Pope Francis has declared Shrewsbury-born religious sister Mother Elizabeth Prout to be Venerable – a move that puts her a crucial step closer to final recognition as a saint.
The Pope authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree on January 21 formally recognising that the Servant of God Mother Elizabeth Prout lived a life of heroic virtue.
The announcement means that the Catholic Church has concluded its theological and historical investigations into the life and work of the so-called “Mother Teresa of Manchester”.
It will now search for two miracles as supernatural signs from God that Mother Elizabeth is a saint.
The first will lead to her beatification, when she will be given the title “Blessed” and the second will lead to her canonisation.
The announcement was welcomed by Reverend Malcolm McMahon, the Archbishop of Liverpool and leader of the archdiocese in which Mother Elizabeth is buried and where her sainthood cause was opened in 1994.
The archbishop said he would like to see her shrine in St Helens become a place of prayer for her canonisation.
The Reverend Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, who has repeatedly called for prayers for the progress of Mother Elizabeth’s sainthood cause, also welcomed the announcement by the Holy See.
He suggested that Mother Elizabeth’s heroic service to poor people who were afflicted by outbreaks of cholera and typhoid in the Victorian era served as fine example in the contemporary age benighted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Archbishop McMahon said: “I am delighted that the Holy See has further recognised the holiness of Mother Elizabeth Prout.”