From Mr Christopher Keeffe SIR – Francis Phillips’s review of the book Teresa Helena Higginson by Cecil Kerr (Books, April 17) brings to life the remarkable story of Teresa Higginson, who died in 1905. She apparently had private revelations and attempted to promote the Devotion to the Sacred Head of Jesus. But, most remarkable of all, she lived a life that was an example of Christian virtue in a difficult world and as such she is an example to us today.
As Mrs Phillips highlights a Cause for her beatification was indeed introduced. However, readers may wish to know that her Cause was formally closed by the Holy See in 1938. The imprimatur allowing devotion to the Sacred Head was revoked by Archbishop Downy of Liverpool in 1938 and this revocation was confirmed by his successor, Archbishop Godfrey, in 1949 who issued a decree prohibiting the devotion.
Mrs Philips may have a point about the lack of progress in her Cause being down to the lack of a sponsoring religious order to promote and staff the Cause as well as to fund it. However, she was buried in the Franciscan habit so she is likely to have been a Third Order Franciscan. Given that her Cause has been closed one cannot promote her Cause beyond private discussion and private devotion.
As with all Causes, any desire to reopen Teresa’s Cause would need the permission of the Church. While I do not wish to publically promote her cause in contravention of Church laws readers may find the following website, which provides information about her life and claims of interest: www.teresahigginson.com. It should be noted that the site does not appear to mention that the Cause is closed or that the imprimaturs have been withdrawn, but nonetheless it is of interest.
Yours faithfully, CHRISTOPHER KEEFFE West Harrow, Middlesex