Cardinal John Henry Newman has officially been canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican made the canonization official during an open-air service at the Vatican attended by thousands of pilgrims.
Newman was a theologian and a poet who died in 1890 and is the first English person to be sainted in nearly 50 years. The Mass at St Peter's Square also saw the canonization of four women; Mother Mariam Thresia of India, Marguerite Bays of Switzerland, Mother Giuseppina Vannini of Italy, and Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes of Brazil.
Cardinal Newman becomes the first Englishman born since the 1600s to be declared a Saint by the Catholic Church. The last English canonizations were in 1970 when the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, a group of Catholics executed between 1535 and 1679 under the laws of the English Reformation, were canonized.
It was clear just how much the Cardinal – now a Saint – has become to the Church. Pope Francis even quoted a sermon Newman gave some two hundred years ago. Newman's words still had weight to them and they remain just as relevant to the modern Church.
It could be said that Newman shared similar views to Pope Francis as Newman described the Christian character as being "cheerful, easy, kind, courteous, candid, and unassuming." Pope Francis held Saint Newman up as a role model modern Christians should follow.
Newman was born in 1801 in London and was a student at Trinity College, Oxford. He went on to become a leading theologian and an Anglican priest. He converted to Catholicism in 1845. When Newman chose to become a Catholic, he was considered mad by the Anglicans of the day. They felt he was insane to defect to a despised minority religion. Today, however, Newman is revered as a bridge-builder instead of being despised for his defection.
The Vatican has credited Newman with two miracles; Curing a crippling spinal disease and healing a woman who couldn't stop bleeding.
Newman was beatified in 2010 by then-Pope Benedict during an open-air mass held in Newman's home city of Birmingham when his first miracle was recognized.
The remains of Saint Newman are interred in a closed sarcophagus at the Birmingham Oratory.