A prayer in honour of the Virgin Mary has been recited and sung in the churches and chapels of Syon Abbey for more than 600 years. It is the unique daily office of the Bridgettine Sisters of Syon, the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, and never before heard outside their monastery.
Their special Daily Office of our Lady, known as The Syon Breviary, has now been translated from Latin and published in English for the first time. The Bridgettine Sisters of Syon are presently celebrating the anniversary of their foundation in 1415, by King Henry V, the hero of the Battle of Agincourt, who was immortalised by Shakespeare.
Sister Anne Smyth, the last Abbess of Syon, tells us: "Our royal charter shows that the king established our community to pray 'for our healthful estate while we live and, when we have departed from this life, for our soul ... and for the souls of all the faithful departed.' So it is particularly appropriate," at this time of year when we pray for the Holy Souls of those who have died, that we also pray for our distinguished founder."
Sister Anne is donating a copy of their lovely new Daily Office of Our Lady to the first winner of our free Reader Competition.
To enter, simply send your name and address and the answer to "What year was Syon Abbey founded?" to Adrian Wardle (Syon Breviary), Flete House, Ermington, Devon, PL21 9NZ (UK) or go to www.syonbreviary.co.uk and click on 'Contest' to fill in the entry form. You can also e-mail your answer, name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org and don't forget to give the name and location of this news service.
The first prize is a gilt-edged commemorative new edition of the beautiful Syon Breviary, worth £45 (US$ 70). The second prize is a voucher for a third off the cover price and the third prize is a voucher for 20% off the price. Closing date for entries is 30th November, 2015 so that your prize can be sent in time for Christmas.
Winners will be announced early in the new year or visit 'Contest' at www.syonbreviary.co.uk for a full list. Recipients may need to pay carriage costs and the books can also be sent to a friend with your free Christmas greetings card enclosed.
And what if you win? Think of it as gift from Mary, our mother, and let it bring your soul to God, her son.