On the first Sunday of September pilgrims traditionally walk from Ryde to Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight.
In terms of pilgrimages it is short – only about three miles – but it recalls a similar pilgrimage in Victorian times when Catholics would walk with their parish priest to the medieval Cistercian ruins at Quarr.
En route they would pray the rosary in the hope that monastic life would one day return to Quarr. We can wonder how many really thought that their prayer would be answered; but answered it was within 30 years, when the Benedictines purchased the site and built an adjacent abbey.
Thirty-two pilgrims set out from Ryde on a recent Sunday.
The footpath to Quarr crosses the north transept of the old abbey church. At this point two poems on the abbey ruins were read by the poet and playwright, Edmund Matyjaszek. At the Benedictine abbey the group were given a talk by Fr Gregory, and to stress the ecumenical nature of today’s pilgrimage, prayers were led by the vicar of All Saints Anglican church, the Rev Jonathan Redvers-Harris.
The day concluded with Vespers and Benediction in the abbey.