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Saturday, 29 November 2008

Teresa Higginson biography republished

The 1927 biography of Teresa Helena Higginson by Lady Cecil Kerr has been republished by Gracewing with an introduction by Fr Paul Haffner. (404 pages £17.99) There is a dedicated website for Teresa Higginson; this is the introduction from there:
Teresa Higginson (1844-1905) was a saintly Catholic schoolteacher. She was born in North Wales, lived most of her life in North West England and Edinburgh, Scotland and died in Chudleigh, Devon. It seems she received many supernatural gifts from God, such as healing, prophecy, bilocation and the stigmata. It is claimed that she was chosen by Christ to make known the devotion to his Sacred Head as the Seat of Divine Wisdom. This would be a remedy for a time of extraordinary intellectual pride and falling-away from faith. It would not only be the completion of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, but the crowning of all devotions. In fact it was prophesied as the one great means for the conversion of England.
I remember many years ago looking at some of the original correspondence which was, at that time, at St Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate. I also read through a lengthy correspondence in the Tablet in the late 1930s. This was brought to an abrupt end when the paper received a hint from the Holy Office that her cause was not to be proceeded with. How times change!

If I remember rightly, the reason for hesitation was some fear that there might be a confusion with some aspects of devotion to the Holy Face that were under suspicion. The devotion to the Sacred Head is , in fact, quite a different thing and very much a devotion for our time. The Sacred Head of Jesus is venerated as the seat of Divine Wisdom, just as his Sacred Heart is venerated as the seat of Divine Love.

Certainly there is intellectual pride and a widespread falling away from the faith. I must have another read of the biography (I have a first edition). It is great that Fr Haffner has done the introduction to the new edition - he is a fine scholar and teacher, especially interested in the relationship between science and religion. He has written several theology text books published by Gracewing.
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