Feast of Maude Dominica Petre (December 16)   1 comment


Above:  Churchyard, St. Mary the Virgin Church, Storrington, England

Image Source = http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/869758

Copyright Holder = Slbs



Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian

Maude Dominica Petre was a faithful Christian and a champion of intellectual freedom.

Our saint, born on August 4, 1863, was a native of Margaretting, Essex, England.  She grew up in a Roman Catholic family.  Petre, at the age of 22 years, followed her confessor’s advice regarding how best to deal with her religious doubts to studying the works of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy, for a year.  Later, in 1890, she joined the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, a relatively liberal order.  Six years later Petre became a local superior in the order.  In 1900 she rose to the position of provincial.

Modernism was controversial within the Roman Catholic Church.  In 1907 Pope Pius X issued the encyclical Lamentabili Sane, in which he condemned the philosophy as heretical.  Since 1900 Petre had been a friend and ally of George Tyrrell (1861-1909), a Modernist, mystic, and Jesuit theologian expelled from the Society of Jesus in 1906.  The following year she published Catholicism and Independence:  Being Studies in Spiritual Liberty.  The order expelled her and the Church excommunicated her.  Our saint’s two-volume biography (1912) of Tyrrell found a place on the Index of Forbidden Books immediately.

Petre always considered herself a faithful Roman Catholic, despite her problems with the Vatican.  She died in London on December 16, 1942, aged 79 years.  Her burial occurred in the same Anglican cemetery as that of Tyrrell; Roman Catholic officials forbade burial in a Catholic cemetery.

I am convinced that no honest theological question should ever be off-limits to any person.  God, I affirm, takes no offense at sincere questions and doubts.  Indeed, working through doubts and questions is one way of arriving at truth.  This is my preferred method of doing so.

Because I said so

is not a sufficient reason from any ecclesiastical authority to a question of theology.  On the other hand, as one who puts theological propositions to the test routinely understands well, there are truths; they survive the most vigorous human attempts to challenge and disprove them.

Petre understood these principles well.





Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom, and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Maude Dominica Petre,

and we pray that by her teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61


One response to “Feast of Maude Dominica Petre (December 16)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of George Tyrrell (July 16) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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