The Hounds are Blessed

The blessing of the hounds
This year the annual Blessing of the Hounds took place at the Mary Martha Chapel at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass. The chapel was built in 1929 and was named after Henry Ford’s mother, Mary Litogot Ford, and his mother-in-law, Martha Bench Bryant. Ford owned the Wayside Inn at the time.

The Blessing of the Hounds is a hunting tradition that was begun in Europe by St. Hubert of Liege, who later became the patron saint of hunters. It came to this country with the colonists. Our foxhunting club has seen several interpretations of

The processon
The hunt field followed the bagpiper and the priest to the chapel.

this ancient practice, with the blessing performed by many denominations, including a shaman.

This year, our Blessing was held at the Mary Martha Chapel, which is next to Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. Although the chapel is not nearly as historic as the 300-year old inn, it is quintessentially New England and on this beautiful fall day, it glowed.

Since the blessing is really about the hounds, I focused on them. I wasn’t riding at this hunt as my daughter was rowing a the Head of the Charles regatta (another New England tradition), but at least I had the chance to be part of the festivities.

You can see how clearly the hounds’ personalities shine through.

On the way to the blessing

A few treats before the blessing

5 thoughts on “The Hounds are Blessed

  1. Great informational piece. I love going to opening hunt (as a spectator). My daughter is a oarsman, too! But never did HOTC. Hope her team was a winner!

  2. The Blessing is pure pageantry! Almost as much fun as riding. Sadly, this year my daughter’s boat suffered a mechanical failure and their Coxwain’s microphone quit after 1K. They still came in 8th which was a tremendous effort and hopefully they’ll be back next year with all systems working as they should. Thanks for reading!

  3. If memory serves my correctly, I think I got to see this happen when I was a teen. It would have been at the Wayne-DuPage hunt outside of Chicago. I love everything about foxhunting (except for the thought/action of a fox meeting its doom–but I know many of them don’t actually hunt a fox now). I just bought a new Ariat shirt that has foxhunters on it.

  4. I agree with you! No interest in chasing or (thought it happens rarely) killing a fox. Many hunts today are, like mine, drag hunts. The scent is laid down by teams of human foxes before the hunt begins.

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