She had become seriously interested in Secularism in 1857. Now, after attending the Congress for the Advancement of Social Science in Dublin in 1861, she became interested in the work of the Irish Sisters of Mercy
Bessie Rayner Parkes
(a close friend of BRP
after her conversion, as were Sarah Atkinson
and Cardinal Manning
) died of tuberculosis on 2 February 1864, the year before BRP
's father also died. Parkes was...