Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Simon Caldwell

8/4/2008 (6 years ago)

The Catholic Herald (UK) (www.catholicherald.co.uk/)

Sister Elizabeth has been compared to a Victorian Mother Teresa because of her work among poor mill workers and refugees from the Irish potato famine, although she was derided in her own lifetime as a "revolutionary".

Highlights

By Simon Caldwell

The Catholic Herald (UK) (www.catholicherald.co.uk/)

8/4/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes


LONDON (Catholic Herald) - The unexplained healings of two people from terminal illnesses are to be investigated as possible miracles that could give Britain its first woman saint in more than four decades.

A man suffering from cancer and a woman with a brain injury from a fractured skull recovered from their conditions after their families prayed to Sister Elizabeth Prout, a 19th-century nun who worked with the poor in the slums of Manchester.

Catholic officials in England are now preparing to travel to Chile, where both healings took place, to begin preliminary investigations that could result in the Pope declaring Sister Elizabeth a saint in as little as five years time.

Sister Elizabeth has been compared to a Victorian Mother Teresa because of her work among poor mill workers and refugees from the Irish potato famine, although she was derided in her own lifetime as a "revolutionary".

A convert from the Church of England to Catholicism, she opened nine schools in industrialised parts of the north west of England and set up an order of nuns - the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, or Passionist Sisters - who helped women to escape poverty by training them in the skills they needed to make a living on their own.

Her order now has more than 300 Sisters working in Britain, the Irish Republic, America, Botswana, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Peru and Chile.

A 14-year diocesan investigation into Sister Elizabeth's life of "heroic virtue" drew to a conclusion with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool at her graveside in the Church of St Anne and Blessed Dominic, St Helens, Merseyside, on Tuesday and the file on her life was sealed and sent to the Vatican.

The Holy See will carry out its own investigation before declaring her "Venerable" and two approved miracles will be required for her beatification and canonisation.

Glasgow-based Passionist Fr Paul Francis Spencer, the postulator of her Cause, said the first of two possible miracles occurred in 2000 and involved a married father with "a very serious cancer".

Fr Spencer said: "He was to be operated on and there was very little hope of him surviving the operation, the doctors said.

"A friend of his was in contact with the sisters and knew about Elizabeth Prout and he recommended that the family should pray to her.

"The whole family, together with their friends, prayed through the intercession of Elizabeth Prout for his cure.

"When the doctors came to operate, they did a preliminary X-ray or scan and they found no sign of the cancer being there."

The second healing happened in 1999 and involved a woman who inexplicably recovered from a brain injury, incurred in an accident, after her family prayed to Sister Elizabeth.

Sister Anne Cunningham, the Manchester-based superior general of the Passionist Sisters, will this month fly to Chile to interview the people involved and their doctors.

If she and her delegation decide there are grounds to pursue the healings as possible miracles they will ask Catholic leaders in Chile to set up tribunals to formally gather evidence.

If Sister Elizabeth's Cause progresses as planned she will become the first British woman saint since Paul VI canonised the Reformation-era martyrs St Margaret Clitherowe, St Anne Line and St Margaret Ward - and possibly the first British saint since the Scottish Jesuit St John Ogilvie was canonised by Pope Paul in 1976.

Born in Coleham, Shrewsbury, Sister Elizabeth became a nun in her 20s after she fell under the influence of Blessed Dominic Barberi, an Italian Passionist priest working in England.

Soon afterwards she began working with the poor and caught tuberculosis. She died in St Helens in 1864 aged 43.

Passionist Sister Dominic Savio Hamer, who helped to prepare the documents for her Cause, said the nun would probably be known as "St Elizabeth of Manchester" if she was canonised.

She said that Sister Elizabeth was a woman of "great integrity and great honesty" who taught her followers to combine lives of prayer with social action.

"She was totally selfless," said Sister Dominic, who is based in Warrington, Cheshire. "She gave herself completely to God. She constantly searched for the will of God and she endured such hardships to carry out the will of God."

Sister Elizabeth is now one of at least five post-Reformation British men and women whose Causes for sainthood are being considered by the Vatican.

They include Cardinal John Henry Newman, a convert from Anglicanism whose beatification is expected to be announced by Pope Benedict XVI later this year.

The others are Fr Ignatius Spencer, the great-great-great uncle of Diana, Princess of Wales, and a relative of Winston Churchill.

The aristocratic, cricket-mad Fr Ignatius, a Passionist priest and also a convert, was a good friend of Sister Elizabeth and helped her to draw up the rules for her order.

They died the same year and now lie side by side in a side chapel in the same St Helens church where Blessed Dominic was also buried..

Other candidates for sainthood include the Venerable Mary Potter, a Londoner who founded the Little Company of Mary, an order of nursing nuns in Nottingham, in the 19th century, and Venerable Margaret Sinclair, a 20th century Scottish nun who died of tuberculosis after tending to the poor in the slums of Edinburgh.

There are also scores of beatified martyrs of the Protestant Reformation whose Causes have yet to proceed to canonisation.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Reminds Us that 'Love Is Sufficient of Itself' Watch

Image of Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the ... continue reading


Saint Clare Shows Us How The Path of Simplicity Can Lead To A Greater Love for Christ

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

We learn from St. Clare both the importance of giving one's life to Christ as well as the sublime, eternal rewards of doing so. When we leave the fleeting, temporary created objects of the world behind, no longer placing our trust in them or seeing them as inordinately ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


Memorial of Ignatius of Loyola, Priest: We are all Called to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading


Saint Alphonsus Liguori and the Chains of Love Watch

Image of Alphonsus Liguori, is the founder of the Redemptorist community. n the constitution of the community we read these words: Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of St. Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption. (Constitution #20)

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since God knew that man is enticed by favors, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: - I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me.And all the gifts which he ... continue reading


In the Major Legend, St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis - and the Lord Jesus Christ Watch

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue reading


Was St. Christopher a real saint? A new perspective

Image of Is St. Christopher real? Only you can decide for yourself.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Is Saint Christopher a real saint? This is a question debated by fans -and detractors of the historic figure of St. Christopher. Christopher was removed from the canon of Catholic Saints in 1969 since there was no evidence he existed that could satisfy Church ... continue reading


Does your marriage need help? St. Rita knows...

Image of St. Rita is the patron saint of difficult causes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is the feast day of St. Rita, who is the patroness of impossible causes, especially rough marriages and cases of domestic abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Rita had a hard life. As a child she asked her parents to enter a convent, but they arranged a ... continue reading


St. Eugene de Mazenod who cared for the poorest Watch

Image of St. Eugene organized the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to care for the world's poor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today's saint of the day is St. Eugene de Mazenod, who was born in France during the era of the French Revolution and lived through national upheaval but cared for the world's poorest, even when the Church was persecuted. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Eugene ... continue reading


St. Dymphna, patron of those with mental afflictions, pray for us! Watch

Image of The National Shrine of St. Dymphna at St. Mary Parish in Massillon, Ohio, USA.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

St. Dymphna is our Saint of the Day. Dymphna is a 7th century Irish saint, often invoked against mental illness. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Dymphna was born to a petty Irish king and was desired by her father for marriage after the death of her mother. It ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 128:1-2, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents] How blessed are all who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 23:27-32
27 'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 27th, 2014 Image

St. Monica
August 27: St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter