Shrine History: 2000 -

2000 - 2014

In 2004 a fire broke out in the Shrine Chapel destroying the murals which once hung there and damaging much of the other artwork. Happily, the windows and ceramics could be repaired, but the murals had to be replaced.

The decision was made by the Prior Provincial to install icons depicting saints inspired by the Carmelite Rule of Saint Albert, in commemoration of the 8th centenary of the Carmelite Rule in 2007. The icons were written by Sister Petra Clare, a Benedictine hermit living in Scotland.


Sister Petra Clare with one of the icons she had written.
 
The icons depict: Saint Albert giving the Carmelite 'way of life' (Rule document) to Saint Brocard on Mount Carmel; Blessed John Soreth and Blessed Frances d'Amboise; Saint Elias Kuriakos Chavara and Blessed Isidore Bakanja; Blessed Titus Brandma and Saint Edith Stein.
 
Adam Kossowski used acrylic paint for the Rosary Way paintings which were originally commissioned for the Carmelite retreat and pilgrimage centre at Hazlewood House in Yorkshire. They were moved to Faversham when the Carmelites left Hazlewood House in 1996. In 2007, it was noticed that the original artwork was showing signs of damage from being outside in all weathers and it was decided in an attempt to preserve them immediately to put them in storage. Copies were commissioned and Mr Mic Redsell took on this work. His painted copies were put in their place for visitors to enjoy for many years to come.
 
Before 2008, the Shrine was managed by the Shrine Director who had the dual role of chaplain and manager. However, this was changed after 2008 with the management of the site handled by an office manager, and then later the current Development Manager (from 2013). Fr. Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm took on the role as Chaplain to run the spiritual side. The Saint Jude management group was set up in 2012 and has been chaired by a lay person since. Mrs Hazel Colyer (2012 - 2016) and Mr Michael Collins (2016 - onwards). 
 
The Saint Jude Welcome Centre was officially opened in 2009, with a smaller office next door which was used for the sale of books.
 
During 2011, the 'Newsletter Office' stopped sending out the newsletter from the office and employed an external company to sort; the machine for all the newsletters remained in the office until autumn 2013 when it was finally sold for parts to a local company.
 
        
 
Finally, the old 'manager's office' was converted into the postroom for opening post and other admin duties and the old cloakroom and staff room were converted with doors added instead of curtains!
 
   

2014 - 2021

In 2014, the Guild of Saint Jude was founded. It was set up to foster worship, for members to be able to support and share in the mission of the Carmelite Family by prayer and material resources; and to raise awareness and encourage pilgrimages to the National Shrine. From 2014 - 2015 work started on converting the old 'newsletter office' into the Shrine Information Centre. Up until now, it had been a place for folding and posting out the newsletter (since moved to external printers) with a machine that took up most of the room (see above).

        

In 2015, the Shrine joined the Churches Visitor & Tourism Association, and in 2021 our development manager became a trustee. 

On 26 March 2015 in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, the Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral blessed a new plaque in the Shrine.

The Shrine Information Centre was officially opened later that year by the Most. Rev. Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark on 28 October 2015 during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Archbishop Peter Smith looks around the Information Centre with the Development Manager

At the start of 2017, St Albert's Press was amalgamated into the Shrine Office.

The Shrine of Saint Jude was renovated and painted for the first time in fourteen years at the end of 2017, thanks to a donation from Mrs Florinda Bhadwa. A new webcam was added at the same time, so that pilgrims from around the world could pray at the Shrine.

On 29 October 2018, Archbishop Peter Smith returned and celebrated Mass for the Feast of Saint Jude. Afterwards and with the Prior Provincial, Fr Kevin Alban, they officially opened the small meeting room as the renamed Brother Anthony McGreal room. Brother Anthony McGreal, O.Carm assisted the founder, Father Elias Lynch, O.Carm in establishing the Shrine of Saint Jude and the work of the Carmelite Press. His work with Father Elias created the groundwork for this special place. Brother Anthony’s nephew, Father Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm was in attendance for this special Mass and renaming of the room. Fr. Wilfrid said a few words about his uncle, which he summed up in saying that he was a great and hard-working man.

At the end of 2018, Carmelite friars and pilgrims made a pilgrimage across the county of Kent to Canterbury Cathedral on 17th November 2018. The pilgrimage linked one of Kent's newer holy sites (the National Shrine of Saint Jude was established by the Carmelites in Faversham in 1955) with one of its most historic. The pilgrims gathered at the National Shrine of Saint Jude for a morning of reflection and prayer led by Fr. Ged Walsh, O.Carm.After lunch they travelled by coach along the historic pilgrimage route from Faversham - via Harbledown - to the Westgate of Canterbury. The pilgrims, led by the Carmelite Prior Provincial Fr. Kevin Alban, were welcomed at Canterbury Cathedral by the resident Anglican clergy. The pilgrims celebrated Mass in the beautiful crypt, the original location of the Shrine of Saint Thomas Becket before it was moved to the main body of the cathedral. 

   

In 2019, the Shrine and Carmelite Charitable Trust proudly became a member of Your Catholic Legacy. At the Shrine Information Centre, we were finally able to sort out the entrances which had always been an issue: these were swapped and the old entrance became the fire exit. The dangerous glass in between the postroom and Information Centre was covered up so it was safe. 

During the pandemic of 2020/21, the Shrine of Saint Jude offered a number of online initiatives and developments, including 'Praying with Saint Jude at home' and the Virtual Feast of Saint Jude. These were initially daily, but became weekly, reflections written by Carmelite friars, lay people and other people associated with the Shrine, including the Jesuit scholar Fr Nicholas King. These reflections were eventually turned into two successful books: 'God in the Time of COVID-19' and 'A New Hope'. 

In 2020, the Shrine was given five stars by the new guide 'Britain's Pilgrim Places' produced by the British Pilgrimage Trust. The authors particularly emphasised that.."the Shrine is a common meeting ground between Anglicans and Catholics since there was little historical and cultural interest in Jude during Christianity's most difficult years. He is certainly a more productive figure to contemplate than the Reformation martyrs of either side. For that reason alone this Shrine deserves the highest recommendation".

On 19 July 2021, the Shrine was reopened for the first time since March 2020 after being closed because of the Pandemic.

During August 2021, the Shrine sign was returned to the grounds after a four year absence.

Finally, on 16 September 2021, the Mayor of Faversham, Mrs Alison Reynolds officially opened the new Garden of Hope (at the back of the offices).

It was blessed by Fr Brendan Grady, O.Carm, who at that point was completing his time as Chaplain of the Shrine before taking on the role of Prior Provincial.