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VEN. IGNATIUS SPENCER

Father Ignatius of St Paul (1799-1864), born as Hon. George Spencer, was a son of the Second 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'.

Conversion to Catholicism

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 life.

Crusade of Prayer for England

During a visit to France in 1838 George proposed a 'Crusade 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 Apologia.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
   

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