London is full of surprises, indeed. I walked down the Nicoll road and discovered a building of more importance to London than Selfridges or Trocadero for an instance.
Just 100 yards from The Stay Club @ Willesden Junction is Church of Our Lady of Willesden. Unassuming and elegant, the church sits in prosaic surroundings, including Willesden County Court. The Church sign, facing onto the street, depicts Our Lady of Willesden with the two Saints who went on pilgrimage to her shrine: St Thomas More in the 16th century and St Josemaria Escriva, Opus Dei founder, in the 20th century.
Thomas Moore wrote ‘’Utopia’, one of the most important pieces of European literature in 1516.
In ‘’Utopia’’, humans have created an ideal society based on mutual understanding and everlasting peace on earth.
His book had inspired numerous European philosophers of left leaning persuasion, most notably Marx and Engels. It is exciting to think that Tommy Moore frequented the Church in Nicoll Road, just a stone throw from The Stay Club.
Another image is one of the first public images of St Josemaria in England. It was in this place that St Josemaria renewed the consecration of Opus Dei to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 15, 1958. Opus Dei doctrine emphasises the role of ordinary man’s activities , and do not have any churches , nuns or monks.
Four centuries earlier St Thomas More came here to pray frequently. His last visit was in July 1584, a month before his arrest, imprisonment and subsequent martyrdom. For many years after that the Shrine was silent, but Our Lady of Willesden’s, which has been designated as a National Shrine, is now once again welcoming pilgrims as the Marian Shrine of London.
Finally the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Willesden was entrusted to one of the families of the parish to take home. It will go from one family to another, spreading devotion .