Sunday, 24 March 2019

School’s founder to be saint

THE founder of the Oratory School in Woodcote is to be made a saint.

John Henry Newman, a theologian and Oxford don who opened the independent Catholic school in 1859, is to be canonised later this year after the Vatican recognised a second miracle attributed to him.

It is said that two people were healed from life-threatening conditions after praying to him. The process will be formalised at a ceremony in Rome.

Cardinal Newman was born to a banking family in London in 1801 and converted to evangelical Anglicanism as a teenager. He entered the priesthood in 1824 and converted to Catholicism in 1845.

In 1851 he delivered a series of lectures in Birmingham, criticising the anti-Catholic stance which had been widespread in Britain since the Reformation.

Cardinal Newman, who died in 1890, founded the Oratory School for boys in conjunction with the Birmingham Oratory in a bid to create a Catholic equivalent to Eton College.

The school was based in Birmingham until 1922, when it moved to Caversham Park. It moved to its present site, off the A4074, in 1942.

The school will accept girls from September next year. The Oratory Preparatory School at Goring Heath is already co-educational.

The school motto is “cor ad cor loquitur”, which was devised by Newman and means “heart speaks unto heart”. New shrines will be built in the chapels to mark his canonisation.

Headmaster Joe Smith said: “Newman was not only one of the greatest 19th-century theologians but also an educationalist ahead of his time and his rich legacy lives on in the Oxfordshire countryside. His global significance and influence is enormous and his canonisation will be the greatest day in the school’s history.”

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