The Roman Catholic National Shrine is today found at the Slipper Chapel a mile south of Walsingham. In 1896 Charlotte Pearson Boyd purchased the 14th century Slipper Chapel, she was originally an Anglican but converted to Catholicism after she visited many of the Marian shrines of Europe. As a young girl Charlotte dedicated herself to do God’s work and restoration, she restored the former cow shed and barn to the Catholic Church in 1896. The chapel is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, who is the patron saint of pilgrims to the Holy Land. The first Mass since the Reformation was celebrated here in August 1934 and on 8th September 1938 the Shrine was re-consecrated by Bishop Youens of Northampton. The Slipper Chapel was the last and most important of the wayside chapels that pilgrims would stop at on the way to the Shrine at Walsingham and it takes its unusual name from the fact that pilgrims would remove their shoes here to walk the last mile to the Shrine barefoot. On 19th August 1934, Cardinal Bourne and Bishop Lawrence Youens led the Bishops of England and Wales, together with 10,000 pilgrims to the Slipper Chapel. At this pilgrimage, the Slipper Chapel was declared to be the National Shrine of Our Lady for Roman Catholics in England. Today the Slipper Chapel is found a mile south of Walsingham in Houghton St Giles, . Next to the Slipper Chapel is the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, built in 1938, and it is in here that pilgrims light candles and offer prayers for their intentions. In the Cloister Garden there is a Holy Water fountain, at the centre of which is a baptismal font, which originated in the church of Forncett St.Mary, near Norwich. It is from this fountain that pilgrims drink the water and fill their water bottles. There is also a permanent exhibition illustrating the history of the Shrine since 1061. Also within the cloister is the Mass Intentions Office, a Gift and Bookshop and a Tea room. The 14 oak crosses of the great Cross-carrying Pilgrimage of 1948 form a Way of the Cross in the Shrine grounds. There is a notice listing the places they were carried from and the distances covered. The main Catholic site in the village of Walsingham is the Church of the Annunciation, dedicated in 2007.
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