The canonization in Rome on 13 October of Cardinal John Henry Newman, has a particular resonance for St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Newman was an Anglican, who converted to Catholicism. Assisting him in his intellectual journey of conversion was one of Maynooth’s celebrated historians who later became President of the College, Dr Charles Russell.
Best known in Ireland as the founder of University College Dublin, in 1854 Newman was appointed rector of the newly established Catholic University of Ireland. Newman was responsible for establishing UCD’s Literary and Historical Society, which has been a fertile proving group for aspiring leaders of Irish society.
Newman often attributed his conversion to Russell’ intimacy and influence, writing of him, “He had, perhaps more to do with my conversion than anyone else.”
On the day he sought admission into the Catholic Church in October 1845, Newman wrote to Fr. Russell to tell him of his decision to convert.