Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Report on retreat on Teresa Higginson held at Pantasaph retreat centre

Recently a retreat was held at Pantasaph in North Wales from 28th - 30th June 2013. 


A group of twenty-one people interested in the promotion of the Devotion to the Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of Divine Wisdom, as revealed to the nineteenth century Servant of God, Teresa Higginson, met at Pantasaph Monastery from June 28-30, under the chairmanship of Fr Keith Windsor OFM. Some of the group shared their particular interests in the background to the devotion. Several spoke of their long standing inherited family interest. It was explored that throughout Church history, the role of chosen souls given extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit at times when the culture required heavenly intervention:witness St Margaret Mary Alocoque and the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The group prayed theprayers and litanies to the Sacred Head of Jesus during this dedicated retreat. 

This was an inaugural meeting which realised that as the Sacred Head Devotion is not yet accepted into the Cultus of the Church it must therefore remain Private Devotion. The group felt that the acceptance of the Devotion would enhance Teresa Higginson’s Cause and the two together will be a means of evangelisation to save souls. 

Teresa Higginson (1844-1905) was privileged to receive many visions, favours and private revelations from Our Lord. As early as Good Friday 1874, Jesus requested His Sacred Head be universally worshipped as the Seat of Divine Wisdom as a completion of the Devotion to His Sacred Heart and given as an antidote to the intellectual pride and increasing dominance of the scientific rationalism of her times. This makes itespecially timely today when the secularist agenda never ceases in its efforts to overshadow, drown out and intimidate the Christian witness to the moral truth of the Natural Law of God. 

Teresa was born and baptised in Holywell, North Wales, third child of eight, into a middle class pious family. Her precocious holiness was recognised by Blessed Dominic Barberi and Fr Ignatius Spencer, both frequent visitors to the family whose home was the local Mass centre in Gainsborough, Lincs. After Teresa spent ten years in a Convent in Nottingham, the family experienced financial hardship and moved to the North West, eventually settling in Neston on the Wirral, where Teresa was buried in the family grave at St Winefride’sChurch. Teresa stepped in to teach at St Alexandra’s Bootle during an outbreak of cholera and subsequently qualified as a teacher. In all her teaching positions, Teresa was a shining example of how to be holy whilst living as a lay person in the world. She was commanded under obedience by her spiritual director Fr Edward Powell of St Alexandra’s Bootle to give a detailed written account of her hidden life. This continued under her next director Canon Alfred Snow for the last twenty two years of her life. Canon Snow believed that she would eventually be proved to be one of the greatest Saints of the Church. 

There is much literature detailing the many extraordinary charismatic gifts given by God to Teresa Higginson: prophecy, bilocation, the stigmata, healings, ecstasies, mystical Communions, living almost completely on the Eucharist. She was frequently physically attacked by Satan hence the title of the most recent biography- The Devil in Bootle by Richard Whittington Egan. The definitive biography by Lady Cecil Kerr entitled Teresa Helena Higginson originally published in 1927 has recently been reprinted with an introduction by Rev Dr Paul Haffner, a Theology Professor in Rome. So much information about Teresa Higginson and the Devotion to the Sacred Head of Jesus is available on the Internet, an excellent website being www.sacredhead.org which provides links to the official information channel and www.teresahigginson.blogspot.co.uk and Facebook etc. Cecil Kerr’s book may be read online through links on these sites. 

Teresa’s Cause was presented to Rome in 1937 and declared Non-Expedire in 1938 but is still listed at the 
Vatican in the Causes of Saints and may be opened at a future date. The devotees pray that if it is God’s Will, the Church will soon absorb the Devotion to the Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of Divine Wisdom and God Willing, Teresa’s time will have come. 

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