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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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Benedictine nun, 82, unveils mural of the ‘Saint of Soho’

 

A mural of a Sister dubbed “the Saint of Soho” has been unveiled at the religious house where she was buried.

The painting of Venerable Frances (Magdalen) Taylor is on display at the Kairos Centre in Roehampton, London, close to her tomb.

Venerable Frances was a contemporary of Florence Nightingale and she became a Catholic after she was impressed by the faith of dying Irish soldiers she was nursing during the Crimean War.

She went on to found the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, a congregation recently active in the Diocese of Shrewsbury through St Joseph’s Family Centre in Warrington.

The mural, measuring about 7ft by 4ft, is the work of Mother Joanna Jamieson, 82, a former Abbess of the Benedictine Stanbrook Abbey near Wass, North Yorkshire.

The painting took Mother Joanna three years to create. It was commissioned in 2014 after Pope Francis declared Frances to be Venerable as part of her journey towards canonisation as a saint.

It depicts Venerable Frances observing the corporal works of mercy flowing through the charism that God has given to her.

“The large interlocking curved shapes attempt to depict the dynamic flow of the sap of the Spirit through the branches to produce the fruit,” Mother Joanna (pictured left) told her audience.

“The flow of movement embracing the vine, Mother Magdalen (Frances) and Sisters endeavours to convey the inter-penetration of past, present and future,” she explained.

“Mother Magdalen is totally caught up into this vigorous and joyous movement: she sees in amazement the wonders the Lord has done in her and through her since her experience of nursing dying soldiers in the Crimean War.

“In the vignettes, her Sisters practise the works of mercy – feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit those in prison and the sick.”

The mural was formally unveiled by Kenneth Campbell, the great grandnephew of Venerable Frances.

The youngest of 10 children of an Anglican vicar from Lincolnshire, Frances was 22 when she volunteered to join Florence Nightingale in Scutari, Turkey, nursing casualties of the war with Russia.

In 1869 she established her congregation and went on to open refuges for prostitutes and homeless women and children in London, and hospitals in Lancashire and Ireland, among some 20 institutions she founded in Britain and Europe.

She established her Convent of Our Lady of Pity in 1874 in Soho Square, London, as a base to serve the poor and she died there in 1900 after falling ill en route to Rome.

Today her order continues to work with the poor around the world – and is active in the US, Italy, Venezuela and Kenya – and in the UK is particularly active in the care of the elderly and the disabled.

 

 

(Photos by Simon Caldwell)