JOHN HENRY NEWMAN (1801 – 1890)

Saint John Henry Newman was one of the most prominent converts to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism, of the 19th century and was subsequently canonised  by Pope Francis on Sunday 13th October 2019.  There is a direct historical connection between John Henry Newman and our parish, as he was a close friend of William Monsell Lord Emly from their Oxford days, staying at Monsell’s Tervoe House, near Ballybrown, for a short period in August 1852.  The altar upon which it is believed Cardinal Newman celebrated Mass in Tervoe House was donated by the Monsell family to Saint Joseph’s Church in Ballybrown and is now part of a shrine erected to Saint John Henry in that church.  John Henry Newman was the founder of University College Dublin, first known as the Catholic University of Ireland and later UCD.

John Henry Newman was born on 21st February 1801 and was brought up in the Anglican Church of England.  He was already an esteemed Anglican theologian when he founded the Oxford Movement to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots, before ultimately converting to the Catholic faith.  He was ordained for ministry in the Anglican Church but in 1845 left the Church of England to be received into the Roman Catholic Church.  He was soon ordained as a priest and continued as an influential religious figure based in Birmingham.  Newman’s conversion to the Catholic faith was controversial in England, and resulted in his losing many friends, including his own sister who never spoke to him again.

In 1849 he founded the Birmingham Oratory, a religious community of the Congregation of Saint Philip Neri, the first house of that congregation in England.

In 1852 during a visit to Ireland, Newman spent several days at Tervoe House, the home of his friend William Monsell.

John Henry Newman was renowned as a brilliant thinker and in 1879 was created a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.  Newman died at the Birmingham Oratory on 11th August 1890, aged 89 years.

Short pamphlet on John Henry Newman in Limerick – click here to read more….

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