Cardinal Newman

John Henry Newman was born in London on the 21st of February 1801 to John Newman, a banker, and Jemima Fourdrinier of Huguenot background. He was the eldest of six children, three boys and three girls. Educated at Oxford, he was elected Fellow and Tutor at Oriel College. Later, ordained in the Church of England, he became Vicar of St. Mary’s, the University Church, where his spiritual-intellectual impact and his pastoral work were outstanding. Gladstone, his contemporary and a British Prime Minister, said of him: “I do not believe that there has been anything like his influence in Oxford, when it was at its height, since Abelard lectured in Paris. I myself, in my undergraduate days, saw just the commencement of it. It was beginning to be the custom to go and hear him on Sunday afternoon at St. Mary’s.”

After a long interior struggle, a journey of conscience, Newman became a Roman Catholic in 1845. His concerns continued to be focussed on the work that guided his whole life, as he described it in an autobiographical writing: “From first to last, education in the large sense of the word has been my line.”