Central Congregational Archive of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God
Name of Repository: Central Congregational archive of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God
Name of Parent Organisation: Congregation of the Poor Servants of the Mother
of God (SMG)
St. Mary’s Convent
Phone no.: 020-8568-7305
Fax no.: 020-8847-0804
Mr. Paul Shaw
Access: External Researchers are admitted by appointment only, on application to the archivist and subject to the approval of the generalate of the congregation.
Historical Background: The order was founded by Frances Margaret Taylor (1832-1900), a Roman Catholic convert from Anglicanism who had served as a nurse in the Crimean War, and whose account of her experiences was published as Eastern Hospitals and English Nurses (1856). Frances Taylor had established a considerable reputation as a journalist and author, being the founder editor of the Catholic periodical The Month (1864-5). One of her most notable works was Irish Homes and Irish Hearts (1866) an account of Irish religious orders. As Mother Magdalen of the Sacred Heart she was to be the first superior of the order, founded in London in 1869, which by the turn of the century administered over 20 houses and institutions, including the Providence Free Hospital, St. Helens. Great assistance was given to the order in its early years by the support of distinguished clerical and lay Catholics, including Cardinal H. E. Manning (1808-1892), and the novelist and philanthropist Lady Georgiana Fullerton (1812-1885). The order was focused upon work in England and Ireland, but also had houses in Italy and France; more recently it has extended its charitable work to the USA, Africa and South America. Houses were acquired in Roehampton in 1876 and 1927, and the generalate continues to be based there.
Holdings: include papers of Frances Taylor and her family; records relating to the early years of the congregation, including correspondence with prominent Catholic clergy such as H. E. Manning and
J. H. Newman; papers and literary MSS. of Lady Georgiana Fullerton; records of the various works and institutions administered by the congregation, including hospitals, workhouses, refuges and care homes in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.
Mother Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Heart, Foundress of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God by F. C. Devas (London, 1927)
Born to Love, Fanny Margaret Taylor by Mother M. Geraldine SMG (London, 1970)
A Woman of her Time and Ours – Mary Magdalen Taylor SMG by Ruth Gilpin Wells (2nd edn, Charlotte NC, USA, 1994)
Frances Taylor, Mother Magdalen SMG, a Portrait 1832-1900 by Sr Eithne Leonard (Maryfield Convent, Roehampton, 2005)