Mother Mary Liguori Gibson (1819 – 1881)

By Bernadette Roche, R S M

Jane Frances “Fanny” Gibson wrote to Catherine McAuley, March 1841, requesting admission to the community in Baggot Street. She was accepted and entered on 16 May. Catherine herself instructed the novices during Fanny’s time when Cecilia Marmion (the novice mistress) was in Birmingham.Fanny was dogged with a less than robust constitution for much of her life and was frequently sick.< p/>

Fanny received the habit on 19th August, 1841, taking the name Sister Mary Liguori. The ceremony included the professions of Juliana Hardman, and Vincent Whitty and Sister M. Liguori remained friends with these Foundresses until her death.Fanny’s sister, Mrs. Leigh, died while she was in retreat before reception. Her brother, Michael, asked that she be told of it, but Catherine felt it wiser for her to make her clothing retreat first. The news was great blow to her. The following day, the Birmingham party sailed for Liverpool. Mother McAuley requested Sister M. Liguori as a travelling companion for the trip.Sister Liguori never forgot the month she spent with Catherine in Birmingham, nor the Foundress’s consideration for her family.< /p>

Sister Mary Liguori was professed on 12th July 1843 and the founding party sailed from Dublin on the Iron Duke on 28th August, for Liverpool with Sister de Sales White as superior, Aloysius Consitt, Teresa French, Baptist Geraghty and Martha Walplate. Sister Liguori was elected superior in 1849 and apart from a break of three years remained in this office for the rest of her life.