Thursday, October 27, 2005

Subject of Newman miracle probe revealed.

In this Monday post I commented on media reports about a potential miracle that could, if approved by the Vatican, pave the way for the long-awaited beatification of John Henry Newman. Today's Globe has an article revealing the identity of the Massachusetts man who believes that Newman's intercession helped him recover from a debilitating spinal cord ailment. Marshfield resident John A. Sullivan is an attorney who has spent the past quarter century working at the Plymouth County Courthouse and also does part-time prison ministry as a permanent deacon. A longtime admirer of Newman, Sullivan started to pray for the 19th century Cardinal's assistance when he began to suffer from a back problem so serious he could hardly walk. Though he can't say much about his case while it remains under investigation, Sullivan told a reporter: "If I could tell my story, people would find it very compelling, remarkable, beautiful. It is something people need today. But we can't have pressures to confirm the alleged miracle. When this thing is over, God will have his way."

You can tell Sullivan is a lawyer in the above comments; even though he believes that he was cured through Newman's intercession, he still refers to his healing as an "alleged miracle" for the simple reason that the proper authorities haven't ruled on its authenticity. Though Sullivan has yet to give a detailed account of his experiences, I can say that I already find his story "very compelling, remarkable, [and] beautiful." I find it so because Sullivan is a figure I can relate to. I've never met him, but reading about him in the Globe I felt a shock of recognition. Sullivan reminds me of any number of gentlemen I encountered during my summers working at the Massachusetts State House and on numerous political campaigns. In a sense, he represents a particular type of person that is well-represented in the Bay State. It helps that Sullivan lives and works in the same county I grew up in (albeit in a different part) and that he graduated from the same college my sister now attends (Stonehill). As I hope for the success of Newman's cause for beatification, I hope too that we have the chance to learn more about the man whose personal story is helping that cause to advance. I love stories, and I have a feeling that Sullivan's story is a great one. AMDG.


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