Today has been a great day. It started off pretty early but we can't complain as we started with a lovely cooked breakfast at St Patrick's. After breakfast we quickly washed up and piled into our minibus along with Fr Alex, Pauline and of course Ambrose (He tends to go everywhere!). The weather was absolutely lovely today and thankfully we weren't having to sit in the minibus for too long.
Our first stop of the day was Alyesford Priory. Aylesford Priory, or 'The Friars' to give it its
traditional name, was founded in 1242 when the first Carmelites arrived
from the Holy Land. For some of us it was our first time visiting and we were very excited as we had heard quite a bit about it. Tradition has it that Alyesford is where Our Lady appeared to St Simon Stock and gave him the scapular and promising her protection to all who wear it with devotion.We had Mass at Alyesford and prayed the Rosary together as well as having a nice cup of tea/coffee with some of the community there.
We had a lovely picnic at Alyesford in the sunshine before getting back into the minibus to head to our next destination. Our second stop of the day was Canterbury. We visited the Cathedral in Canterbury where there was a shrine to St Thomas a Beckett, until it was destroyed during the Reformation. The Cathedral is beautiful and you can easily see how it was built at different times due to the pillars and arches inside. There was a lovely cloister at the Cathedral which we were able to enjoy in the sunshine.
As we were leaving Canterbury we made a quick stop off at a very important small church called St Martin's. St Martin's is the oldest parish church in continuous use in this country. It dates back to the 6th century, before St Augustine arrived from Rome. It was a beautiful little church where there is still part of a roman wall. After our short visit it was time to head back to London. It was quite a long trip compared to what we expected due to much traffic. Safely back in London surrounded by tall building and ridiculous traffic we will now wait patiently for our next trip out of London (hopefully soon!).