POPE FRANCIS has advanced the cause of the canonisation of
Frances Taylor (right), daughter of a former Rector of
Stoke Rochford, in Lincolnshire. She tended dying soldiers in the
Crimean War before her reception into the Roman Catholic Church,
and was later, as Mother Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Heart,
Foundress of the Society of the Poor Servants of the Mother of
The Pope has determined that Mother Mary Magdalen lived a life
of "heroic virtue". He has given her the title "Venerable", and has
authorised the search for miracles required as evidence of sanctity
for her beatification and canonisation.
Mother Mary Magdalen, the youngest of Henry Taylor's ten
children, was influenced by Tractarianism and associated, as her
sister Emma was, with the early Anglican Sisterhoods. Aged 22, she
volunteered to join Florence Nightingale in Scutari, Turkey, in
1854, when Britain, with France and the Ottoman Empire, was at war
with Russia. She became a Roman Catholic after being impressed by
the faith of dying Irish soldiers for whom she was caring.
After her mother's death, the Congregation of the Poor Servants
of the Mother of God opened refuges for prostitutes and homeless
women and children in London, before spreading its work throughout
She also founded the Providence Free Hospital in St Helens,
Lancashire, and took over the running of St Joseph's Asylum, in
Dublin. She died in her convent in Soho Square, London, in 1900,
after falling ill on the way to Rome. She was the author of many
books and articles.
She was buried at Mortlake Cemetery, having established 20
institutions in her lifetime. Her remains were transferred to
Maryfield Convent, Roehampton, in 1959.
Her order continues to work with poor, elderly, and disabled
Sister Mary Whelan SMG, Mother General of the Poor Servants of
the Mother of God, said: "We are delighted by this good news. In
proclaiming Mother Magdalen as Venerable, the Church has recognised
her as a woman of profound faith, who devoted herself to serving
the spiritual and practical needs of the poor and vulnerable."
The causes of a number of British women are under consideration
in Rome. They include Elizabeth Prout, founder of the Passionist
Sisters; Mary Potter, who founded a nursing order; Margaret
Sinclair, a Scottish nun; Mother Riccarda Beauchamp Bambrough; and
Mother Katherine Flanagan.