Deacon Jack Sullivan says his healing from a debilitating spinal condition was due to the miraculous intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Pilot file photo/ Gregory L. Tracy
MARSHFIELD--A simple prayer changed the life of Deacon John Sullivan, 70, of Marshfield, curing him of a debilitating back injury and could alter forever the legacy of Cardinal John Henry Newman, through whose intercession Deacon Sullivan says he was healed. If confirmed by the Vatican as a miracle, Deacon Sullivanís healing could be the final miracle needed to beatify Cardinal Newman, a 19th century British cardinal who converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism.
A British newspaper reported April 28 that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints had ruled unanimously that Deacon Sullivanís healing was a miracle due to the intercession of Cardinal Newman. As of press time, the Vatican had yet to release an official statement on the matter.
If confirmed, Pope Benedict XVI could beatify Cardinal Newman as early as this summer, said Deacon Sullivan, a deacon at St. Thecla Parish in Pembroke.
In 2000, Deacon Sullivan, a married father of three grown children and a longtime court magistrate for Plymouth District Court, was in the middle of his diaconal studies at St. John Seminary when he began experiencing severe and incapacitating back pain. Tests and scans revealed that several of Deacon Sullivanís lumbar vertebrates and disks were squeezing his spinal cord and affecting the nerves going to his legs. Doctors told him that, without surgery, he could become paralyzed.