Our final pilgrimage site doesn’t follow a traditional trail. But it has special value for Missio, especially during the Year of St Joseph, because of its connection with our partners – the Mill Hill Missionaries.
England’s only National Shrine to St Joseph is located at Farnborough Abbey. But its story starts in 1866 at Mill Hill near London, where a young priest set up a Missionary Society under the patronage of St Joseph. The priest was Herbert Vaughan, the future Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.
When Vaughan was fundraising to establish the St Joseph Society, he received a donation from the French Empress, Eugénie. The Empress had been exiled to England following the Franco-Prussian War (1870). Some years later, in 1881, she founded St Michael’s Abbey in Farnborough.
Today, the Shrine to St Joseph at Mill Hill is gone. In 2006, the lands and former college were sold. But the Abbot of Farnborough Abbey agreed to receive the Mill Hill Shrine’s statue and altars; a fitting relocation, given Empress Eugenie’s charitable act of helping establish St Joseph’s Missionary Society.
Today the Shrine of St Joseph at St Michael’s Abbey receives a steady flow of pilgrims throughout the year. It is possible for individuals to come to pray at the shrine, and for groups to make pilgrimage.
You can find more details on the Abbey website.
Words adapted from an article by K.V. Turley, for the National Catholic Register
Share their journey
Missio and the Mill Hill Missionaries support world mission, providing missionaries with the spiritual and material support they need to enable local people to build and sustain their own faith communities. Here, Fr Kevin Hughes MHM speaks powerfully about mission and his own experiences as a missionary. As you walk, please hold the Mill Hill Missionaries in your heart and prayers. You can read more about Mill Hill here>>
Pilgrim walks are primarily a journey of prayer and there is no obligation to raise money as you walk. However, every penny and pound you share with Missio furthers our mission to share God’s love around the world. If you would like to fundraise during your walk, thank you so much! The easiest way is to set up a JustGiving page, or contact us for further help.