The Venerable Father Ignatius Spencer CP
It was with great happiness that I heard the news on 20 February 2021 that Fr Ignatius Spencer CP was declared by the Catholic Church as having lived a life of heroic virtue and may now be called ‘venerable’. To get this news so soon after the very recent declaration of Sr Elizabeth Prout CP as ‘venerable’ is a remarkable grace to the Passionist Order and to the Archdiocese.
These two Victorian Catholics are as relevant to the mission of the Church today as they were in their lifetimes. They show us how to reach out beyond ourselves and respond to suffering due to poverty and deprivation. My prayer is that the shrine at St Anne’s, Sutton, which harbours the mortal remains of three great Passionists – Blessed Dominic Barberi, Venerable Elizabeth Prout and the now Venerable Ignatius Spencer – will increase as a centre of devotion and prayer in the Archdiocese. All three of these great disciples loved the poor and worked tirelessly for their bodily and spiritual wellbeing.
Venerable Ignatius, who had left behind a life of privilege, devoted himself tirelessly to visiting the poor, giving food and all his personal possessions to those in need. His preaching and writings showed him to be a true disciple of Jesus and in his daily life he lived out the passion of Our Lord in heroic fashion. His life of service is a true example to his living relatives, Prince William and Prince Harry, and is to be emulated by us all.
Malcolm McMahon OP
Archbishop of Liverpool