Crimean War nurse could be made a saint
Frances Margaret Taylor, a nursing pioneer and contemporary of Florence Nightingale, could become the next English person to be made a saint, according to religious commentators.
Last month the pope declared she had lived a life of “heroic virtue” and bestowed on her the titled of “venerable”, according to a statement issued on 13 June by the Vatican.
This means the Vatican will now search for evidence of two healing miracles that are needed to proclaim her a saint under the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.
Born in 1832 in Lincolnshire, Frances Taylor spent most of the rest of her life in London. She died in Soho in 1900.
In December 1854 she went to Turkey to act as a volunteer nurse during the Crimean War, two months after Florence Nightingale had made the same journey.
She nursed briefly with Ms Nightingale at Scutari Hospital, before moving to another military hospital at Koulali.
Writing under the name “Fanny” Taylor, she recorded her wartime experiences in a book titled Eastern Hospitals and English Nurses, which is considered one of the earliest eye-witness accounts of life in military hospitals.
In the book she described how there were just three allotted to every 1,500 patients and criticised poor administration that led to a failure to properly equip and feed the British Army.
She wrote how nurses witnessed “hourly” the “flower of the British Army cut down in the prime of their youth and strength”.
The final edition of the book, published in 1857, included an impassioned appeal for reform of the public nursing system and of the way the poor were treated by contemporary society.
In 1855 she converted from the Church of England to the Roman Catholic Church, after being impressed by injured Irish soldiers in her charge, according to a recent article in the Catholic Herald.
Back in London after the war, Margaret Taylor became a nun and took the religious name of Sister Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Heart.
In 1872 she founded the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, a religious order that sought to help poor people in Westminster and which now works across Europe.
It is said that she experienced extreme insomnia as a result of her traumatic experiences nursing in the Crimea.