This year, Mary Galvin FCJ was nominated as one of the 92 recipients of the Maundy money – specially minted silver coins distributed by the British sovereign on Maundy Thursday. The number of recipients and the face value in pence of the amount they each receive traditionally correspond to the number of years in the sovereign’s age. On 29 March 2018, the Royal Maundy Service took place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
First, there was an address to the gathered recipients, preparing them for the day, and then, the traditional ceremony began. Mary writes: “The Yeoman of the Guard led the procession … and as the Queen entered the pageantry and solemnity of the occasion were palpable. After the distribution of the Maundy, Queen Elizabeth shook hands with each recipient and offered congratulations. The service finished with bells from the Curfew Tower ringing gloriously as the Queen departed.” After this, all the recipients went to the Waterloo Chamber, where a variety of finger foods was served, and Mary, accompanied by Kathleen Joyce, enjoyed chatting to some of the other recipients. Amazingly, she discovered that one of these, present that day with her mother, knew Maria Fidelis School well, as she had conducted their choir when they won School Choir of the Year and also when singing for Pope Benedict.
(Mary’s name was put forward by the Anglican Bishop of Manchester, but she does not know who nominated her for this award. She assumes it was connected with her prison chaplaincy work in Manchester and Salford over many years.)