Visit from Australian Pilgrims
Last week we were visited by two groups from Sydney, Australia.
Downside is a popular destination for many Australian pilgrimages as the first two Archbishops of Sydney and founders of the Catholic Church in Australia were Downside monks. Bishops Polding and Vaughan travelled to Australia in the first half of the 19th century and are both buried in Sydney Cathedral.
Additionally, Downside was involved in the early development of the Catholic Church in Mauritius, at this time part of the same Diocese as Australia. Bishops Morris and Ullathorne worked with Pope Gregory XVI to establish the early Catholic hierarchy in Australia.
Due to the endeavours of these monks, the Catholic Australian Church was formed and therefore, we are visited by groups such as those last week. During the visits the groups attended a special Mass in the abbey church before enjoying a tour and an exhibition of archive materials relating to our Australian connections, including addresses by Bishop Vaughan, letters from Bishop Polding and portraits of both monks.