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The original Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham was established in 1061 in Walsingham, England when, according to the text of the Pynson Ballad (c 1485), Richeldis de Faverches prayed that she might undertake some special work in honor of Our Lady. In answer to her prayer, the Virgin Mary led her in spirit to Nazareth, showed her the house where the Annunciation occurred, and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation.  She promised that “Whoever seeks my help there will not go away empty-handed.”


On September 8, 1941, Fr. Thomas Walsh, the first resident pastor of Saint Bede Catholic Church, was inspired by the Marian apparition in Walsingham and dedicated the chapel to Our Lady of Walsingham.  He commissioned a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham based upon the image on the ancient priory seal.  On February 1, 1942, in Williamsburg, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham was blessed.

Following the relocation of Saint Bede Catholic Church to its present location on Ironbound Road, the Shrine became the primary worship space for Catholic Campus Ministry at William & Mary, and in 2016, was formally renamed as The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.


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