The appearance of Our Lady of Walsingham is one of the earliest Marian apparitions in history. Richeldis de Faverches, a noble widow living in Norfolk during the reign of Edward the Confessor, petitioned the Blessed Virgin to inspire her to a notable work of charity. In answer, Our Lady gave her a vision, taking Richeldis to the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation occurred. She instructed her to build a replica in Walsingham to commemorate Mary's joy at the Angelic Salutation of Gabriel, the heralding of the Incarnation.
The Holy House became a shrine, a place of pilgrimage and miracles. Ballads were penned in praise of Our Lady of Walsingham, and many kings made pilgrimage there. This included Henry VIII, but after his break with the Church he ordered the shrine destroyed. This event too became the subject of ballads, now of lament. The place lay silent until the 1890s, when the ruins of the wayside Slipper Chapel were restored for Catholic use. Then in the 1930s, the Anglican Church built a new shrine and Catholic Slipper Chapel was declared the English National Shrine of Our Lady.
When the Word was made Flesh, the universality of God came into the particularity of a little house in the village of Nazareth. The Incarnation means that God meets us not in an abstracted existence, but directly, within the particular places and circumstances of our lives. As Our Lady guided Richeldis to make a Nazareth in England, every chapel and shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham is a particular, local Nazareth, an encounter with the joy of the Incarnation in that special place.
One such shrine is in Houston, TX, the Principal Church of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: Our Lady of Walsingham.