The nineteenth century saw the revival of the Catholic Church in France, Germany, Ireland, and England. During that period the Church was blessed by the life of Blessed Frederick Ozanam (1813-1853) in France, and by the lives of Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849) and Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) in England.
At the Royal College of Lyons, the young Frederick Ozanam and his fellow students organized conferences of literature, history, and philosophy to support one another in the faith.
During one of the conferences, a young socialist challenged Frederick saying, “The Church is hypocrisy. What are you doing for the poor?” This conversation led to the establishment of the Conference of Charity, which eventually became the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Frederick said, “If we are too young to intervene in the social struggle, are we then to remain passive in the middle of a world which is suffering and groaning? No, a preparatory path is open to us. Before doing public good, we can try to do good to a few. Before regenerating France, we can give relief to a few of her poor.”
Before his death at forty, Frederick pioneered the newspaper, The New Era, to secure justice for the poor and the working class. He also oversaw the expansion of the Society to other countries.
Today, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international organization with over one million members helping thirty million poor people daily.
An orphan at eight, Dominic was raised up by his uncle and aunt. When Napoleon closed all the religious houses in Italy, Dominic became acquainted with several Passionist living in exile near his town. During this time, he experienced an interior call to preach to the people in England.
Dominic joined the Passionist and was ordained a priest in 1821. He ministered in Italy for nineteen years, but his heart was in England. He learnt English and met with English visitors in Rome.
In 1840, Dominic and his companions established the first Passionist monastery outside of Italy in Belgium. Finally in 1842, he established the first Passionist house in England.
In his short seven years in England, Dominic worked tirelessly as a home-missioner. He established three churches and several chapels, preached numerous missions and received hundreds of converts, including John Henry Newman, into the Catholic Church.
John Henry Newman
Since the Protestant revolt, the freedom of Catholics in England had been restricted. The Act of Catholic Emancipation signed by the king on April 13, 1829 permitted Catholics in England to worship publicly.
The Oxford Movement (1833-1845) represented growing interest in the Catholic Church in the Protestant University of Oxford. John Henry Newman was the most famous convert to Catholicism in the Oxford Movement. He entered the Catholic Church in 1845 and was ordained a priest in Rome the next year. He came back to England and established the Oratory of St. Philip near Birmingham in 1848.
As a Catholic priest, John Henry Newman wrote Parochial and Plain Sermons, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (a treatise on the philosophy of religion), and Apologia Pro Vita Sua ( the classic defense of his religious views).
On May 12, 1879, John Henry Newman was made Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.
During his trip to England, Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Henry Newman on September 19, 2010.
On November 4, 2009, Benedict XVI issued the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, enabling Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage.
In accordance with Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established on January 15, 2011 under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman.