Formal Blessing

In 1907 Mrs. Taaffe moved from Killiney to 43 Eglinton Road, Donnybrook. Apart from reasons of health she was influenced to make this change by the development of her work and the necessity of a more central position. She was now in her seventy-fifth year and was visibly ageing. Assistance at Mass in her parish church was becoming more and more difficult; but His Holiness Pius X, who knew the story of Mrs. Taaffe’s untiring zeal for the Church, solved the difficulty by granting her the privilege of a private oratory. The papal indult was of an amplitude rarely granted; for it allowed Mass to be celebrated every day in the year except Easter Sunday and one other feast day. A Jesuit Father from Milltown Park officiated every Sunday, Holiday and First Friday.

The future of her work was now becoming a source of anxiety to Mrs. Taaffe and her associates. Though a Committee of Management had been in existence for some years, still the burden of responsibility resting on her shoulders. The committee was, in a certain sense, a family affair; it had no clear mandate from an external or national body of supporters. Created in a somewhat haphazard fashion, it had worked smoothly and efficiently in laying the foundations. But the super structure that had been reared on these foundations called for a more carefully planned organisation. The Committee, however, felt that formal Episcopal sanction of the whole work ought to be obtained before it proceeded to draft a new constitution.

Individual bishops, of course, knew all about the work of Mrs. Taaffe and gave it their warmest approval. However, the Committee felt that a joint commendation from the Hierarchy would contribute enormously to the success of the work. It would give the organisation a national or quasi-national character, and so stamped its appeal in the interests of China and the Far East would carry all the more weight. The Maynooth Mission to China had not yet been started, nor was the conversion of the pagan East.

It was decided therefore, that a formal request for approval should be sent to the Hierarchy. Sir John Ross of Bladensburg, President of St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society since 1909, was delegated to convey that request. A statement of the present position of the Society and of the proposed reorganisation was drawn up and was presented by him to his Eminence Cardinal Logue. Copies were also sent to each of the Archbishops. The application was received with every mark of favour. At a General Meeting of the Hierarchy, held at Maynooth on October 13, 1915, their Lordships communicated the following resolution to the Press:

"The Cardinal, Archbishop, and Bishops of Ireland have read with deep interest and satisfaction the recent report of St. Joseph’s Young Priests Missionary Association, instituted for the purpose of educating priests to preach the Gospel in China and the Far East. The work is in the highest sense apostolic, and we rejoice at its success. We heartily commend the work of the Association to the support of our Catholic people. The smallest annual contribution, if taken up generally through the country, would enable the Committee of Management to extend the sphere of this truly apostolic work."

But the Lordships were not content with this mark of appreciation. They felt that the Foundress and her great work for the Church should be brought formally to the notice of Benedict XV., and that His Holiness should be humbly asked to bestow His Apostolic Blessing upon her and upon all co-operators in her work. They also asked for a special blessing to be imparted to all students volunteering for the Far East and to their parents. His Holiness graciously granted both Blessings.

Charity Number: CHY 1508 -