Saint John Henry Newman
The founding rector/president of Ireland’s only Catholic university, precursor of University College Dublin (UCD), John Henry Newman was canonised by Pope Francis, Sunday October 13th at a ceremony in Rome’s St Peter’s Square.
Born in London in 1801 Newman converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism and in 1851 was invited to Dublin to set up Catholic University of Ireland, becoming its first rector in 1854. His conversion to Catholicism, was something he pondered deeply and felt it to be the right move. However it cost him dearly and he even became estranged from many of his friends and family.
Michael Collins’ book “Newman: a Short Biography” is an accessible biography of the saint that opens a window into the heart and mind of a complex and conflicted individual, who above all sought the truth.
Michael Collins, author and priest was at the canonisation and said that there was a fantastic turn out from Britain, including Prince Charles, who described Newman as, “this great Briton, this great churchman and, as we can now say, this great saint”, Newman bridged “the divisions between traditions” the prince continued.
Collins however was disappointed with the turn out from Ireland, and in particular the response from UCD as he explains to Miriam Gormally in this first part of our two part series. Next week we will look at the early life and background of Newman. Miriam began by saying that Newman doesn’t always seem to be appreciated or understood in Ireland.