Elizabeth Hayes (1823-94) is a woman whose personal life and achievements are of significance in both British and North American religious, social and literary history. Born on the Island of Guernsey, the youngest child of an Anglican schoolmaster-clergyman, she embraced the Oxford Movement, the Wantage Anglican sisterhood, Catholicism and the Franciscan movement when a neo-monastic revival found enthusiasts in both the Catholic Church and in Anglicanism. Strongly committed to living a Franciscan way of life, as foundress, teacher, religious sister and journalist, Elizabeth's desire for mission in foreign places fired her with a courageous determination. Concerned for the poor, she had a bold and broad vision yet her capacity to mingle comfortably with key religious and literary figures of the period in England, Paris, Rome and North America set her apart. In the 'age of journalism', she ventured confidently into an arena where most women writers struggled for acknowledgement and even took on male pseudonyms in order to succeed. Many journals proved ephemeral yet Elizabeth's monthly periodical, published first in Minnesota, then in Georgia, and finally, in Rome, was to endure. No minor player in Victorian Catholic journalism, she wrote, edited, published and distributed through her Sisters the first English Franciscan journal, initiated in 1874. She continued these roles for twenty-one years until her death and her periodical itself continued for a century. Elizabeth carved out a fresh Franciscan path that indicated how she grasped the purpose of her life and the importance of good journalistic literature for society. Annals' subscribers were more than readers with needs; they collaborated in a seven-hundred-year-old Franciscan way of life with its rich history, traditions, missions and Franciscan spirituality through her confraternity. This was the cornerstone of the ultimate success of Elizabeth's mission through journalism, a mission that responded exactly to the needs for Catholic evangelism following the great migrant influx (1825-50) in North America.
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