Mother Harriet: Leader of a Sisterhood

Today, members of the St John the Baptist community, observe the memory of Harriet Monsell. Co-founder and Mother Superior of Community of St. John Baptist in Clewer (near Windsor, Berks, UK).

Her vocation was in the social services. As Mother of the House of Mercy in Clewer, she sought the disadvantaged and destitute females of the community and taught them skills and trades, eventually employing them in schools, orphanages, hospitals and soup kitchens.

It didn’t take long for a sisterhood to mushroom across the kingdom.

She got a nod from Queen Victoria, who after a visit noted Mother Harriet as “an excellent person… [who] manages the whole admirably”.

She was also remembered by Lady Caroline Courtenay:

“She impressed all with her wisdom, her grand mind, the power she had of sympathising wit, and understanding of all kinds of different minds, and her delight in doing so. She shewd in all she said a thorough knowledge of the World … tenderness with a strong character… it was impossible not be struck with her entire absence of self-consciousness and her great personal humility

Information and quotes about Mother Harriet was found in Journey into Truth by Peter Ball.

I’ve bolded a few key words because I believe that is the heart of any truly great leader. Wisdom, understanding, character and humility.