nun is on course to become
MOTHER ELIZABETH PROUT labored in the slums of Victorian Manchester and towns of North West England until her death at 43 from tuberculosis.
The so-called “Mother Teresa of Manchester” opened a chain of schools for poor children and homes for destitute women across the industrialized region, and was ahead of her time in teaching women crucial skills to earn their own livings.
The breakthrough in the cause was revealed by Sister Dominic Savio Hamer, her biographer and a member of the Passionist Sisters, the order founded by Mother Elizabeth in 1854. Writing in the Christmas edition of the Shrewsbury Catholic Voice, she said: ““We can imitate Elizabeth Prout in many ways and pray to her with confidence.”
“She was such a practical person – so entirely God-centred, so forgetful of self, so generous in giving herself to others, so willing to suffer in union with Our Lord’s Passion, always so that God’s will might be done.”
At the age
of 28 she became a nun and a few years later was given a teaching post in some
of the poorest areas of industrial
time, poverty in
Four years later one observer described the Angel Meadow district as “the lowest,most filthy, most unhealthy and most wicked locality in Manchester… the home of prostitutes, their bullies, thieves, codgers, vagrants, tramps, and in the very worst sties of filth and darkness… the low Irish”.
It was in such a social context that Mother Elizabeth developed a reputation for her tireless efforts in teaching, sheltering, feeding and nursing the needy and opening an archipelago of schools and hostels across the most poverty-stricken parts of the region.
After other women joined her, she founded a religious community, but many people, including Catholics, criticized the new institute for its so-called “revolutionary ideas” – namely that of obliging nuns to earn their own wages to support themselves and by showing other women how to do the same.
She can certainly be an intercessor to so many of the world's poor who are suffering under horrendous conditions- a sin in the day and age of such wealth.