New statue of St Philip Neri at the school Newman founded

At the Oratory School near Reading, a new statue of St Philip Neri was unveiled recently. The school was founded by Blessed John Henry Newman who was attracted to the human and spiritual qualities of St Philip, and, together with Fr Faber, introduced to England his idea of the Oratory as a group of secular priests living in community.

The statue was commissioned by the school following a donation from The Tolkien Trust. The sculptor was one of the parents, himself an old boy of the school.  JRR Tolkien wrote part of the “Lord of the Rings” while staying at Chapel Cottage in the school grounds in the summer of 1949. His son, Michael Tolkien was a pupil at the school from 1934-1939 (when it was a Caversham) and later returned to teach. His daughter, Joanna Tolkien, unveiled the new statue.

It is good to hear of a school which giving such considered and tasteful acknowledgement to great Catholic figures associated with its life. Those who are going to the Evangelium Conference this weekend will be able to see the statue which is in the quadrangle outside the Morey building.

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