Hallahan, Margaret Mary (DNB00)

HALLAHAN, MARGARET MARY (1803–1868), foundress of the English congregation of St. Catherine of Siena, of the third order of St. Dominic, was born in London on 23 Jan. 1803 of very poor Irish parents. After receiving a scanty education at an orphanage in Somers Town, she became a domestic servant in the family of Madame Caulier, the proprietress of a lace warehouse in Cheapside. About 1820 she was placed in the family of Dr. Morgan, who had been physician to George III. At his death he left her a legacy of 50l., and she resided first with his son, and for twenty years afterwards with Mrs. Thompson, his married daughter, who lived much at Bruges. Margaret's ardour as a catholic was always remarkable. After many vain endeavours to be admitted to the tertiary or third order of St. Dominic, she received the habit in 1834, and in the following year made her profession at Bruges. In 1842 she returned to England, and in 1844 founded a small community of Dominican tertians in Spon Street, Coventry. Dr. Ullathorne, vicar-apostolic of the western district, and afterwards bishop of Birmingham, encouraged the scheme, and in 1848 the community removed to Clifton, near Bristol, where a convent was erected. Another foundation was made at Longton, Staffordshire, in 1851, and in 1853 the whole community there was transferred to St. Dominic's at Stone in the same county. This became the mother-house of the congregation, and is one of the finest specimens of conventual buildings in England. In 1857 another foundation was made at Stoke-upon-Trent. Pius IX decreed, in 1859, that these religious houses should be formed into a congregation, having one general superioress and one novitiate-house. They were placed immediately under the jurisdiction of the master-general of the third order of St. Dominic, who exercises his authority through a delegate nominated by himself. So great was Mother Margaret's administrative ability that she was the direct agent in founding five convents, with poor-schools attached to each, two middle schools, four churches, several orphanages, and the hospital for incurables at Stone. After a long and painful illness she died at Stone on 11 May 1868.

[Life, by her Religious Children, London, 1869 (with portrait); Biographical Sketch, abridged from her Life, London, 1871; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Tablet, 8 May 1869, p. 914, and 15 May, p. 947; Athenæum, 29 May 1869; Bowden's Life of Faber, pp. 407, 427.]

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