Written by Sr. Marie St. Paul on September 19, 2010
Br. Francis with 2 of his paintings: Servant of God John Paul II and BLESSED John Henry Newman!

At 1:30 am this morning, four dedicated nuns cuddled up on the couches of the living room to watch with slightly bleary eye the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.  Thanks to EWTN and their great coverage, the sisters and I have been avidly accompanying the Holy Father these past three days during his visit to Scotland and England.    

What a beautiful and grace-filled visit!  We’ve watched with great joy the crowds greeting the Holy Father with loud cheers and heard his words calling not only the faithful of Great Britain but all of us “to look into our hearts each day to find the source of all true love.  Jesus is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with Him and to hear His Voice.”  The Holy Father in his inimitable way always points his flock to Jesus.

But I digress…we’re celebrating the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, beatified by the Holy Father himself in Birmingham, England!  What an honor for that great and heroic man who endured so much during his lifetime.  Reading about the influence of Cardinal Newman and his Oratorians on JRR Tolkien piqued my own interest to learn more about the Cardinal.  Following Fr. Bassett’s suggestion that one of the best biographies on Newman was written by Meriol Trevor, I first read her two volume work about ten years ago.  The Cardinal’s friendship and example have enriched my life immensely!  He is truly a beautiful soul.

One of the tidbits that particularly touched the sisters and I during the Holy Father’s visit was seeing the photos of Blessed John Henry’s dearest friends hanging in his little chapel to the right of where he prayed.  Friendship was a key element to the formation of our new Blessed.  This morning, Sr. Fidelis and I discussed the importance of spiritual friendship and the reality of Christ’s love any good friend brings to one’s life, whether they reside on this earth or in Heaven.  They too, as the words of the Holy Father do, lead us to Jesus.    

Many depictions of Blessed John Henry Newman have been circulated during the Holy Father’s visit, but I want to share with you one of the best portraits that I’ve ever seen, lovingly painted by Br. Francis Edkins, CFR (a photo of the painting is seen below!).

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!