The artifact presented here is a small slip of paper, signed by John Henry Newman.
The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. Blessed John Henry Newman was beatified on September 19, 2010, by Pope Benedict XVI. We are honored to feature him as part of the Saints & Blesseds’ Collection.
NOTE: Pope Francis approved the miracle needed to declare Blessed John Newman a saint on February 12, 2019. No date has yet been set for his canonization.
God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me, which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place. Therefore, I will trust Him. Whatever 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. He does nothing in vain. 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 spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about. –Blessed John Newman
These are the words of the recently beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman. Born in London on February 21st, 1801, Newman was the first of six children born to John Newman, a banker, and Jemima Fourdrinier, a descendant of French Huguenot refugees in England. Considered to be a leading intellectual of the 19th century, John Newman was ordained an Anglican priest on May 29th, 1825. Twenty years later, after a long struggle to incorporate Roman Catholic theology into Anglican theology, Newman converted to Catholicism and was ordained a Catholic priest on May 30th, 1847. Pope Leo XIII (1878 – 1903) elevated him to the cardinalate on May 12th, 1879, although he was never consecrated a bishop.
At his beatification on September 19th, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI referred to his personal motto. Cardinal Newman’s motto, Cors et cor loqvitvr, (Heart speaks unto heart) gives insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness experienced as a profound desire of the human heart to enter into explicit communion with the heart of God. One of the most important intellectuals of his time, he is an example to both Anglicans and Catholics. 120 years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much loved father of souls.
Among his many achievements, Newman was instrumental in the founding of the Catholic University of Ireland, which became University College, Dublin, and Ireland’s largest university. The many biographies and editions of his published works still available attest to the esteem in which he is held by Catholics and Anglicans alike. Cardinal Newman died on August 11, 1890, at the age of eighty-nine. His feast day is celebrated on October 9th. Papal Artifacts honors the memory of Blessed John Henry Newman and celebrates his life today.
Blessed John Newman, pray for us!
Illinois doctor: Newman miracle depositions were ‘spiritual experiences’
- Joyce Duriga
Feb 19, 2019
CHICAGO – When the Vatican announced Feb. 15 that Pope Francis had signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, clearing the way for his canonization, there was rejoicing in Chicago.
The proposed miracle that God worked through the intercession of Newman in 2013 involved a local mother who faced life-threatening complications during her pregnancy but suddenly recovered when she prayed to the English cardinal for help.
The woman, who declined to comment at this time but said she will share her story with the Chicago Catholic, archdiocesan newspaper, at a later date, lives in the Diocese of Joliet, but, given the resources available in the Archdiocese of Chicago, her case was transferred to the tribunal here for investigation.
Dr. Gerald Casey, the lead medical expert in the local process, said he has been forever changed by the experience.
“It was the most enriching experience of my spiritual life,” said Casey, who lives in Wilmette and attends Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity Parish in Winnetka.
Church law has a process, much like a trial, that it follows when investigating miracles. The woman, her husband, her physician and her spiritual director all were interviewed, or deposed, during the process.
“The true spiritual experience was in the stages of the depositions. I literally cried when we were deposing her. It struck to my very heart, because I could feel a presence that I had never felt before in my life,” Casey said. “It was one thing to read the materials, but it was quite another thing to hear her recitation of what had occurred, not just during that time but in the prior pregnancies and her miscarriages.”
The stay-at-home mother’s pregnancy was considered high risk because she was over 40 and had suffered previous miscarriages. As a result, her doctor ordered blood tests on the baby early on and monitored the pregnancy closely.
She started to bleed during the pregnancy and was diagnosed in spring 2013 with a subchorionic hematoma, a blood clot in the fetal membrane. The only thing doctors can do for that condition is prescribe bed rest. If the blood clot ruptures, it can result in a spontaneous miscarriage.
Bed rest for a mom with three small children is not so easy, Casey said.
“Then the morning that the event occurred, she had gone downstairs, had made her children breakfast and started to bleed more,” he said, reading from notes he took during the mother’s deposition.
She started to hemorrhage and locked herself in the bathroom. She felt she was losing her baby. At that moment she called out, “Cardinal Newman, please stop the bleeding!”
“The bleeding immediately stopped. Immediately,” Casey said.
Afterward, the woman climbed into bed and called her doctor. He told her to come in that afternoon to see him.
“She came in the afternoon and fetal heart tones were normal and she went home. She was able to continue all normal activities for the entire rest of her pregnancy,” Casey said.
She has since gone on to have two more children through normal pregnancies. By all indications, she should have lost the baby.
As part of the process, Casey had two maternal fetal specialists also review the medical records and depositions.
“None of us had ever heard of anything like this occurring,” Casey said.
At no point were Casey or the other doctors asked if a miracle occurred. They only had to answer if there was any known medical explanation for what happened.
Oblate Father William Woestman serves as the promoter of justice in the archdiocese’s tribunal and participated in the canonical investigation of the miracle. He is also author of Canonization: Theology, History, Process.
“You could see it was painful for her to talk about what she went through,” Woestman said of the woman. “She was a very impressive person.”
After the local process for the miracle concluded, it was sent to Rome for another series of investigations, he explained. That outcome was revealed Feb. 13.
Saints and miracles are still relevant today, Woestman said, adding that he often thinks of the saints who prayed in Holy Name Cathedral, like Sts. John Paul II, Teresa of Kolkata and Mother Cabrini. He hopes one day Father Augustus Tolton will be added to that list.
“We all want saints we knew,” he said. “We want saints that walked on the same sidewalks we walk on or who breathed the same air we do.”
Duriga is editor of Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.