Janet Erskine Stuart

Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ (11 November 1857, Cottesmore, Rutland, England – 21 October 1914, Roehampton, England), also known as Mother Janet Stuart, was an English Roman Catholic nun and educator. She founded a number of schools.

Janet Erskine Stuart

Stuart left the Church of England and converted to the Catholic Church in 1879. She joined the Society of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton three years later[1] and, in 1911, became Superior General of the Society.[2]

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Stuart was born on 11 November 1857 in Cottesmore, Rutland[3] where her father, The Reverend the Honourable Andrew Godfrey Stuart, a son of Earl Castle Stewart, was the Rector. Her mother, his second wife, was Mary Penelope Noel, a relative of the Earl of Gainsborough. She was the youngest of thirteen children in the family.

Stuart lost her mother at the age of 3, and her older sister therefore became her surrogate mother. By the age of 6 she had become well acquainted with Bible stories and would often look at theological questions with her brother. She lived in rural Rutland and would often explore the land around her, developing a deep love of flora and fauna, as well as an ability to find comfort and relief in nature.[4] This connection with nature helped Stuart find peace when her older sister, who had acted as a surrogate mother for her, died. Stuart continued to develop and search for her relationship with God into her early adulthood, when she met Priest Fr. Galloway who became her spiritual mentor and friend. Start felt that the Catholic Church would give her the most freedom in her spirituality and converted in 1879.[5] Due to the strong religious divide in England at the time, and being the daughter of the evangelical rector, this conversion cost Stuart her relationship with her family as she left the Church of England.[6]

Catholic vocationEdit

At the age of 21, Stuart converted to Roman Catholicism on 6 March 1879.[7] In 1882, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton,[3] where she would spend the next 30 years of her religious life.[8] Stuart was named Mistress of Novices on 12 February 1889,[9] which began her three decades of serving as secretary and associate of the Mother Superior. In 1894 she became Superior of the community in Roehampton, then Superior of Vicar of England. In this role, Stuart studied social injustice in her community, taught Sunday school, and advocated on behalf of poor tenant farmers.[10] On 27 August 1911, she was elected as the sixth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In this role, Stuart made it her mission to become personally acquainted with all the religious and visit every community affiliated with the Society in the world. Stuart proceeded to visit almost every RSCJ community around the world and travelled extensively throughout the United States and Latin America.[11] She also visited convents from Europe to Egypt, Australia, Japan, Canada, and the United States. Stuart directed the Society’s administration from their main office in Ixelles, Brussels until 1914, when she had to return to Roehampton due to the German occupation of Brussels that began in August of 1914. Janet Erskine Stuart died on 21 October 1914.[12] Many Religious of the Sacred Heart, other congregations, and individuals have been inspired by her conferences, essays, and poetry.[13]

WritingsEdit

Her writings included The Education of Catholic Girls (1912), The Society of the Sacred Heart (1914), and Highways and By-ways in the Spiritual Life.[3] Stuart contributed also to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

She visited the Catholic girls' boarding school in Wellington, NZ, in 1914 and planted a tree. In the 1960s, the school was named Erskine College, after her.[14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart (1857-1914) | The Society of the Sacred Heart | Duchesne College - The University of Queensland". www.duchesne.uq.edu.au. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  2. ^ "Gale - Product Login". galeapps.gale.com. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  3. ^ a b c "Sacred Heart Education Guiding Principles Catholic Schools in the Tradition of the Religious of the Sacred Heart". www.sacredheartusc.education. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  4. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart (1857-1914) | The Society of the Sacred Heart | Duchesne College - The University of Queensland". www.duchesne.uq.edu.au. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  5. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart (1857-1914) | The Society of the Sacred Heart | Duchesne College - The University of Queensland". www.duchesne.uq.edu.au. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  6. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart (1857-1914) | The Society of the Sacred Heart | Duchesne College - The University of Queensland". www.duchesne.uq.edu.au. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  7. ^ "Gale - Product Login". galeapps.gale.com. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  8. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart | RSCJ.org". rscj.org. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  9. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart", rscj
  10. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart (1857-1914) | The Society of the Sacred Heart | Duchesne College - The University of Queensland". www.duchesne.uq.edu.au. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  11. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart | Religious of the Sacred Heart". rscjinternational.org. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  12. ^ "Gale - Product Login". galeapps.gale.com. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  13. ^ "Janet Erskine Stuart | RSCJ.org". rscj.org. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  14. ^ "Search the List | Erskine College (Former) | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 2018-11-11.

LegacyEdit

External linksEdit