Three Minutes with Newman
Three Minutes with Newman
Pilgrim Queen

This lovely poem, The Pilgrim Queen, was written in 1849 as a hymn for the Virgin Mary by Blessed John Henry Newman, after he had established the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England. Newman’s earlier poetry, before he converted to Catholicism, was written during the Oxford Movement, and is often complex and can be difficult to understand at first reading. The early poetry was written for a different purpose than his later poetry; these later poems he wrote expressly to be sung as hymns, with the intent that they be easy to understand, especially by children. These hymn poems are straightforward and exceedingly charming in their lyrical language. The Pilgrim Queen is a perfect example of Newman’s hymn poetry; the verses’ meanings need little explanation. The Pilgrim Queen can be sung to many hymn tunes since the syllable count in each line is regular. This Newman hymn is appropriate for the week in which we have just celebrated the Queenship of Mary.

In the poem, we find Mary waiting, when Jesus is discovered missing from the tomb. Notice the striking imagery used throughout. For example, Christ’s tomb is both “planted deep” and “raised high.” This tomb is called a “palace of ice” for when Christ was gone for the hours until His resurrection, much like on Good Friday when the tabernacles are empty, and His palace (either the tomb or tabernacles) is without Him, who is all Light. When summer came (that is, His resurrection) the ice “melted” away.


The Pilgrim Queen (A Song.)

THERE sat a Lady

             all on the ground,

Rays of the morning

             circled her round,

Save thee, and hail to thee,

             Gracious and Fair,

In the chill twilight

             what wouldst thou there?


“Here I sit desolate,”

             sweetly said she,

“Though I’m a queen,

             and my name is Marie:

Robbers have rifled

             my garden and store,

Foes they have stolen

             my heir from my bower.


“They said they could keep Him

             far better than I,

In a palace all His,

             planted deep and raised high.

‘Twas a palace of ice,

             hard and cold as were they,

And when summer came,

             it all melted away.


“Next would they barter Him,

             Him the Supreme,

For the spice of the desert,

             and gold of the stream;

And me they bid wander

             in weeds and alone,

In this green merry land

             which once was my own.”


I look’d on that Lady,

             and out from her eyes

Came the deep glowing blue

             of Italy’s skies;

And she raised up her head

             and she smiled, as a Queen

On the day of her crowning,

             so bland and serene.


“A moment,” she said,

             “and the dead shall revive;

The giants are failing,

             the Saints are alive;

I am coming to rescue

             my home and my reign,

And Peter and Philip

             are close in my train.” (The Oratory.1849.)


The narrator of this poem who has come across our blessed Mother, recognizes her queenly appearance. Mary speaks to the narrator and gives him hope in his own resurrection, for she has been sent to rescue us. We, too, have recourse to her, like the narrator, since she has been crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth, as is told in the Book of Revelation. But do we remember to honor Mary as queen? By doing so we, too, may follow in her train with St. Peter and St. Philip Neri. Are we prepared for Christ to melt our hearts by the glory of His resurrection?


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The true light of Christ’s divinity was made visible to the Apostles at the Transfiguration.

We call His presence in this Holy Sacrament a spiritual presence, not as if ‘spiritual’ were but a name or mode of speech.

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About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.

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Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

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Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
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