catholic Church to his grave in the churchyard of St Mary's Priory Church.  
St Mary's Priory Church, Usk
(Photo J D Smith)
This year's Pilgrimage will take place on Sunday, 25th August, beginning at 3:00 p m at St Francis Xavier and St David Lewis Church, Porth Y Carne Street.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

ANOTHER FAITHFUL WELSH CATHOLIC

On 5th July 1589, four Catholic men were executed at Oxford.  They were Fr George Nichols, Fr Richard Yaxley, and laymen Thomas Belson and Humphrey Pritchard.

Bridge of Sighs, Oxford (J D Smith)
Humphrey Pritchard, sometimes known as Humphrey ap Richard, was born in Wales.  By 1589 Humphrey had been employed for about 12 years by a widow who owned the pub, The Catherine Wheel, in Oxford.  The Catherine Wheel was opposite the east end of St Mary Magdalen’s Church. Humphrey, as well as diligently preforming his duties as barman and servant, covertly aided and assisted Catholic priests who, by the simple fact of being Catholic priests, were hunted down by the authorities.  To be a Catholic priest and to say Mass was deemed by law to be High Treason and punishable by the gruesome penalty of being hung, drawn and quartered. To assist a priest was also punishable by death.
Plaque marking site of Martyrdom
(J D Smith)


Humphrey Pritchard was arrested at The Catherine Wheel and, accused of being a traitor because of his Catholic Faith, he was sent to Bridewell Prison, London. After being examined and tortured in London, Humphrey and his three companions were returned to Oxford where they were tried and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.  On 5th July 1589 the barbaric sentence was carried out at what is now the junction of Holywell Street and Longwall Street.  Humphrey Pritchard was the last of the four to be executed and as he mounted the scaffold he called out: “I call you all to witness, in the presence of God and His holy angels, that I am a Catholic and that I am condemned to die for the confession of the Catholic Faith. I die willingly.”
Plaque in University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford.  Humphrey Pritchard's  is the third name from the top of column three.  (J D Smith)
What became of the widow who owned The Catherine Wheel?  She, poor lady, was condemned to Perpetual Imprisonment! 

THIS STEADFAST AND FAITHFUL WELSHMAN, HUMPHREY PRITCHARD, WAS BEATIFIED ON 22nd NOVEMBER 1987 BY POPE JOHN PAUL II.

Monday, 22 July 2019

ON THIS DAY IN 1679

On this day, 22 July, in the year 1679, two Welsh Catholic Priests were hung, drawn and quartered at Gallows Field, Cardiff.  Brecon born secular priest, Fr John Lloyd and Jesuit Philip Evans were caught up in the evil plot spawned in the fetid mind of Titus Oates and executed for being Catholic priests and exercising their ministry in the country.  Both priests were canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

To learn more about St John Lloyd click here


To learn more about St Philip Evans click here

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

VENERABLE EDWARD MORGAN

Today, 23rd April, our thoughts turn to some famous people who are embedded in our culture. Today is the Feast of St George, Patron Saint of England.  It is also the birth date of William Shakespeare.  
St George, Patron Saint of England
However, there is another I wish to remember on this Blog today. A fellow countryman of our beloved St David Lewis, Edward Morgan was born in Flintshire, North Wales.   He studied at the English Colleges of Rome, Madrid and Valladolid.  In 1621 Edward Morgan was ordained priest at Salamanca.
Photo J D Smith
Using the alias of John Singleton, Fr Morgan returned to his homeland to work among his struggling Catholic brethren. In April 1629 he was imprisoned in Flintshire for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance.  Three years later, 1632, the priest was condemned in the Star Chamber to have his ears nailed to the pillory for accusing certain judges of treason.
Photo J D Smith
Immediately after, Fr Morgan was committed to the Fleet Prison in London.  He languished there for almost ten years.  On St George's Day, 23rd April 1642, at the Old Bailey, Fr Morgan was condemned to death for being a priest.  Soon after, on 26th April 1642, Welsh priest, Fr Edward Morgan,  was executed at Tyburn.  In 1886, he was declared Venerable by Pope Leo XIII. So, on this St George's Day, 23rd April 2019, let us remember another stalwart Welsh priest and martyr, Venerable Edward Morgan.
Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903)

Friday, 29 March 2019

SR CELSUS, LOYAL FRIEND OF ST DAVID LEWIS

I wish to dedicate this post to a loyal and devoted friend of St David Lewis, Sr M Celsus Taylor who has been called home to God. The following announcement is taken from the South Wales Argus: 

"SISTER M CELSUS TAYLOR
Sisters of St Joseph Sister M. Celsus Taylor Peacefully on 23rd March 2019 at St Joseph's Convent, Llantarnam Abbey, aged 96 years. Funeral Mass on Thursday, 4th April in Llantarnam Abbey Chapel at 10am followed by interment at the Abbey Cemetery. Family flowers only. Online messages of condolence may be left at www.ptsfunerals.co.uk. Further enquiries to Phillip Tom and Sons, Pontymister. Tel: 615005"

Llantarnam Abbey
Mary Taylor was born in County Kerry, Ireland, on 13th August 1922.  As a young girl she travelled to Wales to join the Sisters of St Joseph at Llantarnam Abbey. She was given the name of Sister Mary Celsus.  Sr Celsus trained as a teacher and taught in various places throughout the UK, including Our Lady of the Angels School in Cwmbran.

After retirement, Sr Celsus again found herself back at Llantarnam Abbey.  During this time Sr Mary of Lourdes was Parish Sister at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Old Cwmbran.  Sr Mary was an excellent and well respected Parish Sister but she was getting on in years and Sr Celsus became her assistant.  Eventually, Sr Celsus took over from Sr Mary and she was welcomed as the Parish Sister.  What a Parish Sister she was!

Sr Celsus immersed herself into Parish life and, working closely with then Parish Priest, Canon F O'Donnell, she worked tirelessly for the people.  Nothing was too much trouble for her and her kindness and compassion quickly endeared her to all at Our Lady's.

Sr Celsus had a strong devotion to local Martyr, St David Lewis.  Fr David Lewis had often stayed at Llantarnam Abbey with his relatives, the Morgans. He had been staying there when the poison of the fabricated Oats Plot swept the country.  In the hope of saving his relatives trouble, Fr Lewis moved into a rented cottage next to the Blacksmith's Shop on the other side of the Road to the Abbey (opposite the Church of St Michael and All Angels).  It was here that Fr Lewis was arrested on Sunday, 17th November 1678.  After almost a year of imprisonment, on 29th  August 1679, the good priest was executed at Usk for being a Catholic priest and saying Mass.
The Plaque which was placed through the initiative of Sr Celsus

Fr David Lewis was canonised in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.  Sr Celsus  felt that he should have more recognition in the area and so she decided to do  something about it.

The group, 'Friends of Saint David Lewis', was begun by Sr Celsus.  The group held its first meeting on Wednesday, 13th February 2008.  Sr Celsus did much to spread devotion to St David Lewis and to make him better known and appreciated. Through her initiative,  the Cwmbran Historical Society placed a commemorative plaque at the site of the Saint's arrest.  Sr Celsus was also responsible for organising days dedicated to St David Lewis.  These events were held at  Llantarnam Abbey with Mass by a visiting priest and guest speakers with knowledge of the Saint's life and times.
Sr Celsus and Fr John Meredith at the Blessing of the Plaque
Sr Celsus Taylor was a beautiful and faithful lady who did so much good for others and she will be sorely missed.  I like to think that St David Lewis was one of those waiting to welcome her home on 23rd March.  May her generous soul rest in the peace of Christ. 


Wednesday, 6 March 2019

HOGAN'S "THE REDEEMER IN DEATH"

Just to help us get into Lenten mode, I am posting this photo which my husband took several years ago.  I think many of you will know that it is John Hogan's masterpiece, "The Redeemer in Death" or  "The Dead Christ".  
JOHN HOGAN'S "REDEEMER IN DEATH" 
(Photo J D Smith)
Renowned Irish sculptor, John Hogan, executed three versions of this beautiful work in pure Carrara Marble.    The first, in 1829, is now located in St Therese's Church, Dublin.  The second was completed in 1833 and can be seen in St Finbarr's (South) Church, Cork.  The third version, and the one pictured here, was completed 1854.  It was purchased by Bishop M A Fleming and shipped across the Atlantic to St John's Newfoundland.  Today, it is one of the many artistic treasures to be seen and appreciated in the Basilica of St John the Baptist, St John's.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

ST DAVID'S DAY GREETINGS


Patron Saint of Wales 
(PHOTO J D SMITH)

St David, the Patron Saint of Wales, was born about 470.  His life was one of prayer and penance.  St David died on 1st March but the year of his death is uncertain.  He was buried in his own church and his shrine soon became one of the chief centres of pilgrimage in Britain.

It is reputed that as David lay dying he blessed his followers and said to them, "Brothers, be joyful and keep your faith and your religion and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me."

On this St David's Day 2019, let us indeed be joyful and keep the faith.  

A VERY HAPPY ST DAVID'S DAY TO ONE AND ALL.

Monday, 25 February 2019

ANOTHER GUNTER

Because of their relationship to and support of St David Lewis, the Gunters of Abergavenny feature prominently on this Blog Site. William Gunter was born in Raglan and I cannot say for certain if he was an ancestor of our Abergavenny Gunters. However, William Gunter is another Gunter who, like Thomas Gunter and his family, was willing to face hardship and even death for his Catholic Faith.
The home of Thomas Gunter, Abergavenny
On 29th September 1568 Cardinal William Allen set up the English Collage at Douai, France.  The college would eventually number 158 martyrs among its students.  The first was Cuthbert Mayne in 1577 and the last was Thomas Thwing in 1680.
Cardinal William Allen
William Gunter chose to travel to the English College to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in March 1587.  Within months of his ordination William was back in England working among the beleaguered Catholics.  

Life for Catholics in Elizabethan England was difficult, to say the least, but the failed invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588 made the situation far worse.  The authorities were determined to show any foolhardy Catholic the awful fate that would befall them should they attempt a plot or uprising.  To this end, new gallows were hastily erected in different locations around London. Many Catholics were arrested and imprisoned by the authorities.  Fr Gunter was among them.  The priest admitted that he had reconciled others to the Catholic Faith and declared that he would continue to do so if he could.  Thus Fr Gunter sealed his own fate and he was condemned to death without a trial by jury. 
The Tyburn Tree
On 28th August 1588, 21 priests were martyred.  Queen Elizabeth I had shown a modicum of mercy. Fr Gunter would not suffer the sentence of being hanged, drawn and quartered.  He would just be hanged!  It is said that on hearing this, the priest replied that it was fitting because he was not worthy to suffer as much as his brethren.  He was taken to Shoreditch where the sentence was carried out.

The sacrifice of William Gunter was recognised in 1986 when, on 10th November, Pope John Paul II issued a decree of martyrdom declaring Fr Gunter Venerable.  The next step to canonisation came on 22nd November 1987 when Pope John Paul II declared Fr William Gunter Blessed.

There you have it.  Another brave and faithful Gunter and another Welsh Martyr.  Blessed William Gunter, ora pro nobis. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

ST DAVID LEWIS AND LLANVIHANGEL COURT

This year marks the 339th anniversary of  the martyrdom of St David Lewis. Abergavenny born David Lewis was a Jesuit priest who risked life and limb ministering to the embattled Catholics of Monmouthshire and surrounding areas during the dreadful days of Penal Laws against Catholics.  It was against the law to be a Catholic and those who chose to stubbornly stay loyal to the "Old Faith" did so at great financial as well as  personal risk.  To be a Catholic Priest was considered High Treason and, if found guilty, the punishment was to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
 St David Lewis, Llantarnam Abbey (Photo J D Smith)
To be fair, in most places, the local authorities were usually hesitant in applying the laws and many turned a blind eye to the religious practises of their neighbours, friends, and even family members who still clung to their Catholic faith. In Wales Catholics were know by that beautiful name of "Plant Mair"  which means "Children of Mary".  How lovely is that? 

Monmouthshire Member of Parliament, John Arnold, was certainly not one of those tolerant men.  Indeed, he was a fanatical anti-Catholic and rabid priest hunter.  He was determined to root out Catholicism from every corner of the country.  

Although Arnold feigned friendship with Fr David Lewis, he played the main part in the downfall of the priest.  Unlike Arnold, Fr Lewis was a kind and gentle man who was greatly loved.  For his kindness to all, he was  know as "Tad y Tlodion", "Father of the poor".

On Sunday morning, 29th  November 1678, as Fr Lewis prepared to celebrate Mass, Arnold's lackeys arrested him. (For more on his arrest, click here) He was first taken to Abergavenny and then to Arnold's home, Llanvihangel Court, Llanvihangel Crucorney,  about 5 miles from Abergavenny.  Here David Lewis spent his first night in captivity before being taken to Monmouth Gaol where he was incarcerated.  
Llanvihangel Court (Photo J D Smith)
In 1679, on a cold and utterly miserable January day, The good priest was moved to Usk Gaol. Eventually, on 27th August 1679, Father David Lewis S J, was executed at Usk. It is a testimony to the high esteem in which he was held that he was given a respectful burial in the churchyard of the Anglican Priory of St Mary, Usk. David Lewis was canonised in October 1970 by Pope Paul VI. It is true that we give glory to God by honouring His saints and, even today, many people visit this saint's grave to pay homage to his courage and steadfast faith and to ask his prayers for their own needs.
The Saint's grave (Photo J D Smith)
If you are in the Abergavenny area, you might like to avail of the opportunity of visiting what was once John Arnold's home.  It is a private home but Llanvihangel Court is open to the public at certain times of the year.  This year, you can visit this historic Tudor house between the hours of 2:30 and 5:30 from 10th to 15th August.  Entrance fee includes a guided tour of the house and access to the beautiful gardens. 

When we visited several years ago there wasn't much said of John Arnold's nefarious deeds.  St David Lewis wasn't spoken of at all. As I said, it is a few years since we visited and it might be different now. We did ask questions about St David Lewis and the night he spent there so perhaps he now gets a mention.  You never know!

I am not touting for business for Llanvihangel Court but it is an awesome feeling, as well as a great privilege, to find yourself in a house where once a holy man, who gave his life for the Catholic faith and the Mass, was briefly lodged.  
The Becket Window, Christ Church, Oxford (Photo J D Smith)
"For wherever a saint has dwelt, wherever a martyr has given his blood for the blood of Christ, there is holy ground, and the sanctity shall not depart from it though armies trample over it, though sightseers come with guidebooks looking over it."  (T S Eliot, "Murder in the Cathedral")

Thursday, 2 August 2018

FR EDWARD POWELL, ANOTHER WELSH MARTYR


Edward Powell was a Catholic priest who was born in Wales around 1478.  Powell had a brilliant mind and was a Fellow of Oriel College Oxford in 1495. 
King Henry VIII
He became a court preacher and was held in high esteem by King Henry VIII.  It is said that he helped Henry write Assertio Septem Sacramentorum’, a ‘Defence of the Seven Sacraments,’ in reply to Luther’s attack on indulgences.  For this, Pope Leo X rewarded Henry with the title Fidei Defensor’, ‘Defender of the Faith’ in 1521.  (That’s another story!)  Then in 1523 Powell published his own work on this subject for which Oxford University wrote to the King calling Powell “the glory of the University”.

Fr Powell’s slide from favour began when he was one of the four theologians selected to defend the legality of the King’s marriage to Catherine of
Queen Catherine of Aragon
 Aragon.  Denouncing Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was another nail in his coffin and when he refused to take the oath of succession, he was deprived of his benefices and imprisoned in the Tower of London.  Found guilty of High Treason, Fr Powell received the usual sentence of hanging, drawing and quartering.  The sentence was carried out on 30 July 1540.  I suppose we could say King Henry was impartial, dispensing with all who opposed him, Catholic or Protestant!  Fr Powell, two other Catholics and three Protestants suffered together.  The six victims were dragged on hurdles from the Tower to Smithfield.  A Catholic and a Protestant shared each hurdle and Fr Powell’s companion was Robert Barnes, a Protestant divine.  The six suffered horrific deaths – the Catholics, considered traitors, were hanged drawn and quartered.  The Protestants, considered heretics, were burnt.  Fr Edward Powell was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 29th December 1886 (cultus confirmation).

The plaque in University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford (Photo J D Smith)

In the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, a plaque has been erected to remember both Catholics and Protestants who suffered death in the terrible times of religious strife in this country.  The Welsh scholar and priest, Fr Edward Powell, is the second name on the plaque.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

"PROTESTANTS" AND "ROMAN CATHOLICS"?


"Protestants" and "Roman Catholics", two terms in popular usage today, have been with us since the  sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  What exactly are their origins? 

Martin Luther
In 1529, princes sympathetic to Martin Luther at the Imperial Diet at Speyer, issued a "protest" against the German Emperor, Charles V and his Catholic allies. From this point on, Luther's adherents were called "Protestants". Eventually, the label was applied to all who adhered to the tenets of the Reformation. 

King James I
King James I of England died in 1625. Towards the end of his reign, he sought to arrange a Spanish Catholic marriage for his son Charles.  It was during the negotiations, in 1623, that Catholics in England first became known officially as "Roman Catholics".  This was at the insistence of the Spanish who were sensitive to the fact that the Church of England regarded itself as the "Catholic Church in England".

You might like to delve deeper but, briefly, that is it.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Sr Canisius, Sister of St Joseph of Annecy


The following notice was published in the South Wales Argus on 11th December 2017.

"Sisters of St Joseph Sister M Canisius Walsh Peacefully on 6th December Sister M Canisius Walsh at St Joseph's Convent, Llantarnam Abbey aged 93 years. Funeral Mass 11am Wednesday 13th December in Llantarnam Abbey Chapel. Burial afterwards in Abbey Cemetery. Family flowers only. Further enquiries to Phillip Tom and Sons, Pontymister. Tel: 615005."

For the canonisation of St David Lewis in 1970, Sr Canisius composed a beautiful hymn in his honour.  The hymn is still sung today whenever the faithful gather to remember the Abergavenny born Jesuit, Fr David Lewis. He was arrested at Llantarnam in November 1678 and was executed for his faith at Usk in August 1679.
Painting of St David Lewis which hangs in Llantarnam Abbey.
(photo by J Smith)
In memory of Sr Canisius, we post here the words of  her hymn, which is sung to the tune of 'Hyfrydol'.


"HYMN IN HONOUR OF SAINT DAVID LEWIS

Holy Martyr, David Lewis,
Monmouth County's glorious Saint.
Father of the Poor they named you,
When you lived and toiled in Gwent.
Priestly work was undertaken,
Danger-fraught from dawn till dusk.
Gladly still you served your people,
Till you died for them at Usk.

From your capture at Llantarnam,
Through your time in Monmouth Gaol,
Threats and tortures could not shake you,
For your faith would never fail.
Bravely then you faced the gallows,
Crudely fashioned for your death,
Further torment someone spared you,
Till you drew your latest breath.

Great and glorious David Lewis,
Staunch and steadfast in the strife,
Bless your people here in Monmouth,
Those for whom you gave your life.
Help us to be strong, courageous,
Loyal to our loving God,
To Him then will glory flourish,
In the places you have trod."

Rest in peace Sr Canisius.
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