The main purpose of the Society is to increase knowledge of, and thereby devotion to, Saint Ralph Sherwin. Membership is spread right across this country, Rome, Cyprus and Brazil. The affairs of the Society are managed by a properly constituted committee.
The society has four annual celebrations:
- The Ordination of Ralph Sherwin is celebrated on 23rd March by gathering together for Mass.
- The Pilgrimage to Rodsley, the place of Saint Ralph Sherwin’s birth, takes place one Sunday in June and is usually led by Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon OP, Bishop of Nottingham.
- Mass is offered annually for the deceased members of the Sherwin Society; usually towards the end of July beginning of August.
- The Feast of Ralph Sherwin is celebrated on 1st December, the date of his martyrdom in 1581.
The Society was founded by our late president, Major Edward Wallace, and others on 23rd March 1971. the inaugural meeting was held in All Saint Church, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Some five years later on 23rd March 1976 a bronze plaque was fixed to the side of a barn situated at the crossroads of Rodsley village and was Blessed by Rt Rev James McGuinness, Bishop of Nottingham, during the unveiling ceremony. It also marks the spot from which the Annual Pilgrimage in Rodsley begins from.
The following year, on 22nd June 1977, the first Annual Pilgrimage took place and has been repeated ever since. A procession of the faithful proceeded from the crossroads to a meadow where Mass is celebrated, usually by the Bishop of Nottingham. This event is organised by the governing committee of the Sherwin Society with the help many willing volunteers. In recent times the people of Rodsley have generously made available to the Society the use of a barn for the celebration of Mass so since 2004 we have had the added benefit of a roof and four walls.
In 1980 a beautiful painting was completed of Saint Ralph Sherwin and is based on a contemporary description circulated in 1580 when he was being hunted by the English authorities. The description itself can be found on this website on the English Mission and Arrest page of the life of Saint Ralph Sherwin. the painting, commissioned by a generous benefactor, was blessed in Saint Mary’s Church, Derby, by Bishop McGuinness and is now housed in Saint Ralph Sherwin Church, Chellaston, Derby.
If you would like to find out more about the Sherwin Society please feel free to contact us.
Sherwin Society Prayer
O Almighty and ever merciful God,
Bless your humble servants who are gathered here as members of a Society formed to honour our Patron, your holy Martyr, Ralph Sherwin of Rodsley. Enlighten us, with your divine wisdom, in all our discussions and guide us along the right paths in all our undertakings. Grant us fortitude and patience to enable us to work together in mutual harmony and thereby achieve our objectives in accordance with your divine will.
We ask this through the Prince of Martyrs, Your Son, our Lord and Savour Jesus Christ. Amen
Saint Ralph Sherwin, pray for us.
Membership is £2.00 per annum and will remain so for the foreseeable future. We are more than happy to accept your annual subscription but for those that wish to dispense with an annual payment we offer Life Membership of the Society for a one-off payment of £15.00.
Given the wide appeal of Saint Ralph Sherwin with society members scattered throughout the UK and abroad we have now made it possible to pay by Direct Debit. Please contact us to make arrangements.
We are grateful for your continued support of the Society.