CNA Staff, Feb 25, 2021 / 13:00 pm
A religious order announced on Thursday that it had withdrawn an application to exhume the body of its US-born founder following an outcry in England, where the nun is buried.
In a Feb. 25 statement, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus said that it had abandoned plans to transfer part of the mortal remains of the Venerable Cornelia Connelly to Philadelphia.
“A decision has been made to withdraw the application to the Historic Churches Commission for the exhumation of the Venerable Cornelia Connelly,” said the statement signed by Veronica Openibo, Pauline Darby, Cecilia Nya, and Marie Ursino, members of the Society Leadership Team.
Connelly, who was born in Philadelphia in 1809, died in 1879 in the English town of St. Leonards-on-Sea, where she founded a school.
The mother of five, convert, and founder of a religious congregation was buried in the Convent Cemetery in Mayfield, East Sussex. But her body was moved in 1935 to the chapel of Mayfield School, which she established in 1872.
Her order hoped to transfer her remains to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia. An announcement about the move was still visible on the cathedral’s website on the morning of Feb. 25 but was later removed.
It said: “The sacred remains of the foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Venerable Cornelia Connelly, soon will be translated from England to a new tomb in our Cathedral Basilica.”
“Venerable Cornelia Connelly is a native Philadelphian and her cause for canonization is well underway. Her tomb will be located in the rear of the Basilica on the Race Street side.”