This Sunday, Blessed John Henry Newman will be Canonised in Rome by Pope Francis. This is the end of a long process that started back in 1958. As part of the process, two miracles--thoroughly studied by experts--must be attributed to the future saint.
Jack Sullivan, a man preparing to become a permanent deacon in Marshfield, Massachusetts (USA), received the first one. He was lying on his bed with one of the worst spine disorders doctors had seen in years. After seeing a programme about John Henry Newman on TV, he decided to pray to him: “Please, Cardinal Newman, help me to walk so that I can return to classes and be ordained." Next day, without the spine injury being healed, he was pain free and able to walk. After an operation to reconstruct his spine, Jack was experiencing pain again, and for the second time, he prayed to Newman. To the surprise of doctors and nurses, he was immediately able to stand and walk. Jack Sullivan was ordained deacon in 2002.
A 40-year-old pregnant woman, also from the USA, received the second miracle. During her fourth pregnancy, she was diagnosed with a ‘subchorionic hematoma’, a blood clot in the foetal membrane, which cannot be treated. One morning, she started to bleed, and knowing that she was losing her child, she prayed: “Cardinal Newman, please stop the bleeding!” The bleeding stopped immediately, and she was able to finish her pregnancy with normality. Her baby was born, and she has been able to naturally conceive and give birth to another two children since then.
Two miracles that made it possible for Newman to be proclaimed a saint, but more importantly, that made it possible for these two people to fulfill their vocations. They are a great encouragement to us, too, to find and pursue our vocation knowing that God will accompany us and use whatever we may find along the way to manifest his power and love for us.
As John Henry Newman himself wrote:
“Therefore, I trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life; He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends; He may throw me among strangers; He may make me feel desolate, make my spirit sink, hide the future from me--still He knows what he is about.”
Saint John Henry Newman: PRAY FOR US!
Every Sunday, Mgr Jim Curry provides updates on the parish.