The Man Behind Newman's Conversion

    I'm sure many of you are familiar with the great conversion of Cardinal John Henry Newman to Catholicism but did you know that God used a Passionist priest as the instrument of that conversion?  Yes, with Newman's beatification just around the corner (September 19, 2010) I thought it high time to introduce you to a little-known Passionist saint - Blessed Dominic Barberi, C.P. - whose feast day is tomorrow!

   Dominic of the Mother of God, was born of devout farming people in 1792 at Viterbo, Italy. At twenty-two years of age, he experienced the call of God to the apostolate. Leaving his farm work, he entered the Passionists where he manifested extraordinary gifts of mind and heart. After he was ordained to the Priesthood in 1818, he spent himself diligently in teaching, in the ministry of the Word, in the spiritual direction and in writing many philosophical, theological and homiletic works. 

    Filled with the spirit of Saint Paul of the Cross, he left Italy and went first to Belgium. There he established the Passionists in 1840,  and went on to England in 1842. He was now responding to a Divine call that had always been with him - to work for unity among God's people in England. In the space of eight years he had founded four Passionist Communities and exercised an extensive apostolate by preaching missions and retreats throughout the country.

    His writings and personal holiness brought many to the faith; most prominent among those he received into the Church was John Henry Newman. Broken finally by his labours, he died at Reading on 17th August 1849, at the age of 57. He was enrolled among the Blessed by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council, on 23rd October 1963.

    The above biography is from New Advent.

    Recently Marcus Grodi interviewed Kevin O'Brien as our Blessed Dominic, CP on "The Journey Home" of EWTN. David O'Brien is the founder of "Theatre of the Word Incorporated".  This is an EXCELLENT interview - don't miss it!

    As I write this post our latest community newsletter "At the Foot of the Cross" is at the press. In it you will find an inspiring article about Newman and Dominic's friendship. I'll make sure to link to that article soon.