Protestant, declared ‘Blessed’ by Catholic Church
Dublin,Ireland: The beatification of Jesuit priest Fr John Sullivan at the St Francis Xavier church on Dublin’s Gardiner Street Saturday morning is at once a tribute to the cordinal relations among churches in the city but also to the distance Rome itself has travelled ecumenically these recent years.
Nurtured and formed in the Church of Ireland, Dubliner Fr Sullivan converted to Catholicism at 35 and died a Jesuit priest in 1933 at the age of 71. From a privileged background – his father was Lord Chancellor of Ireland – he attended Portora Royal School near Enniskillen and Trinity College Dublin.
In 1896 he converted to Catholicism and was ordained a Jesuit priest 11 years later. He joined the teaching staff at Clongowes Wood college, where he remained until his death.
Fr Sullivan is believed to have lived an incredibly ascetic life.
Servants reported that his bed was often untouched, leading them to believe that he slept on the floor. It was believed that he slept for only a few hours a night, praying until late and rising early. Stones were found in his shoes and when he was brought to St Vincent’s hospital shortly before his death, his feet were found to be in a severely damaged condition.
Known for his life of prayer and work with the poor, even while alive he had such a reputation for holiness that in 1928 he was believed responsible for curing a three year old nephew of Michael Collins (of the same name) who suffered from infantile paralysis. There have been claims of many other miracles too.
His beatification on Saturday follows formal recognition of the miraculous recovery from cancer of Drumcondra woman Delia Farnham in 1953 through Fr Sullivan’s intervention.
As miraculous has been the Vatican’s journey ecumenically to this event since its Dominus Iesus document was published in the year 2000. Then when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was s Prefect at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
(source: Irish Times)