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Bishops approve Cause of Sister who reached out to the lapsed

By on Tuesday, 12 November 2013

US bishops gather at the at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore (Photo: CNS)

US bishops gather at the at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore (Photo: CNS)

The Cause of a founder of a US religious order devoted to person-to-person ministry has been approved by the US bishops.

On the first day of their general assembly in Baltimore, the bishops agreed to a request from Cardinal Timothy Dolan to proceed with the next step in the canonisation process for Mother Mary Teresa Tallon.

In April Cardinal Dolan, acting as the archbishop of New York, signed the edict officially opening the diocesan inquiry into Mother Tallon’s life, heroic virtues, reputation for holiness and events attributed to her intercession.

The order’s motherhouse is in Monroe, in the Archdiocese of New York. Mother Tallon is buried on the grounds of the motherhouse.

The cardinal asked for the bishops’ endorsement as the local bishop promoting her Cause. Their vote came after consultation held toward the end of the morning session of the meeting; episcopal consultation is a step in the Catholic Church’s canonisation process.

Mary Teresa Tallon was born in Hanover, New York, on May 6, 1867, to Irish immigrants. At 19 she joined the Holy Cross Sisters in South Bend, Indiana, and for 33 years taught poor and neglected children in Catholic schools.

In 1920, she founded a new order, the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, as a community focused on contemplation and door-to-door, personal ministry. As explained in a biography of Mother Tallon on her order’s website, she particularly wanted to “reclaim lapsed and uninstructed Catholics for the heart of the Good Shepherd”.

The biography said that “even as a young girl, she was seen to be magnetic, compelling and persuasive. People were drawn to her and held by her fervour and enthusiasm, especially for the things of God”.

She died in 1954, leaving behind a community that continues its person-to-person ministry in New York, New Jersey, the Diocese of Phoenix and in dioceses in Nigeria and the Philippines.