“The harvest is abundant, but the labourers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest” (Mt. 9:37-38).
Eliza Vaughan, an English family mother, is a particularly encouraging example of a woman with a priestly spirit who prayed very much for vocations.
The Courtfield "Our Lady of Vocations" Chapel
Today, Courtfield is a retreat center for different groups in the Welsh diocese of Cardiff. In consideration of Eliza’s holy life, the family chapel was consecrated as the shrine of “Our Lady of Vocations” by the bishop in 1954 and confirmed as such in the year 2000.
Eliza came from a strong Protestant family, that of Rolls-Royce. Yet even during her childhood education in France, she was deeply impressed by the exemplary efforts the Catholic Church made for the poor. After she married Colonel John Francis Vaughan in the summer of 1830, Eliza converted to the Catholic Faith, despite the objection of her relatives. During the time of the Catholic persecution in England under Queen Elisabeth I (1558-1603), the Vaughan’s ancestors preferred imprisonment and expropriation to being unfaithful to their beliefs.
Courtfield as it stands today.
Of the 13 children that lived, six of her eight boys became priests: two priests in religious orders, one diocesan priest, a bishop, an archbishop and a cardinal. From the five daughters, four became nuns in religious orders.
Cardinal Vaughan's tomb.
It was never boring for the children when their mother told them stories from the lives of the saints, who little by little became their dearest friends. Mother Vaughan happily let her children accompany her on visits to the sick and needy of the area.