The Angel of Rydal Hall
Rydal Hall is an historic house set in the heart of the Lake District with thirty bedrooms, most of which are en suite. The estate includes the recently restored Thomas Mawson garden which is open every day, over 30 acres of woodland with a beck and waterfalls, a good footpath to Ambleside and Grasmere and walks out on the fells.
A resident international ecumenical Christian community cares for guests, and offers contemplative healing prayer. Rydal Hall is the centre for the Diocese of Carlisle's gatherings and retreats.
A perfect place for an angel, you would think, especially Raphael, the angel of healing and good meetings. Shawn Williamson is sculpting the angel in the garden.
We've written about Williamson's work with boys - probationers, young offenders, the long-term unemployed, school pupils with learning issues and low and high achievers. He has taught them the practical and spiritual work of carving in stone.
The discipline and craft of their study went beyond the creation of a sale object or finding a career. Stone carving challenged, grounded, and healed young people because in a world of material wealth but few values, stone carving gave them values, tradition and purpose.
Williamson, who was recently invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and who is well known for his sculptures of animals, hopes to work with young people soon again. In the meantime he is working to complete the angel, to be dedicated to the sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos, who was his mentor.
The angel should be finished in time for the feast of All Angels - Raphael, Gabriel and Michael - on September 29. Those who visit Rydal Hall may encounter a healing vision.