Our Church is dedicated to the Ascension of our Lord and, unlike many parishes that are dedicated to a Saint, it has no patron Saint. To remedy this the Parish Council adopted Saint Clare of Assisi and Saint Boniface of Crediton. These were chosen for historical reasons, as there were two other churches in the Parish dedicated to these saints. In this way, we honour the spiritual history and the journey of our parish.
There was an additional patron adopted, OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM, so called because of the famous Anglican Shrine to our Lady in England. You may find out more about this shrine by visiting our page and link to this site.
‘We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.’ Saint Clare
Saint Clare is well known as one of the first followers of Saint Francis, and that association overshadows her unique spirituality and contribution to the Church. She was born in Assisi in 1194 into a noble family of the Counts of Sasso-Rosso. Under normal circumstances she would have been married off to bolster the noble status of her family. However, when she heard Saint Francis preach, she asked him to help her to live out the Gospel. On Palm Sunday, she secretly left the family home and her head was partly shaved (tonsure) by Francis to signify her vow to be dedicated to God and the Church. She wished to be like the wandering friars of Francis in proclaiming the Gospel and helping the poor, but this was socially unacceptable, and she had to become an enclosed contemplative nun. She could, however, follow the simplicity of Francis’ teaching on holy poverty. Despite efforts to mitigate this regime she steadfastly refused, and her community became known as the Poor Clares. Saint Clare also aided Francis, whom she considered to be the spiritual guide and founder of her community. She cared care of him during his final illness. Her feast day is 11th August.
‘Love that does not know of suffering is not worthy of the name.’ Saint Clare
His actual name is Wynfryth, an Anglo-Saxon name, but was named Boniface by Pope Gregory II.
He was born at Crediton, Devon in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex around 657. He received a good education and he had the possibility of high appointment in the English church. Instead he chose to start missionary work in Germany in 716. The Anglo-Saxon language, still close to German, made Boniface and many of his compatriots suitable as missionaries in Germany. His work was outstanding and he became known as the Apostle to Germany. Yet this was only one aspect of his achievements as he reformed the Church of the Frankish Empire and set up a close relationship between the Frankish Court and the Papacy. In 718, Pope Gregory commissioned to work in Bavaria and Frisia. In 722 the Pope consecrated him as bishop.In 732 Pope Gregory III made him Archbishop of Mainz and Primate of Germany. As he founded new diocese he convinced fellow Anglo-Saxons to come and head up bishoprics and abbeys. Despite setbacks, his work firmly established the Church in Germany and Holland.
In 754 he was martyred by a band of pagans on the 5th June. His body was taken to Fulda where it remains to this day in the cathedral. His Gospel Book bears the slashes of the axe cuts as he tried to defend himself. His work helped to set in motion the beginning of Western Europe. His feast day is 5th June.