Friday, 28 September 2012

Appreciations of Teresa Helena Higginson: Miss Isabella Arkwright

From the booklet Appreciations of Teresa Helena Higginson, Schoolteacher and Mystic, by Brian Honner.

A special place on our panel of witnesses must be reserved for Miss Isabella Arkwright of Ormskirk, although she met Teresa on one occasion only and then seems hardly to have conversed.  As a secondary witness she was however unique and could claim: "I knew many of Teresa's friends now deceased and know those living," adding "not one ever had or had the least doubt as to her sanctity." (From a letter to me of 4th June 1946.)  She has been described by Mrs. McKeon as "forthright, prudent and kindly" to which might be added steadfast and self - effacing and other noble attributes.  Like Teresa and many other friends she had been a teacher.  At Ormskirk she was only a few miles from Canon Snow's parish of Aughton where for twenty years her sister Elizabeth had served as housekeeper.  It was in this connection that her meeting with Teresa took place, which I give here in her own words:

"A cousin of mine went to Aughton to visit my sister and of course see Miss Higginson.  This cousin in my presence asked Teresa to pray for her intention.  Teresa with a twinkle in her eye asked humourously, 'Are you going to me married?' to which my cousin replied, 'Oh no, no, Miss Higginson.'  Then Teresa asked seriously, 'Is it your vocation dear?'  No answer from my cousin.  Teresa then said, 'Yes - if it is God's will.'  My cousin answered 'It must be God's will!'  I said to myself, you will be rebuked for that exclamation, but Teresa just smiled sweetly and repeated, 'If it is God's will.'  (This cousin did later enter religion.  

Teresa impressed her as being "very natural, simple, homely and full of humour".  Her look however was "very searching." 

Miss Isabella Arkwright

On her retirement from teaching Miss Arkwright devoted her days to the furtherance of Teresa's cause.  She had literature printed and distributed, kept in touch with clients at home and abroad, and had the vision to persuade witnesses to put down on paper their testimony.  "When I think and see what I ought to do I am overcome.  I feel too small for this great cause," she wrote.  On another occasion she said, "We are not working for Teresa but for God; what can be greater than the Wisdom of the Godhead?  Is that not the greatest devotion?"  Again, "We are very favoured to have the least part in so mighty a cause."  At her home she established a repository of Higginsonia - letters, photos, souvenirs, and welcomed all genuine enquirers.  For many years before her death in 1969 at the age of 86 she was the centre of reference for English speaking clients of Teresa.

No comments:

Post a comment