The St. Louis of France Vestment from the Sacristy of Westminster Cathedral

First of all, my apologies for such a long absence. I would like to republish a short piece I wrote on a set of vestments found in Westminster Cathedral in London for the Friends of Westminster Cathedral -- an excellent organisation who do much to support the work of the same.

In many ways, given the cathedral's strict policy of "Romanitas" this set is slightly unusual. It is very definitely French in its influences: the shape (which is quite narrow in the back); the manner of decoration (a cross on the back); the style of embroidery and even its rather fancy quilted casing. What is most interesting, however, is the embroidery. As you can see, the central roundel depicts St. Louis (IX) of France holding the relic of the Crown of Thorns which he brought to France and housed in Sainte-Chapelle. Later this was moved to Notre Dame de Paris along with his tunic. Also of interest is that the cross on the back is made up of dolphins: Dauphine.

Fast forward to last year and the devastating fire in Notre Dame Cathedral during Passiontide -- and also the joyful news that the relics depicted on this chasuble had been saved.  Whilst going through the sacristy drawers looking for something suitably simple, yet beautiful, for the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday, I found this set and suggested that the Cardinal might like to make use of it as an act of solidarity with the people of Paris and the church of Notre Dame; he happily did.

Readers can see further photos of the vestment here.

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