Rorate Caeli

Merry del Val - novena prayer and intentions

A reader sends us the following:

As has been stated in Rorate, Rafael Merry del Val was educated at Ushaw College in the north of England. He commenced his studies at Ushaw College in 1883 before he went to Rome in 1885. In 1955, the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, in whose diocese Ushaw College is situated, wrote to the people of the diocese and asked them to support a novena to further the cause of His Eminence. I have attached scans of the bishop’s suggested novena prayers and a brief summary of Cardinal del Val’s life. Some of Rorate's readers may wish to recite these novena prayers to help the cause of this great servant of the Church.

Ushaw College was the major seminary for the north of England and was formed in 1808 by students who had fled some years earlier from Douai College in northern France during the French Revolution. It expanded over the decades and by 1962, at the opening of the Second Vatican Council it housed 400 students, although some were secular students. It was ordaining about 22 priests per year. Following the introduction of the changes in the 1960s the numbers dropped quite dramatically and by 2010 there were less than 30 students. It was closed by the English hierarchy in June 2010.


  1. Anonymous9:54 AM

    I read, that Cardinal Merry del Val commanded in his last will, that his precious and beautiful liturgical vestments pass in the property of Ushaw College. ..Where are they now?


  2. Please, Teresa, next time remember to write in that or any other name instead of choosing "Anonymous".

  3. English Pastor10:31 AM

    Ushaw College was also in possession of a white papal Cassock worn by His Holiness Pope Saint Pius X. Where is that now? And where are the many hundreds of relics that were in its Relic Room? i viewd the cassock and this room on several occassions.

  4. GQ Rep11:33 AM

    The fate of this famous English seminary can unfortunatly has been the fate for literally thousands of seminaries, monasteries,comvents and novitiates since Vatican II and the disaster of the Novus Ordo and the other changes.

    My own Archdiosecean seminary near Philadelphia is composed of two huge buildings on a sprawling 150 acre campus (used to be over 400 acres, but land was sold off in the very early 1980's because even then the Archdiocese had financial troubles...but nothing like now).

    The seminary was founded at it's current location in 1871, and had about 80 seminarians at that time. Over the years, the numbers grew so that in 1928, a huge building for college seminarians was constructed in the Italian Renaissance style. The man who oversaw the Archdiocese at that time was the great Dennis Cardinal Dougherty who became Archbishop of Philadelphia shortly after World War I, was made a Cardinal in 1921, and died in 1951. He oversaw a vast expansion of our Archdiocese, built over 150 Churches, established 100 parishes, and ordained on average anywhere from 30-60 seminarians for the Archdiocese every year!
    He also officiated personally at the profession of vows of upwards to 400 new nuns in the Archdiocese per year!!
    Our seminary that he built had, by the time of hs death about 500 seminarians, and by the opening of Vatican II in 1962, close to 600, with another 100 studying at either Louvain, Rome, or Catholic University in Washington DC.

    Today, thanks to the collapse of the Catholic Faith after Vatican II and the Novus Ordo and other changes, we have less than 40 seminarians at our seminary (fewer seminarians for Philadelphia now than before the Civil War 150 years ago!). We ordain usually 3 priests per year.

    I hope the next Pope is a young man, who has as long as John Paul II did to reign to undo all of Vatican II, to return the Catholic Mass and traditions before it is too late.

    I pray that Benedict XVI lastslong enough, that the few die-hard supporters of Vatican II in the College of Cardinals are too old to vote, or too old to be considered for the Papacy.

  5. Teresa, bearing in mind what has recently & scandalously happened at Ramsgate/Chilworth, if the bequest was made I would not expect the gift to have been cherished.

  6. Former Ushaw Man3:44 PM

    As a former Ushaw man, it is wonderful to be associated with this great man but very sad to see that those in charge at Ushaw had such little regard for the vestments that the Cassock of Saint Pius X was 'lost' some years ago - actually stolen, as someone in the UK claims to know its whereabouts. Both those who let Ushaw get into such a state that it closed and those who hold this vestment have stolen from the Catholic faithful of England and reparation for thier selfish actions against the Church is sadly needed.
    St. Pius X O.P.N


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