Elizabeth Prout – Mother Mary Joseph

Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion

elizabeth-prou-a4Elizabeth Prout was born in Shrewsbury, England, in 1820. Her parents baptised her in the Anglican Church. In her early twenties she became a Catholic.

Elizabeth moved to Manchester in 1849. There, touched by the misery and deprivation of the poor, she and a few companions came together to form a community to help the voiceless downtrodden workers in the large industrial towns of nineteenth-century England.

The community was directed and helped by two Passionists, Father Gaudentius Rossi and Father Ignatius Spencer. The rule was based on that of St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists. Elizabeth recognised that the Passion of Jesus is the great sign of God’s love reaching out to those in pain.

Now known as Mother Mary Joseph, Elizabeth continued to meet the challenges presented to her in her life of suffering, and to grow in solidarity with the crucified of the world. She died on 11th January 1864 at Sutton, St. Helens, Lancashire.

Her body, together with that of Blessed Dominic Barberi C.P. and Father Ignatius Spencer C.P. lies in the shrine of St Anne’s church, Sutton. People gather around the shrine annually, to commemorate their lives.

Hymn in honour of Elizabeth Prout sung and composed by Liam Lawton.

Who would hear His voice
Who would see his eyes
Who would walk his way
Reveal his truth, his life
Who would speak his word
To lift us should we fall
Broken for the Broken
In tender love for all.

Who would bear the light
Where shadows still abide
Lift the weary hearts to
Journey side by side
Who would speak with hope
In words to calm all fear
Broken for the broken
Revealing God so near.

Tell the world of God’s great compassion
Fan the flame in brightness arrayed
In God’s love our hearts are re–fashioned
Holy Lord, you call us each by name.

Who will bring to life
The dry and barren land
Feed the homeless poor
So all might understand
What you do to one
You do unto the Lord
Broken for the Broken
To touch the face of God.

Who will dare to dream
Believe ~ beyond all doubt
God had chosen you ~
O bless’d Elizabeth Prout
A woman for all time
Of passion, love and truth
Broken for the broken
We pledge our lives anew.