S T   C U T H B E R T ’ S  H O U S E Hermitage of the Diocese of Nottingham               

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April 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy Easter!  It is with particular joy and relief that I greet the Easter season this year.  Holy Week 2011 marked the arrival on my doorstep of a mini-digger, preparing to excavate the old and failing concrete slab at the back of the house, and to replace it with a paved terrace and driveway.  It was the beginning of a whole year of renovation and repair works – drains, windows, and (finally, after more than two years of negotiating a safe passage over the Crack of Doom every time I needed to refill the coal bucket) the subsidence in the utility room, The last skip was removed from outside the house earlier this week, the builders’ mugs (large and progressively chipped) consigned to the bottom of various flower pots, and an element of calm is restored.  Halleluia!  Christ is risen indeed.  Halleluia!

So, although it is commonly my practice to spend Holy Week of alternate years away from the parish, participating in the Easter liturgies with one of the various diverse communities that I have associated with previously, on this occasion I was very happy to find myself staying in situ, and looking forward to the quiet and extra time afforded to rediscover my solitude.  That was the plan …

A number of years ago I used to walk Student Cross.  This is a Holy Week pilgrimage which was started by students (hence the name) in 1948.  It has matured since that time and now welcomes pilgrims of all ages and backgrounds, gathering in various locations around the Midlands and South East on the weekend before Easter, and walking together in groups of 20-30 towards a celebration of the Easter liturgies in Walsingham in Norfolk. Each group of pilgrims (or Leg) carries a large wooden cross (hence the name) and pilgrims are joined en route by local supporters who also provide bed & breakfast, usually in church halls, although occasionally more luxurious accommodation is offered – even in people’s own homes.  Many (most?) pilgrims find the experience to be life-changing and lifelong friendships are often formed.  Ever since I used to walk regularly I have been able to mark the passage of Holy Week with recollections of where the various Legs will be at that point and what they will be up to.   So it was with some delight that I received an invitation, on the eve of Holy Week this year, to join Facebook Leg - an online community of previous walkers (many friends) who due to their various commitments are no longer able to undertake the geographical march, but nonetheless wish to share some of the spirit and ethos of the pilgrimage from the place in which they now find themselves.  We shared (virtual) early morning tea, late night G&T, songs, images and reflections along the way. And had the advantage of occasional snapshots of the Fens and Norfolk lowlands, and of the Walsingham liturgies from the regular walking pilgrims as they posted us their progress.  I was surprised at how redolent our little online community was of the spirit of the walking pilgrimage, and feel grateful and privileged to have been a part of it in this way. And for those who understand the gravity of these matters, I am also very proud to announce that I was the winner of the virtual Weasenham Mile 2012 in virtually no time at all!

To more practical matters.  The post office has announced an unprecedented hike in postal prices.  Unfortunately I will have to reflect these shortly in my own rates for postage, but I will honour the current rates for any orders placed before April 30th – so best get your orders in quickly!  Although I guess it is inevitable that the volume of cards people choose to send will reduce, especially around Christmas, I am hopeful that a rarer card will mean a quality card and optimistic that my designs will fit that bill.  I have just taken delivery of a consignment of new envelopes (135gsm) which add even more to the luxury feel – almost sugar coated – on selected designs.  I hope you enjoy them.

As usual St Cuthbert’s House will be participating in the Lincolnshire Art on the Map OPEN STUDIOS May 5th -13th this year.  This is a week when I particularly welcome visitors, so if you would like to drop in during that time, then weekdays are usually quieter and I will have more time to chat; maybe even coffee & cake if you are lucky.  The weekends also coincide with the local Churches Festival, so if you prefer churches to cake and conviviality, then that would be a great opportunity to visit some of the finest in the land.  

One day to avoid, possibly, would be Friday 11th as I am hopeful that I will be tutoring that day.  I have been working for the last two years with the students of a local academy, tutoring them on a 1:1 basis as needs dictate.  This is the perfect teaching job for a hermit, and the school has made me very welcome, dovetailing my input with their already exemplary intervention strategies to support their students.  It is a happy, local school and I am very grateful to be working there.  God’s providence (and the discernment of the Senior Leadership Team) is indubitably very good!

As a slight departure from my usual practice, I have included a number of links at the bottom of this letter, in case you are interested in finding out more about some of my other various activities. Being a hermit can get pretty busy at times.  I hope you enjoy following the links, and wish you every blessing and happiness this Eastertide.

Rachel M Denton  +

Hermit of the Diocese of Nottingham

I was visited over a year ago by an Italian photographer by name of Carlo Bevilacua, who is engaged in a project about hermits called INTO THE SILENCE. I have only just gotten around to putting some of them up on my website. They are available here: www.stcuthbertshouse.co.uk/bevilacquacompressed.htm.

Since Advent 2012, all the Roman Catholic parishes in England and Wales have been using a new liturgical translation.  This link experiments with a more inclusive version (unauthorised) of the peoples responses which also celebrates both Mother and Father in God’s nature. www.stcuthbertshouse.co.uk/expliturgy

More recently I was visited by Richard McIlroy from the Sunday Programme on Radio 4 which was broadcast in February 2012.  An audio file of the interview is available here: www.stcuthbertshouse.co.uk/R4Sunday/

Most recently I was privileged to be invited to provide the copy and illustrations for the six Lenten Sundays of the Sunday Bulletin published by Redemptorist Publications.  I have scanned these in here: www.stcuthbertshouse.co.uk/R&P/index_files/Page319.htm   For a plain text version please link here.