Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From the Dowry of Mary to the Stripping of the Altars

Five hardy souls met last Wednesday evening (temperature outside was -6 degrees and falling!) to discuss the final chapters of Part I of The Stripping of the Altars. In these chapters, Eamon Duffy portrays in great detail, the pervading faith of the English people. England at that time was referred to as "Mary's Dowry" which reflected the great devotion given to the Virgin throughout England in the middle ages.

Our discussion concentrated on the numerous prayers, rubrics, rituals, and charms used by everyone in their daily lives. Duffy portrays this as an all encompassing practice of a faith that permeated every facet of the everyday life of the people. Then, we asked ourselves with a faith so deeply held, so all pervading, how was it all lost in a matter of two generations? How was England transformed from a vibrant Catholic nation into a Protestant country in such a short period of time? Hopefully, we will find the answers to those questions when next we read Part II of The Stripping of the Altars.

Finishing Eamon Duffy's masterful work will be a wonderful way to end our year of reading and give us a good start for a new year of reading the great literary works of our faith. I look forward to sharing this next year of reading with you. We are truly blessed.

May all of you have a blessed Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year,
Misfit Buzz

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