Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
- Place of Worship
- St Edmund’s College Chapel
- A place of tangible and inspiring faith both for the students of St Edmund’s College and for all its visitors.
- Ware, Hertfordshire SG11 1DS
It immediately found a place in my heart.
There are many churches and chapels close to my heart and it is difficult to pick out one. But here goes! I recently visited again the chapel of St Edmund’s College, Ware, in Hertfordshire. I celebrated Mass there. It immediately found a place in my heart. It is a chapel that is full of prayer, and a prayer that reaches back to its construction in 1853. Well, actually, its prayer life, its inheritance of prayer, goes back much longer than that.
The chapel is at the heart of St Edmund’s College and the College has its origins in its first foundation in Douai, in France, in 1568. The purpose of the College was, of course, the education of Catholic laity and the preparation of men for the Catholic priesthood and for ministry in England, an activity forbidden by law at that time. The College moved from Douai to Ware in 1795, to a school which had already been established there in 1769. This, then, is the history of prayer of the present chapel: a prayer full of the courage and faith of so many people who have devoted themselves to Catholic service in this country, often at great cost. The chapel is beautiful, with that unique and profoundly spiritual beauty so characteristic of the work of its architect, Augustus Welby Pugin. It was consecrated by Cardinal Wiseman in 1853 and has witnessed many an ordination and important ecclesiastic gathering. To enter the chapel today is to catch something of this great and continuing tradition. It is indeed an eloquent chapel, a place of tangible and inspiring faith both for the present day students of St Edmund’s College, a Catholic Independent School and for all its visitors.