Archive for the ‘Ambrose Phillipps De Lisle’ Tag

Feast of Elizabeth Prout and Venerable Ignatius Spencer (January 10)   1 comment

Above:  The Union Jack

Images in the Public Domain

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VENERABLE IGNATIUS SPENCER (DECEMBER 21, 1799-OCTOBER 1, 1864)

Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest, and Apostle of Ecumenical Prayer

Born George Spencer

Also known as Father Ignatius of Saint Paul

mentor of

ELIZABETH PROUT (SEPTEMBER 2, 1820-JANUARY 11, 1864)

Foundress of the Cross and Passion

Also known as Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus

The Roman Catholic Church is in the process of eventually canonizing Prout and Spencer.  Holy Mother Church has her procedures, which take much time.  So be it.  On this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I canonize them and place their commemorations on the same date. One cannot properly tell the story of one of these saints without recounting the story of the other one.

GEORGE (IGNATIUS) SPENCER

Image in the Public Domain

George Spencer came from a wealthy, prominent, and Anglican family.  He, born in London on December 21, 1799, was a son of Lady Lavinia Bingham and George Spencer, the Second Earl Spencer, the First Lord of the Admiralty.  Our saint, well-educated, studied at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge.  In 1819, when Spencer toured Europe with his parents, he did not find Roman Catholicism impressive.  Our saint, ordained to the diaconate of The Church of England in 1822 then to the priesthood two years later, was an attentive priest at Bringham for six years, until 1830.  Then he resigned to convert to Roman Catholicism.

Spencer, as an Anglican priest, became interested in patristics, which he read closely.  Ambrose Phillipps De Lisle (1809-1878), who had converted to Roman Catholicism in 1823, proved instrumental in Spencer’s conversion, as did various Roman Catholic priests.

Spencer spent 1830-1832 in Rome, where he studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood.  His mentor in the Eternal City was Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), the Apostle to England.  Barberi went on to be crucial in the conversion of John Henry Newman (1801-1890), scheduled to become a full saint in October 2019, in 1845.  Spencer, ordained a deacon then a priest in 1832, returned to England that year.  His duties over time ranged from being a parish priest to being a chaplain to seminarians, but he eventually became a well-traveled and popular preacher instead.

In 1838 Spencer founded the Crusade of Prayer for the Conversion of England.  This project aroused opposition within the Roman Catholic Church and outside it, as hoped to convert England back to Holy Mother Church.  This work filled much of Spencer’s time for the rest of his life; even after he joined the Passionists in 1847 and became Father Ignatius of Saint Paul.  Spencer worked very hard and maintained a rigorous schedule.

ELIZABETH PROUT

Image in the Public Domain

Elizabeth Prout also grew up an Anglican.  She, born to an Anglican mother and a lapsed Roman Catholic father, entered the world at Coleham, Shrewsbury, on September 2, 1820.  Her parents initially opposed her conversion to Roman Catholicism (by the hand of Blessed Dominic Barberi) in her early twenties.  Later, however, her parents converted, also.

Prout found a spiritual mentor, Father Gaudentius Rossi (1817-1891).  With his encouragement, she joined the Sisters of the Holy Infant in Northampton, in 1848.  When the order proved to be a bad fit for her, he invited Prout to teach in the school attached to his parish, St. Chad’s, Manchester.  She accepted.  Our saint worked with poor people in that industrial setting.  Prout organized a small, informal, community of women to work among the industrial poor of Manchester.  With Rossi’s help, that community became the Institute of the Holy Family on November 21, 1852.  Prout became Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus.  The sisters were poor, too, as they focused on helping impoverished women.

PROUT AND SPENCER

The sisters, who relocated to Sutton, St. Helens, in 1855, did have patrons, tough.  They needed patrons if they were to operate schools, such as the one at Sutton, and to help the poor.  One of these patrons was Father Ignatius Spencer, who took over from Rossi, transferred to the United States in 1855.  Spencer helped Prout reform the Institute of the Holy Family along Passionist lines.  In 1863 he took the new rule (replacing the old rule, which Rossi had written) of the order to Rome and secured the approval of Pope Pius IX.  Prout, who overworked herself and whose health was failing, became the first Mother General.

Prout, who taught in or founded nine schools, died, aged 43 years, on January 11, 1864.

The order became the Sisters of the Cross and Passion in 1874.

Spencer, who worked himself to death, did not survive the year, either.  On October 1, 1864, after returning from a mission trip to Scotland, he was Carstains when he had a heart attack, fell into a ditch.  There he died alone.  He was 64 years old.

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Loving God, we thank you for the holy lives of your servants,

Elizabeth Prout and Venerable Ignatius Spencer.

May we, inspired by their examples,

dedicate our lives to glorifying you and improving the lives of the less fortunate.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Leviticus 19:9-18

Luke 1:46-55

Acts 6:1-7

Matthew 28:16-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE PRIESTS’ EUCHARISTIC LEAGUE; AND ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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