It was with sadness and gratitude to God that I heard of the death on June 12, aged 90 years, of dear Myles, knowing that in God’s providence it was his time to go home to the Lord after a long and fruitful life in the Lord’s service.
I have many memories of Myles and the colossal work he has done for the Lord. However it is his work on behalf of the mission of Our Lady of Walsingham through the New Dawn Conference that I have most gratitude for.
Myles demonstrated great faith in the providence of God when following a clear inspiration from the Lord, whilst on Retreat in the early eighties in Ars (Parish of St. Jean Marie Vianney) in France. He was asked to start a great conference in Walsingham along the lines of those organized by the Emmanuel Community in Paray Le Monial at which families and peoples of all ages might find a spiritual home in England’s Nazareth.
Trusting totally upon the Lord’s providence and direction, Myles prayed and discerned the way forward, initially with many setbacks and outright opposition. Myles began with just a jam jar of coins on this venture and soon began to understand that nothing in impossible with God! His close collaborator Fr Michael Gwinnell gave him much needed priestly guidance and ongoing support.
The New Dawn Conference was finally born at the beginning of the great Marian Year of 1987/1988, which was called by Pope St John Paul II as the beginning of the great spiritual preparations for the Great Jubilee of 2000.
Over the years, through thick and thin and often with great struggle and financial insecurity, Myles continued along with the loving and indefatigable support of his beloved wife Joan, and with his Prince of Peace Community and intrepid bands of supporters and helpers, to commit to the organization of the New Dawn Conference in Walsingham with little support from the official authorities of the Church.
Year after year, God’s grace flowed and the lives of tens of thousands of Catholics, both young and old were changed and a renewal of faith and commitment to the Lord and his Holy Church was realized.
The New Dawn Conference has been one of the greatest works of mission and outreach on behalf of Our Lady’s Shrine in Walsingham consistently for 40 years. Many of the generations under 60 years who have a heart for Walsingham have this connection because of it.
Myles has been an inspirational witness and herald of the great prophesy of Pope Leo XIII – “When England goes back to Walsingham, Our Lady will come back to England.”
And for this I am full of gratitude to God and Our Lady of Walsingham. Thank you Myles and may Our Lady of Walsingham pray for you and draw you home into the Father’s Heart. Amen.
New Dawn takes place at Walsingham from Monday July 30 to Friday August 3.
Myles Dempsey picture courtesy of New Dawn.
Antonia Moffat is Outreach Coordinator for Our Lady’s Shrine in Walsingham