07 Jun A Recent Discovery!!
Our Church Architect, when inspecting our inner roof-space, came across an unknown plaque, written in faded gold lettering and secured on a roof truss. It says, “Sedi Sapientiae Gratias” in Latin, which translates to “Seat of Wisdom, Thank You.” This title, “Seat of Wisdom” is one of the many titles given to Mary, the Mother of God. This plaque was put up in thanksgiving specifically to Our Lady, for saving St Mary’s Somers Town from a fire in the roof!!
Please see below an image of the plaque and a Newspaper article from Saturday 12 September 1936 relating to Fr Goudge, one of the Curates, who rushed to the High Altar, through smoke and falling debris, to rescue the Blessed Sacrament, reserved in the Tabernacle. Also the firefighters did much to preserve many of the sacred objects in the Church.
The Vicar at that time, Fr. Percy Maryon-Wilson, was away from the Parish so he must have been so proud of his courageous and devout Curate, who understood that the greatest treasure in any Church, is the living Real Presence of Christ, housed within the Tabernacle.
This discovery at this present time of disorientation, due to our roof problems and temporary Church closure, must surely be an encouragement to us at St Mary’s that our Patroness, Our Lady, has a continual concern for this place and its people. The word, “Gratias” is Latin for “Thank You” so in a spirit of thankfulness, we implore Our Mother to, once again, come to our rescue of this Church built in her honour.
Many thanks to Dr Alex Veal, our Architect, and to Dr Susan Skedd, Heritage Lottery Consultant for bringing this long-hidden discovery to light.
During this time of roof-problems I think it would be right to regularly invoke Mary under the title, “Seat of Wisdom” to aid our prayers and cheers us on. The Feast of Mary, Seat of Wisdom is June the 8th.
Holy Father, eternal God, In your goodness You prepared a royal throne for your Wisdom in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; bathe your Church in the radiance of your life-giving Word that it may press forward on its pilgrim way in the light of your truth, and so come to the joy of a perfect knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for St Mary’s Somers Town. Amen.
A newspaper article in the Daily News (London) – Saturday 12 September 1936.
Newly discovered plaque in St Mary’s Somers Town Roof: “Friday September 11th 1936: Sedi Sapientiae Gratias (Seat of Wisdom, Thank You)”