A bishop has urged the faithful to “pray hard” for the canonisation of a Victorian religious Sister dubbed “the saint of Soho”.
Auxiliary Bishop Nicholas Hudson of Westminster made his plea just months after the Pope formally recognised the “heroic virtues” of Mother Magdalen Taylor and declared her to be “Venerable”.
The Poor Servants of the Mother of God, founded by Mother Magdalen, are now keen to find the two miracles required to recognise her as a saint.
The comments of Bishop Hudson came at the end of a Mass of Thanksgiving for the progress of her Cause at St Patrick’s Church in Soho. Bishop Hudson said: “Let us resolve to pray hard that if it is God’s will He might raise her to the status of a canonised saint.” The same plea was made at the start of the Mass by Sister Mary Whelan, the superior general of an order which has 200 sisters working in places as far afield as Kenya, the United States, Venezuela, Italy, Britain and Ireland.
She led the procession into the church carrying the position, a book compiled for the Vatican to show Mother Magdalen’s life of virtue.
Sister Mary then explained Mother Magdalen’s attachment to Soho, where she established her Convent of Our Lady of Pity in 1874 as a base to serve the poor and “where she breathed her last breath” on June 9 1900. “Soho has been a place of pilgrimage for Servants of the Mother of God ever since,” she said. “Venerable Magdalen Taylor walked the streets of Soho, worshipped in St Patrick’s Church and loved the people who lived around here,” she said. “So if Venerable Mother Magdalen is canonised one day, she is one of our saints and the ‘saint of Soho’, another of our own with Jesus whom we are sure will pray for us and for all we hold in our hearts.”
Born Frances Taylor, Mother Magdalen nursed casualties in the Crimean War alongside Florence Nightingale and converted to Catholicism after she was impressed by the faith of dying Irish soldiers.