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100 years ago: Mother Kate of Haggerston

27 October 2023

October 26th, 1923.

JUST as we went to press last week we received the news of the death of Mother Kate, of St. Saviour’s Priory, Haggerston, at the age of eighty-three. With her passing is severed one of the few remaining links with a period of many troubles. The story of that time has been told by Mother Kate herself, in two volumes of simple narrative, “Memories of a Sister of St. Saviour’s Priory” and “Old Soho Days”. Her memory went back to the days when the principles of the Tractarians were beginning to be put into practice; when Protestant storms raged over such trivial matters as the surplice in the pulpit and the saying of the prayer for the Church Militant; when the task of bringing England back to the Faith was taken up by men and women whose high courage brought it to a measure of fulfilment. Mother Kate saw the beginning of the fight for the toleration of Catholicism, she saw also the victory. She witnessed the foundation of almost all the religious communities which now exist in the English Church, and was herself a novice at East Grinstead sixty-five years ago. She had passed through bitter experiences of failure and desertion, but her own resolute faith had not wavered. So in a tranquil old age, solaced by breadth of interest, undiminished sympathies and a well-stored mind, she saw from her cell the fruit of her own labours, and those of many great men and women with whom she had been associated. To such veterans of the struggle as Mother Kate our debt can scarcely be overestimated.

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