Monday, July 13, 2009


I have been advised by a certain prelate, who shall remain nameless, that St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, is the place to visit - and now Rob, a mate of mine from W.A. (he's a fellow Tasmanian, actually), sends me a postcard of same...

He tells me he's been there a fortnight, and by now will be in Oxford (at the home of our semi-detached brethren, Pusey House), pursuing his academic researches into eighteenth century Anglicanism. (I have no trouble with a purely academic interest in Anglicanism as quaint history, just as studying Egyptology is of no danger so long as one realizes that the beast-headed deities so dignifiedly represented in ancient arts and hieroglyphic inscriptions are but fables and dust.)

Famously, Farnborough, to return to matters Catholic, is not just possessed of a splendid history - having been founded by the exiled Empress Eugénie to pray for her fallen royal house, that of the (in)famous Bonapartes, becoming the final resting place of her husband Napoleon III, of their son the Prince Imperial, who died fighting not against but for the British Empire, in a remote conflict against the Zulus, and finally of herself* - but is very much a living cloister, with beaut church and monastery, wherein, by their services and labours, much is being done "to foster a new liturgical revival". Rob reckons rightly that "You would love their bookshop!" Too right.

God bless, Rob, hope your visit to the Old Dart is a blessing.

[* In a nice touch, the 45th asteroid to be discovered, in 1857, was named Eugenia, after the Empress Eugenie, and in 1998 it was found to have a moon, which was named Petit-Prince, in allusion not just to the famous novel by de Saint-Exupéry, but to him who would have been Napoleon IV.]


Anonymous said...

Thanks Josh. Only two weeks left in the UK. Visited the Church of St Mary the Virgin last weekend and saw the pulpit Newman preached from whilst an Anglican.


Joshua said...

Great to hear from you, Rob - let me know when you're back and I'll interview you at length!