Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint John Henry Newman (1801–1890)

Saint John Henry Newman (1801–1890)

Feast day: October 9

Blessed John Henry Newman spent the first half of his life as an Anglican. He was an important member of the Oxford Movement, which highlighted the Church’s debt to the early Church Fathers, and opposed the complete subjectivity of the truth. Historical evidence brought Newman to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church was the closest connection to the Church that Jesus founded.

In 1845, Newman was welcomed into full communion as a Catholic and was ordained a Catholic priest two years later. Newman recognized and emphasized that history should not be ignored, and highlighted the experiences of the faithful as important parts of theological reflection.

Newman was appointed a cardinal in 1879, and adopted the motto “Heart speaks to heart.” He is sometimes referred to as the “absent father of Vatican II,” due to his numerous writings on the relationship between church and state, the vocations of the laity, Scripture, religious freedom, conscience, and other topics that were significant in the formation of the Council’s documents.

Shortly after his death, a Newman Club for Catholic students started at the University of Pittsburgh. The club flourished, and today there are many Newman centers at public and private universities and colleges across the United States.

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