Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Dies Natalis of Blessed John Henry Newman

John Henry Cardinal Newman died on August 11, 1890.  It was his "Dies Natalis", his birth into everlasting life.

The Times of London reported his death on August 12: 

We have to record, with feelings of the most sincere regret, the death of His Eminence Cardinal Newman. He died last evening at the Oratory, Edgbaston, in his 90th year, after less than three days' illness. The Cardinal has for many years manifested the feebleness of advanced age, although he has fully retained his mental faculties, and has rallied in a wonderful manner from more than one severe illness. . . . 

"The medical attendants have issued the following account of their patient's last illness. "The Oratory, August 11, 1890. His Eminence Cardinal Newman was seized with inflammation of the right lung at 2 o'clock a.m. on Sunday, August 10. He very rapidly became worse until this evening at 8:45, when he expired. His Eminence expressed himself as feeling quite well an hour before this attack occurred.—G. Vernon Blunt, M.D.; C. H. Jenner Hogg, M.R.C.S.E." The private prayers of the congregation were asked for the Cardinal at the Oratory Church on Sunday, and in the evening there were numerous and anxious inquiries respecting him. He will be buried at the little country retreat of the Oratorians, at Rednall, where there is a private cemetery and chapel. The body will be exposed in the Oratory Church from noon today until it is removed for burial. The date of the funeral is not yet fixed.


Of course, he was buried in Oratorian cemetery in Rednal with Ambrose St. John his great friend and aide in establishing the English Oratorian Congregations. Now his shrine is in the Birmingham Oratory. You might remember that when they exhumed his body in preparation for the shrine, the grave was nearly empty: there are no first class relics. 

Since St. Clare of Assisi's feast day is August 11 when Newman was beatified in 2010 the date of his conversion, October 9 (1845) was chosen as his feast day.

Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem--Out of shadows and imagination into truth! 

Two days before he died his niece Grace Longford, the only child of his estranged sister Harriett visited him. Newman had not seen her since she was three years old. More about his death here.

Cor ad Cor Loquitor--Heart Speaks unto Heart! 

From Elgar's setting of Newman's The Dream of Gerontius, "Sanctus fortis, Sanctus Deus" sung by Richard Lewis as Gerontius with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli (includes "Firmly I Believe in Truly"):

Firmly I believe and truly
God is Three and God is One;
and I next acknowledge duly
manhood taken by the Son.

And I trust and hope most fully
in that manhood crucified;
and each thought and deed unruly
do to death, as he has died.

Simply to his grace and wholly
light and life and strength belong,
and I love supremely, solely,
him the holy, him the strong.

And I hold in veneration,
for the love of him alone,
Holy Church as his creation,
and her teachings as his own.


Adoration ay be given,
with and through the angelic host,
to the God of earth and heaven,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Mark and I listened to this CD often: I think it is out of print, so to speak: Heart Speaks to Heart, A spiritual day with Blessed John Henry Newman in words and music! From Matins to Compline, featuring hymns and poems by Newman and narration by Archbishop Bernard Longley of the Birmingham Diocese, it's a beautiful compilation! (I will listen to it today--and one does have to listen because Archbishop Longley is soft spoken!)

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!

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