Nurse to Irish soldiers declared venerable

Mother Magdalen of the Sacred Heart on road to sainthood

Pope Francis has declared a nurse who converted to Catholicism after being inspired by the faith of the Irish soldiers she nursed during the Crimean War as Venerable. Francis Taylor, later as Mother Magdalen of the Sacred Heart she founded the Poor Servants of the Mother of God in 1872, aged 40.

Mother Magdalen worked in the worst slums of central London and set up refuges for prostitutes and homeless women and children. She founded the Providence Free Hospital in St Helens, Lancashire, and also took over the running of St Joseph’s Asylum in Dublin. 

By 1900 the Sisters ran over 20 houses and institutions across Britain and Ireland. Today the sisters still run a nursing home in Chapelizod, and a secondary school for girls in Raheny, Dublin.