2024 Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Hartley

  • 04.05.24
  • 12:00 PM
  • St Francis de Sales Church, Church Road, Hartley, Kent DA3 8DW
  • Takes place online and in person

You are invited to a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Hartley, within the rare 500-year-old thatched church of St Francis de Sales. on 4 May 2024 from 12pm.

Light refreshments will be served from 11.30am onwards, and the pilgrimage will include reflections, hymns and prayers to Our Lady, ending with Adoration before the Parish Mass at 5.30pm.  The pilgrimage is a wonderful way to participate in devotions honouring Our Blessed Lady during May. The day will also be live-streamed at: www.churchservices.tv.hartley


About the Shrine of Our Lady of Hartley

The parish owes its existence to Miss Beatrice Davis-Cooke, who was from an aristocratic LondonBeatrice Davies-Cooke family directly descended from the Plantagenets.  The Church was established in 1913 following her wish to open a Catholic church where none existed, thus answering the needs of Catholics in a rural area.

Beatrice bought one holding that contained a farmhouse and outbuildings including a thatched barn that was around 400 years old.  This was duly adapted to serve as an oratory and for many years clergy visited from London to celebrate Mass. It was later served by the Carmelites for many decades from 1937 onwards.

A shrine to Our Lady was created to house a contemporary copy of an ancient carving of Our Lady, the original of which is based in Flanders. Many miracles had been attributed to prayers made at this original statue, and it was not long after the replica had been installed at Hartley that reports began to emerge from parishioners to the effect that their prayers were also being answered.  

Miss Davies-Cooke's many society friends included the Italian-born second wife of Lord Cadogan. Lady Cadogan's accounts of developments at Hartley attracted Pope Benedict XV's attention, since he was greatly disturbed by the horrors of the Great War. He continued asking for updates as Hartley had become a place of safety for many European refugees during WWI. 

Impressed by the successful mission of the St Francis De Sales Oratory, Benedict XV granted the formal title of 'Our Lady of Hartley' to the replica statue, thereby encouraging continued prayer to Our Blessed Lady. He also attached a plenary indulgence which could be gained by visiting the shrine and praying for peace in Europe.

All are welcome to join the parishioners of St Francis de Sales on the first Saturday of May for this special afternoon of prayer and devotion.

Images from St Francis de Sales

Watch the BBC Article on Our Lady of Hartley