The blessing of a Jesuit icon

December 15, 2023

On Sunday 3rd December at Farm St Church, Mayfair, an icon of St Claude La Colombière SJ was installed and blessed

Dr Irina Bradley at the icons exhibition

The icon has been created by Dr Irina Bradley, Chief Iconographer at the Prince’s Foundation. Dr Bradley previously exhibited a selection of her icons at Farm St Church in 2022, an event which was attended by HM The King (as Prince of Wales).

The blessing was attended by Canon Paul Wright, Sub-Dean of the Queen’s Chapel at St James’s Palace. The link is significant because St Claude, a French Jesuit, was assigned to be the preacher to the Duchess of York in London in 1676. Although England was officially non-Catholic, Charles II had allowed his brother the Duke of York to have a Catholic chapel in St. James Palace. However, the chaplain had to come from outside of England, and so the young Frenchman left his own country to serve.

Claude continued to preach what was most dear to him - the message of Christ's love for humankind, symbolized by his Sacred Heart. The sermons resonated with the duchess who years later became the first royal personage to petition Pope Innocent XII to establish a solemn feast in honour of the Sacred Heart.

More details about St Claude can be found here.

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