The Making Of A Marvel
The first letter Canon Paul received after becoming Rector in September 2017 was from the Bishop of Cádiz and Ceuta, the Rt Rev Rafael Zornoza Boy.
He asked to borrow the statue of Our Lady Vulnerata for an exhibition charting the 750-year history of the Diocese of Cádiz and Ceuta. Until her profanation by English sailors in 1596, the statue was kept in a church in Cádiz.
Since 1600, however, it has resided in the High Altar of the College Chapel in Valladolid.
Canon Paul says: “I don’t mind going down in history as either a bad Rector or a good Rector but I’m not being the Rector that lost the Vulnerata so, I said, ‘No, you can’t have Our Lady Vulnerata but we’ll commission a copy specifically for the exhibition’.”
He asked the art restorer, Natalia Martínez de Pisón, to make the copy of the original statue. The replica is now on display at the exhibition Traslatio Sedis in Cádiz Cathedral and will remain there until it closes in December.
Within 10 days of the exhibition opening, 10,000 visitors had passed through the doors and seen the copy of Our Lady Vulnerata. There are plans to bring the statue later on tour of the dioceses of England and Wales.
Canon Paul says, “We hope the copy will reside in England but never in one place, and in particular that ordained Old Boys will take the copy to their parishes for at least a month at a time.”