After an extensive local investigation, the Archdiocese of Chicago has forwarded to the Vatican a possible miracle attributed to the intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman. If it is sustained by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, it would be the second miracle necessary for his canonisation. The case involves a Catholic mother who survived a life-threatening pregnancy after praying to Newman. Her physicians have testified that they cannot explain her sudden cure.
The Roman postulator for Newman’s cause, Dr Andrea Ambrosi, declined to comment on the miracle unless and until it is approved by the Congregation’s medical board and panel of theologians and officially promulgated by Pope Francis. This is not surprising: a previous healing in Mexico attributed to Newman’s intercession, involving a baby who was born perfectly healthy after prenatal scans showed it had deformities, was discussed publicly in 2010 but never approved by the Congregation.
Newman’s path to sainthood has been a protracted one. The documentation in support of Newman’s cause was not sent to Rome until 1958, 68 years after his death. This was before the canonisation process was streamlined in 1983 under Pope John Paul II. But it took another 43 years before Newman was declared Venerable by the same pope in 1991. He was beatified by Benedict XVI in Birmingham in 2010 after the Vatican approved the first miracle, the healing of deacon in Boston who suffered from a debilitating back condition.
The second miracle being investigated by the Congregation is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and has a degree from the Northwestern University School of Law in Evanston, Illinois.