Thursday 29 September 2016

'Best dressed' miracle worker is on path to sainthood

Sarah Mac Donald

Published 28/04/2016 | 02:30

Young fans cheer wildly as Pope Francis begins his weekly audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican yesterday Photo: Reuters
Young fans cheer wildly as Pope Francis begins his weekly audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican yesterday Photo: Reuters
Dr Michael Jackson

Pope Francis has approved the beatification of an Irish priest renowned for his care of the sick, and who was once known as "the best dressed man in Dublin".

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The Vatican said the Pope had recognised miraculous healing of a woman from incurable cancer in 1955 through the intercession of Venerable John Sullivan, the son of a former Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Edward Sullivan.

The move, in a decree naming 38 others, clears the way for them to be beatified and can lead to sainthood at a later date.

The product of two faith traditions, John Sullivan's father was Protestant and his mother was Catholic.

In 1896, at the age of 35, he became a Catholic at the Jesuit Church in Farm Street, London. He joined the Jesuits in 1900 and was ordained in 1907 and stationed in Clongowes Wood College.

Responding to the news of Fr Sullivan's elevation to a 'Blessed' of the church, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin paid tribute to the Jesuit's Anglican heritage which he said had "enriched" his faith.

Jesuit Fr Conor Harper, who is vice postulator of Fr Sullivan's cause for sainthood, said the news would "delight many of the friends of John Sullivan throughout the world - but especially here in Ireland".

"Our Church of Ireland friends join us in celebration," he added.

Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson said: "The holiness of the life of John Sullivan SJ has touched and inspired countless people in Ireland and internationally."

Fr Barney McGuckian SJ said that another miracle well-known among devotees to the priest relates to the cure of a three-year-old nephew Michael Collins from childhood paralysis in the 1920s.

Fr Sullivan, who passed away in 1933, spent two hours kneeling in prayer by the child's bedside.

Irish Independent

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