In 1863, Pope Leo XIII gave the community his approval. Prout, also known as Mother Mary Joseph, was named the order’s first superior general. Today, the Passionist Sisters work with the poor all over the world, including countries such as Papua New Guinea, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Jamaica.
Prout died from tuberculosis at the age of 43 in Sutton, Lancashire, in 1864. She was buried in the archdiocese of Liverpool, where her cause opened in 1994.
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool welcomed the recognition of Prout’s heroic virtues.
“Her contribution to the Church and people of England and further afield in the education and healthcare through the institutions she founded and the Sisters of the congregation continues to show the care of the Catholic Church for those in need,” he said.
Prout’s body was laid to rest in the shrine of St. Anne’s Church, Sutton, where it lies alongside those of Dominic Barberi and Ignatius Spencer, an aristocratic convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism who served as a Passionist priest.
“My prayer is that the shrine at Sutton will be a place of prayer for her eventual canonization,” McMahon said.
Prout’s sainthood cause was submitted to the Vatican in 2008. If she is beatified and canonized -- which would require two verified miracles attributed to her intercession -- she would be England’s first female saint who did not suffer martyrdom in almost 800 years.
The last non-martyr English female saint was St. Margaret of Scotland, an Anglo-Saxon princess who became Queen of Scotland after William the Conqueror invaded England. She was canonized in 1250.
Passionist Sister Dominic Savio Hamer, author of the book “Elizabeth Prout: A Religious Life for Industrial England,” said: “This is wonderful news for Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“She loved Our Lord so much and also knew so much suffering in her own life and was conversant with the bad social conditions in which so many people lived in Manchester that she will be an ideal person to pray to in our difficulties today.”