Tag Archives: Evelyn Waugh




A prediction which Dominic Savio made about England: The message was relayed to Pope Pius IX by St John Bosco.

Dominic Savio was born in 1842 and died in 1857, a month before his fifteenth birthday. He was declared a Venerable in 1933 and was beatified in 1951.

Dominic told Don Bosco several times that he wished he could see the Pope. Don Bosco asked him why.

“If I could only talk to the Holy Father,” Dominic replied, “I would tell him that in spite of the great trials which he has to suffer at present, he should not lose heart in his solicitude for England. God is preparing a great triumph for Catholicism in that country.”

“What makes you say such a thing?” questioned Don Bosco.

“I’ll tell you,” replied the boy, “but don’t mention it to the others or they might think it foolish. But if you go to Rome tell Pius IX for me. This is why I think so. One morning, during my thanksgiving after Communion, I had a distraction, which was strange for me. I thought I saw a great stretch of country covered in a thick for, and it was filled with many people. They were moving about, but like men not sure where to put their feet. Somebody nearby said, ‘This is England.’ I was just about to question the man when I saw His Holiness, Pius IX, as I had seen him in pictures. He was richly dressed and carried a bright torch with which he approached the multitude, as if to enlighten their darkness. As he drew near, the torch seemed to disperse the fog, and the people were left in broad daylight. ‘This torch,’ said the man near me, ‘is the Catholic religion, which is to illumine England.’ ”

Don Bosco told the Pope about the incident in 1858. The Holy Father said: “What you have told me confirms me in my resolution to do all that is possible for England, which has long been the object of my special care. What you have related is, to put it at its lowest estimation, the counsel of a devout soul.”


It was Pope Pius IX who had re-established the hierarchy in England in 1850, after a lapse of 300 years.

In 1852, Dr John Henry Newman, later Cardinal, delivered his famous sermon in which he referred to the restoration of the Church in England as “The Second Spring”. In the course of the sermon he said: “Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come. It is time for thy Visitation. Arise, Mary, and go forth in thy strength to that north country, which once was thy own, and take possession of a land which knows thee not. Arise, Mother of God, and with thy thrilling voice speak to those who labour with child, and are in pain, till the babe of grace leaps within them. Shine on us, dear Lady, with thy bright countenance, like the sun in his strength, O stella maturing, O harbinger of peace, till our year is one perpetual May. From thy sweet eyes, from thy pure smile, from thy majestic brow, let ten thousand influences rain down, not to confound or overwhelm, but to persuade, to win over thine enemies. O Mary, my hope, Mother undefiled, fulfil to us the promise of this Spring.”


When Newman preached his sermon, The Second Spring, in 1852, the position of the Church was just beginning to improve after centuries of suppression. The Church in England has had a remarkable growth since then. Some authorities say that one Englishman out of every ten today is a Catholic, although it is impossible to secure exact figures. If we count only practicing members, the Catholic Church is the largest religious body in England today, larger even than the Church of England. In the past century Catholics have wielded an influence out of proportion to their numbers. Newman has enriched our spiritual life and our literature. Chesterton has trumpeted merry defiance to modern paganism. Bellow, Knox, and many others have given us cause to be grateful. Three of the most prominent of all living novelists – Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and Bruce Marshal – are British Catholics. Yes, England is having its Second Spring. Throughout the country devotion to the Blessed Mother has spread greatly. This is true not only among Catholics, but among Anglicans and other Protestants as well. For centuries our Lady was virtually exiled from England, but that is true no longer.

“When England goes back to Walsingham, our Lady will come back to England.” England, it would appear, is well on its way back to Walsingham. We may hope that under our Lady’s guidance and protection England’s Second Spring will soon give way to full summer.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954



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