Homeless in Mayfair

The religious website Aleteia reports the decision to erect a statue of a “Homeless Jesus” at a Roman Catholic church in Mayfair, London:

The sculpture titled “Homeless Jesus” can be seen in several locations around the world, but none as surprising as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, on Farm Street in Mayfair, London. … London has always had a reputation for legions of the homeless, whose unkempt and often unwashed presence encourages the authorities to move them on swiftly, especially in the City of Westminster. Not in the vicinity of Farm Street though. The Jesuit priests there intend to place the sculpture on the inside of their church. Timothy Schmalz’s life-size bronze representation of a figure huddled under a blanket on a park bench will be placed before the Shrine of Our Lady of Seven Dolors.

The article goes on to explain Evelyn Waugh’s long-time association with the church, which he usually referred to simply as “Farm Street”:

Farm Street, as it is known, was made famous through its many literary associations. This was the church that produced some of Britain’s most celebrated Catholic converts, including Graham Greene and Sir Alec Guinness. Most famous of all is Evelyn Waugh, whose definitive novel about the English class system, Brideshead Revisited, gives due prominence to Farm Street.

This church was, for example, where Rex Mottram in Waugh’s novel was sent for his religious instruction by Fr Mowbray (London, 1960, p. 214). One doubts whether that bit of religious/literary history is commemorated within its confines. Waugh’s daughter Margaret worked at Farm Street for its vicar, Fr Caraman, in the early 1960s.

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