Sunday, March 4, 2012

Whit-Tuesday Procession

Whit-Tuesday Procession May 2008 in Luxembourg
Mother Margaret prayed for Our Lady to help her in any situation of need and placed all her institutions under her protection and care.  When times were tough financially she asked the sister to “put a light before Our Lady,” and soon a donation would come in answer to their prayers.  This practice never failed them.  Despite the belief of some of the Sisters that such devotional practices were childish, they indulged in them because of the practical results they yielded.  Although many locals including Protestant came to her prayer services, Mother Margaret’s devotions had their detractors among the local populace as well. On Whit-Tuesday, the Tuesday after Pentecost on which some Catholic countries hold a dancing procession in honor of local saints, Mother Margaret resolved to provide a holiday for the Catholic schools.  Mother Margaret arranged a procession of two hundred school children who “walked processionally up Park Street with banners flying, one of these being a banner of Our Blessed Lady.”  This procession was considered audacious and gave rise to many murmurs.  “Mother Margaret and her doll were spoken of in severe terms; and even good Dr. Hendren could not resist telling her that she was a very daring woman.”   Mother Margaret took it as a compliment and assumed everyone must be as pleased as she was to see Our Lady honored in such a festive way.  The Whit-Tuesday dancing procession is still held in eastern Luxembourg and parts of Belgium.  Despite Mother Margaret’s efforts it never did catch on in England.

Drane, Augusta Theodosia (Mother Frances Raphael), Life of Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan: Foundress of the English Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena of the Third Order of St. Dominic, Longmans, Green and Co., New York, New York, 1929, p. 152