The following extract is taken from the Unheard Melodies Blog, where you can read the whole article…
The Friendship of Dorothy
“I blogged recently about the ordinariness of my suburban parish. Such places can be the context for the extraordinary. Exactly 50 years ago this Saturday, on another snowy January day, died Dorothy Kerin, visionary, mystic and healer, who received the stigmata (the marks on her own body of Christ’s wounds on the cross) in the vicarage of the parish I serve as assistant priest.
Here is a piece I wrote for the Bishop of London, who recently preached about her at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, central London.
Perhaps within the pantheon of the ancient Church, Dorothy Kerin might have been viewed as a great saint. Within the Anglican tradition, during her own lifetime, she was considered a pioneer in the recovery of the Church’s healing ministry.
Aged 22, she suffered from tuberculosis and its complications. After two weeks of very considerable poor health, she was, it seems, miraculously healed. She claimed to have not only seen the Risen Lord but to have actually met him. In this meeting, she was given a commission: to go into the world and perform an important work for Him.
‘I seemed to be going somewhere with a definite purpose. For me it was a time of indescribable joy and bliss in a place and environment of exquisite harmony, when suddenly I was aware of a lovely form in dazzling white. He was coming towards me and I knew it was Jesus. He said “Dorothy, will you go back and do something for me”, to which I answered “Yes, Lord”. Then I was told to get up and walk.’
In 1915 Dorothy began a period of spiritual direction under Dr Richard Langford James, vicar of St Mark’s, Bush Hill Park in north London. He was well versed in mystical and ascetical theology particularly in the Carmelite school; and Dorothy lived in the vicarage through the London bombings of WW1 and beyond. Her faith was informed by the mystical tradition, with a clear Anglican sense of appropriateness and dignity.
During this period, and while in extended prayer in St Mark’s vicarage, she experienced the manifestation of the marks of the wounds of Christ on her own body, her hands, feet and side. She is thus one of the few attested Anglican stigmatics….“