Friday, July 03, 2009

John Henry Newman: Oxford don, soon to be Blessed

Perhaps the single most influential convert to Catholicism since Augustine, the great Cardinal Newman will be beatified some time next spring. I'm not sure how long it's been since the last time anon-martyred Brit was beatified. Then again, Cardinal Newman may tell us that he suffered enough in his journey of faith to be counted among the white-robed army of martyrs.

Our Sr. Mary Emmanuel must really be rejoicing today. She's one of those "Newman mavens" who has read his books and meditated on his sermons for so many years that she serves us all as an informal in-house encyclopedia not only on the man and his writings, but on writings about him. She even seems to feel with him some of the trials he experienced in his lifetime, for example, his strained relationship with the pious, hymn-writing Father Faber. And since composer Edward Elgar (he of "Pomp and Circumstance") set Newman's poem "The Dream of Gerontius" to music, Elgar also benefits from Sr Emmanuel's particular sympathy.

Do you have a favorite work of Newman's that you refer to on a somewhat frequent basis? Have you read any biographies? Share with us!


adele said...

Hi all, I'm Adele from Palermo, Italy. I'm very glad you've written about Card. Newman.
Here's my favourite prayer, who keeps me good company always in my life.

Lead, Kindly Light

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Stephanie A. Mann said...

Sister, since the English Reformation, all the saints beatified or canonized in England have been martyrs. The last saint from the British Isles to be canonized was St. John Ogilvie of Scotland in 1976. St. Oliver Plunkett of Ireland was canonized in 1975. Both were martyrs.