|thanks to Wiki|
In June, I mentioned my trip to Maryvale, the foundation of the Oratory. Some laypersons have asked me recently to explain a bit about the Oratory and the Oratorians. That this congregation began at Maryvale was new to me, as one thinks of the Birmingham Oratory or the Brompton Oratory (which was my parish a long time ago) as the Crown Jewels of the congregation. Someone has rightly pointed out to me that the Oratorians do not take vows to the community and therefore are not an order, but a congregation.
Maryvale holds many secrets, such as the little chapel I noted in the post linked above. But, the fact that the Maryvale Institute, which has a Pontifical Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy, is such a small jewel does not mean it should be overlooked by Newman pilgrims.
Maryvale, named after St. Philip Neri's church, St. Mary's in Vallicella, which I have also visited, feels more like the scholar than the two great Oratories. It was the site of the first seminary after the Catholic Restoration and as such, the first site of Oscott College. St Eugene of Mazenod visited here as one can read from this page.
(I have also been to Littlemore, but that is another post). Here is a very small paragraph from the Maryvale website found on this link:
The site of Maryvale has been in Catholic occupation since the Middle Ages. From 1794 to 1838 it was the home of Oscott College, the first Seminary (school preparing students for the priesthood) to open in England after the Reformation. In 1846 the college moved to the larger purpose-built premises at New Oscott. Newman and his community were granted the former Seminary as a house of retreat and study.
Now, remembering that Newman was one of the founders of the Oxford Movement, one can understand that two of the heritage values of the Oratorians today are music and liturgical perfection. However, when one is standing in the main chapel at Maryvale, one senses the combination of Faith and Reason, the intense prayer life of Newman, and his dedication to personal holiness. The humility of the Blessed surrounds this small but lively place. As an Institute, one can feel the throbbing of Catholic intellectual activity which must and will spread again across Great Britain. That Newman was called to renew Great Britain through his own openness to sharing his conversion, as well as the intellectual feat of giving reasons for the Oxford Movement through the Tracts, is a call which must be answered today in this country.
Heart speaking to heart is not only God's heart speaking to each one of us, but our hearts, individually, and as the heart of the Church corporately, reaching out to those without the knowledge or experience of Christ, Who Is Love.
I suggest a visit to Maryvale. Catholics in England have a great secret in this place: the revival of Catholic learning. By the way, because I am an American, I can state that like all Catholic institutions, Maryvale could use the financial support of Catholics. We are all called to support Catholic education and this institution is a worthy cause.