Coventry Patmore (1823-1896), an English poet famous for celebrating the romance of marriage, came into the Church with his whole family in 1864. In 1873, his eldest daughter, Emily Honoria Patmore (1853-1882), a poet in her own right, entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. She took her vows in 1875 and began teaching in St. Leonard’s, Sussex. Beloved by her students and fellow Sisters (she is not a canonized saint, but her story reads as of one), she died of consumption at the age of twenty-nine.
The founding of this Society is a story in itself.
Cornelia Augusta Connelly (1809-1879) converted from Anglicanism in 1836, along with her husband and their children. Mr. Pierce Connelly, who had been an Episcopalian minister, decided in 1840 that he had a vocation to the priesthood, but it took him four years to convince his wife to agree to a Church-approved separation. She did finally agree and, with her four children, moved into the Sacred Heart Convent of Trinita dei Monti, in Rome. In 1846, Bishop Nicholas Wiseman, who was making heroic efforts for the Faith in England (he was later named Cardinal by Bl. Pius IX), asked Cornelia to come to England and establish an order to teach girls. This she did. A year later, Cornelia took religious vows, becoming Mother Cornelia, the first superior of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Father Connelly decided he wanted to participate in the new congregation, but Mother Cornelia, with good reason, refused. Furious at the rejection, he went to the civil authorities seeking “restitution of conjugal rights.” When he lost the case, Pierce Connolly left the Church and “began a campaign of vilification of Mother Cornelia and the [C]hurch, that lasted until his death in 1883.” (Encyclopedia Britannica.) This terrible scandal obscured interest in the work of and virtues of Mother Cornelia for a time, but, in 1959, her cause was presented for beatification.