By Mother Mary Magdalen Taylor
Published by The Neumann Press
1994, Hardcover, 190 pages
No more opportune occasion could be chosen for a new edition of Tyborne than this Marian Year which is also the Centary of the Crimean War and that of the conversion of a great Englishwoman, who, in the sequel, became Mother Magdalen Taylor – Foundress of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God – who through the varied forms of their Apostolate were destined to play so important a part in the salvation of souls.
The “Author of Tyborne” of the late 1850’s was none other than the “Fanny Taylor” who “though under age” had volunteered to follow Florence Nightingale to the Crimea in 1854. The heated controversies following upon the “shocks” of the Oxford Movement had plunged many in England into still deeper darkness than before, but Fanny Taylor ever sought the “Light” in Cardinal Newman’s sense of the word, until she found, on the shores of the Bosphorus, the precious gift of that Faith for which her country’s Martyrs had died – that host whose blood had so copiously drenched the fallen tree that, after the spiritual drought of 300 years, it was fast blooming again in its “second spring”.
Fanny Taylor now saw that Faith heroically in action amidst the squalor of Eastern Hospitals and the example of the devotedness of the Catholic War Chaplains and of the Irish Nursing Sisters of Mercy was not lost on her seeking soul. It was to the spirit of the Irish Catholic soldiers, however, that she loved ever afterwards to attribute her conversion. Writing home for them to their dear ones from the Front, she learned of their simple faith in God and His Blessed Mother. She saw their Religion was everything to them. She saw that Christ in His Sacrament made heroes of His followers who could fearlessly face tragedy and death out of love for Him and because of their absolute faith in His promises, as later she will see in the case of Emend Campion who shall become the hero of Tyborne….
The late Father Philip Fletcher of the Guild of Ransom called Tyborne the “Pioneer work” on the English Martyrs, and Cardinal Logue confessed that he could not lay down the stay till the end. Let us hope that the readers of 1954 will equally enjoy Tyborne dressed as it is in all its Victorian garb and rich in graphic scenes as the theme develops. The hero, the hunt, the mock trial, the cell and the suffering have their counterpart in our own day, as they will ever have while the Church is on the Cross with her Divine Founder. (From the Preface to the 1954 Edition)