A CATHOLIC CONVERT who became known as the "emigrants' friend" will be honoured in a special service of thanksgiving at Northampton Cathedral on Saturday 12 October.
Caroline Chisholm was born in Northampton, Bedfordshire in 1808 and married in the Holy Sepulchre Church in the city.
A devout Christian, she was received into the Catholic Church and devoted her life to philanthropic causes, helping the sick and the suffering.
After time spent in India where she founded a school for girls she travelled to Sydney, Australia where she dedicated her life to helping orphans, to fighting for women's causes and prison reform. She became known as the "emigrants' friend".
She was honoured by the Australian government when her image was included on the Australian five dollar note.
Despite being relatively unknown in the land of her birth, there are numerous schools and hospitals named after her in Australia where she is honoured as one of the most famous people in the former penal colony's history.
There is a blue plaque to her memory on a house in Charlton Place in the heart of fashionable Islington, where the Chisholms lived briefly during their time in London.
She died in 1877 and was buried in Northampton's Billing Road cemetery.
The service of thanksgiving for her life has been organised by the Friends of Northampton -Cathedral whose patrons include Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop Leo McCartie of Northampton, Fr Michael Seed SA and Christian Lady Hesketh.
The principal celebrant will be Bishop McCartie. Guests, civic dignitaries and a representative of the Australian High Commissioner are also expected to attend. The service will be followed by prayers at Caroline Chisholm's grave at the Billing Road Cemetery.
Northampton Cathedral was established during the Catholic revival of the 19th century when a Fr William Foley purchased land where the Cathedral now stands, formerly the grounds of St Andrew's priory, Northampton.
A small chapel was constructed in 1825 and in the 1840s Augustus Pugin was commissioned to build a conegiate chape) dedicated to St Felix. Two decades later his son Edward designed and constructed another extension, the present Nave, which was opened for worship in 1864. The final extension was in the 1950s when the then Bishop Parker extended the West Wing.
In addition to Caroline Chisholm, the Cathedral has associations with Blessed Ignatius Spencer, a passionist priest and relative of the late Diana Princess of Wales and the hymn writer Frederick Faber responsible for much loved Catholic hymns such as Sweet Sacrament Divine.
The Mass will be followed with a talk by the Catholic author and writer Joanna Bogle who has written a book on Caroline Chisholm..