"We are saddened by any pain and upset this move causes. The society believes that by being in the cathedral, alongside St. Katherine Drexel, another Philadelphia founder, Cornelia's life, legacy and our charism will have the potential to be recognized, seen and shared by a larger number of people, allowing a greater spotlight on her work and cause for canonization."
According to a biography on the order's website, Connelly was born into an affluent family and raised as a Presbyterian. After she was orphaned at the age of 14, she was baptized in the Episcopal Church and married a clergyman, the Rev. Pierce Connelly.
The marriage was reportedly happy, although one of their five children died at the age of six weeks and another died at the age of two after being knocked into a vat of boiling sugar by a dog.
Both she and her husband converted to Catholicism. Pierce Connelly believed that he had a vocation to the Catholic priesthood. In 1845, she took a vow of perpetual chastity, enabling her husband to train for the priesthood, after he refused to heed her requests to reconsider.
She then began to explore a vocation to religious life, desiring to found an order called the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Pope Gregory XVI asked her to establish the foundation in England, which was undergoing a Catholic revival after centuries of persecution. She founded the order in 1846.
She became involved in a painful dispute with her husband, who demanded that she return to him. In 1849, he filed suit in a British court. The case, which was highly publicized, was finally dismissed in 1858.
In 1862, six sisters from England brought the Society to the United States. Today the order is present in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe.
The first steps to open Connelly's canonization cause took place in 1953. Pope John Paul II declared her "Venerable" in 1992, recognizing that her life was marked by heroic virtue.