The lost shrine of Liskeard

 It has been described as a 'little heaven'. Set in a peaceful valley, reached by a high-hedged path (still called the Mass Path) that winds down a Cornish hillside, are the remains of a chapel, a baptistry and a stream. In pre-Reformation times, this was a thriving shrine to our Lady that attracted many visitors. Part of the ruins are built into a secluded farmhouse on the edge of what was once a royal deer park. This month, a group was been formed, calling for prayers to re-instate this beautiful Marian shrine at Liskeard in Cornwall. Organiser Claire Riche said: "On 8 October, the Pope is consecrating the world to Our Blessed Lady. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be in Rome for three days for the event. He has asked that there should be 'echo prayers' all around the world in as many shrines to Our Lady as possible. "At the New Dawn Conference at Walsingham in the first week of August, it was asked that everyone should take a moment to think of any shrine near them and, instead of waiting for someone else to arrange something, to see if they could do something themselves. That's how this idea came about." Claire said the shrine has already got the support of the Cornish Branch of the Ecumenical Society of the Virgin Mary. They have permission to organise pilgrimages there. She said that the present owner, though not Catholic or even Christian, has been very welcoming. The last pilgrimage took place in July. But, she said, he is now having to sell up and that is why the group feels prayers are needed for the future of the shrine. Claire continued: "The EBVM (Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Cornish Branch are very keen to see the shrine re-established on a national scale and they have an annual pilgrimage to there at the end of June or beginning of July each year. Two weeks before the 1999 EVBM pilgrimage, a new spring appeared, which was rather exciting. "I suppose if we are honest the culmination of our prayers would be for the Liskeard shrine to become like Walsingham, where a second New Dawn festival could be held each year, and the little town could become a thriving Christian centre. But we are leaving all that to Our Lady. At the moment we just pray that she will make her wishes known." Claire is currently sending out prayer request leaflets. If you would like one, or you would like to know more about the shrine, please e-mail her at:

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