We can admire so many attributes in the life of a saint that virtually every person, regardless of age, gender, or background, can find wisdom for their lives in hagiographies.  And why shouldn’t this be the case, for the saint reflects Christ who draws every individual to Himself? In the life of soon-to-be-canonized Blessed John Henry Newman, while there are lessons for everyone, young professionals can reflect on three hallmarks: his magnanimity, his pursuit of truth, and his unity of life.

Greatness of soul

The closest common meaning for magnanimity is “ambition,” but the two meanings are separated by a great distance.  Ambition is the desire to achieve success, and while this a fine trait, it does not aspire to magnanimity’s “greatness of soul” as St. Thomas Aquinas described it.  Magnanimity stands out from ambition somewhat like love stands out from lust – there may be passion in both, but the former is directed out toward others, while the latter is directed in toward self.  Newman dared greatly and accomplished widely, but always with a spirit of enriching the lives of others. As a priest, Oxford University professor, leader of the Oxford Movement, rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, poet, homilist, cardinal, and author of several seminal doctrinal and spiritual works, including An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Newman had plenty to boast about.  Yet his personal writings testify not to an appetite for accomplishment, but reservation and humility about the value of his contributions.

Seeking Truth

Today it is fashionable to be a lifelong learner, but Newman was a lifelong seeker of truth.  He did not care for an impressive resume; he wanted to know the truth, which alone could satisfy him.  In founding the Oxford Movement – the Anglican movement created to return the Anglican church to core ancient Catholic practices that had been purged – Newman wanted to live and teach the one faith of Christ delivered by his disciples and the Church Fathers.  Not long after, he converted to the Catholic faith, declaring, “to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” He suffered greatly in converting, losing friends – although regaining many later – and receiving harsh criticism from fellow Anglicans.

Unity

One might argue that for Newman vocation and occupation were inherently harmonious.  A priest has to be holy – it’s his job! But holiness cannot be put on like a suit and taken off at the end of the day.  It is nothing less than to be full of the love of God which overflows into every area of one’s life. Newman preached and lived unity of life, as his canonization will celebrate in just a few short weeks.  He urged others not to neglect their earthly duties, but to do them with Christian passion and love: “[Many] are apt to spend the time of their sojourning her in a positive separation from active and social duties: yet it should be recollected that the employments of this world, though not themselves heavenly, are, after all, the way to heaven – though not the fruit, are the seed of immortality – and are valuable, though not in themselves, yet for that to which they lead: but it is difficult to realize this.”

Young professional men and women have many concerns.  They want to know what path to choose, how to develop their careers, how to understand their careers in light of their vocation.  Newman’s life speaks clearly: goodness, truth, unity. These should be our occupations, and after reflecting on them we can ask ourselves three questions: Do we boldly dare to seek the good of others? Do we passionately seek the truth that will set us and our neighbors free?  Do our personal and professional lives clash, or do we seek unity of life?  

If we take these questions to heart, when our earthly pilgrimage is done, we will leave nothing to regret.  Blessed Newman, pray for us, that we might seek these heavenly goods just as you modeled for us.  

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For forty days we are in ‘spiritual circuit training’, with the goal of joining St Peter on his morning run to Christ’s tomb.

But our Lord is clear: He said “to all” that “if any” man, and in doing so both offers Himself to every man and leaves no room for half-hearted disciples.

Newman encourages us to be more of what we are: courageous Christians who do all we can, to our utmost, for His Kingdom.

In this ingenious poem, “Candlemas,” Saint John Henry Newman weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread

Newman approached his teaching from an obviously Christian anthropology. He saw every young person from the start as a being in the image of God.

Do we treat time, which is always slipping through our hands, as the precious resource it is?

Dominic abundantly shared with John Henry the gifts inspired by the Saints he admired, who are recorded in his spiritual journal.

The contemplation of Him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections.

Our Books

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.
Fr. Peter Conley

For forty days we are in ‘spiritual circuit training’, with the goal of joining St Peter on his morning run to Christ’s tomb.

David Warren

But our Lord is clear: He said “to all” that “if any” man, and in doing so both offers Himself to every man and leaves no room for half-hearted disciples.

Robert Kirkendall

Newman encourages us to be more of what we are: courageous Christians who do all we can, to our utmost, for His Kingdom.

Prof. Barb H. Wyman

In this ingenious poem, “Candlemas,” Saint John Henry Newman weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread

Scott Goins

Newman approached his teaching from an obviously Christian anthropology. He saw every young person from the start as a being in the image of God.

David Warren

Do we treat time, which is always slipping through our hands, as the precious resource it is?

Fr. Peter Conley

Dominic abundantly shared with John Henry the gifts inspired by the Saints he admired, who are recorded in his spiritual journal.

Robert Kirkendall

The contemplation of Him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections.

Fr. Juan Velez

Merry Christmas to all! In the following video from Colombia, I send you a warm greetings for Christmas. May God richly bless you and your families, and may St. John Henry Newman continue to be a source of inspiration for