Ignatius of St Paul
(1799-1864), born as Hon. George
Spencer, was a son of
Earl Spencer. He converted from Anglicanism to the Roman Catholic Church,
entered the Passionist Order in 1841, and spent his life working for the
conversion of England to the Catholic faith. He is also known as the
'Apostle of Prayer for England'.
In Rome Spencer met
Dominic Barberi, the Passionist
priest with such enthusiasm for the conversion of England to the Catholic
faith. Father Dominic would later have a great part to play in George's
Crusade of Prayer for England
During a visit to France in 1838 George proposed a
of Prayer for the Conversion of England'
to the Archbishop of Paris. Many of George's influential friends joined
this campaign and news of it spread throughout Britain and the Empire. In
January 1840 George visited John Henry Newman at Oriel College, Oxford to
ask Newman to join him in prayer for "unity in truth", Newman sent him away
and refused even to see Spencer, but later apologized for this in his
George's 'Crusade' did not
only meet with Newman's opposition, but also within the Catholic Church in
England. He was also greatly pleased to receive the blessing of Pope Pius IX who granted a number
of indulgences for those who would pray for England.
Father Ignatius, Passionist
On January 5 1847 George Spencer received
the Passionist habit from the hands of his old friend Father Dominic Barberi
who had brought the Congregation to England in 1841. George received the
religious name Father Ignatius of Saint Paul, the name he would be known by
ever after. Ignatius threw himself into Passionist life and after making his
religious profession in 1848 began preaching sermons throughout Britain and
Ireland, always calling for prayers for the conversion of England.