As professed religious
of the greater Franciscan Family, we rejoice that in the 19th century
Elizabeth Hayes firmly planted our roots in Franciscan spirituality, mission,
history and literature. In her
spirit, we strive to live according to the Rule and Life of the Brothers and
Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St Francis of
. Elizabeth Hayes (1823-94) is an
interesting woman of talented forebears who through love of reading, culture and
journeys sought to serve her God through outreach to others.
Passport Photo of Foundress
her early twenties after the death of both her parents
and there became a teacher. In turn
she embraced the Oxford Movement, the pioneer Wantage Anglican sisterhood,
Catholicism in 1856 and then the Franciscan movement when a neo-monastic revival
found enthusiasts in both Catholic and Anglican churches.
community she joined was led by Mother Elizabeth Lockhart in Greenwich, yet
after having received the habit from Henry Edward (later Cardinal) Manning in
Bayswater, London, she went to make her novitiate with the Glasgow Franciscans
of the Immaculate Conception, a group who trace their roots back to the French
Grey Sisters and to the 14th century Franciscan, Angela of Foligno.
took a fourth vow to serve the foreign missions.
This vow together with her background in education were strong influences
on the direction she gave to her own foundation.
’s desire for mission in foreign places fired her with a courageous
determination and she went to
after her profession but she was disillusioned by having to teach daughters of
the rich when her dream was to work with the poor.
She felt called to something quite different and obtained permission to
leave and begin the search for God’s will once again.
spent years seeking the path she was to follow…searching
for her dream…years that called for extraordinary faith and courage.
She had a bold and broad vision yet her capacity to mingle comfortably
with key religious and literary figures of the period in
set her apart. Finally, she laid the foundations of our Institute in Belle
in 1872. Here she began her first
school in 1873 and the next year published the first Franciscan journal in
English, the Annals of Our Lady of the
took numerous trans-Atlantic crossings in her stride and her zeal for the
accomplishment of the reign of God was supported by hard work and fearless
activity. She held fast to her call
to be a missionary and she fulfilled that as foundress, educationalist and
that time our Sisters have left their footprints on many countries serving in
more detailed History of the Institute is available on http://www.mficaust.org.au/history.html)