By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A panel of theological consultors has unanimously agreed that the inexplicable healing of an American man who was “bent double” by a severe spinal disorder came as a result of praying to Cardinal John Henry Newman for a miracle. The decision will allow Pope Benedict XVI to declare him “Blessed.”
According to a report by the Telegraph.co.uk, the move came after six months of review of the healing of Jack Sullivan, 69, a deacon and father of three from Marshfield, Massachusetts.
The healing occurred in 2001 just after Sullivan had undergone surgery on his back. While still struggling with the pain, Sullivan began to pray to Cardinal Newman and said he was healed almost instantly. He experienced a tingling sensation all over accompanied by a flood of warmth, and was suddenly able to get up and walk.
“The most important thing was the sense of exuberance I felt, exuberance and confidence that all would be well, all would be rosy, and a tremendous happiness,” he told the Boston Globe. “I got up and walked all over the place, twisting my cane like Charlie Chaplin.”
A panel of doctors could find no medical explanation for his recovery and after years of further inquiry and study, the healing was pronounced miraculous.
As a result, the Church can now beatify Newman, a humble former Anglican who converted to Catholicism at the age of 44 after so many clashes with Anglican bishops he had become a virtual outcast from the Church of England. His brilliant mind combined with his care for the poor caused himto be elevated to the rank of Cardinal in 1879 by Pope Leo XIII. He died in Birmingham, England in 1890 at the age of 89.
A formal announcement by the Vatican on Newman’s beatification is expected within the next two months.
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