Pope Francis advances British nun's canonisation cause

18 July 2014

POPE FRANCIS has advanced the cause of the canonisation of Sophie Leeves, a British former Anglican, just a month after he recognised the "heroic virtue" of Frances Taylor, the daughter of a former Rector of Stoke Rochford, in Lincolnshire (News, 20 June).

The Pope formally declared that Leeves, a Carmelite nun known as Mother Mary Veronica of the Passion, lived a life of "heroic virtue". His decree opens the way for the search for two miracles: first, to declare her Blessed, and then to declare her a saint.

Mother Veronica founded the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, a religious congregation of Carmelite nuns based in India. She was born in 1823, in Constantinople, to the Revd Henry Daniel Leeves, an Anglican chaplain to the British Embassy there, and Marina Haultain, the daughter of a colonel in the British army.

When she was a teenager, however, she felt drawn to the Roman Catholic Church, and was received into it at the age of 27, during a visit to Malta.

She became a nun the following year, and, in 1863, accepted a teaching post in Kozhikode, in India. She went on to found her own teaching order five years later. She died in 1906, aged 83.

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