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Pope declares John Sullivan Venerable

Pope Francis has declared Fr John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933), an Irish Jesuit priest with a reputation for saintliness and healing, Venerable. The Pope signed the official decree recognising the heroic virtue of Fr John on Friday, 7 November, 2014.

The Vice-Postulator for the cause, Fr Conor Harper SJ, welcomed the good news from Rome. “This is a day so many have worked and prayed for over the years,” he said. “Fr John showed remarkable holiness and his reputation as a truly saintly person spread far and wide. So there was great devotion to him in his lifetime and that devotion has continued since his death on the 19th February, 1933. Many people believe that his prayers have brought the healing power of God into their lives and his tomb in the Jesuit Church in Gardiner St is visited daily by those who seek is help.”

The now Venerable John Sullivan was born in Dublin on 8 May, 1861. His father, the future Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Sir Edward Sullivan, was a protestant. His mother, Lady Bessie Josephine Sullivan was a Catholic.

John was brought up in the Protestant tradition of his father and was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen. The news was welcomed at his old school by the headmaster, Mr Neill Morton, whi said, “Portora is proud of being the only Protestant school in Ireland that can boast of producing a Catholic saint”.

In December 1896 he was received into the Catholic Church and some four years later he entered the Jesuit Order. Most of his priestly life was spent in Clongowes Wood College, in Co. Kildare. The Church of Ireland joins with the Roman Catholic Church in celebrating this holy priest who was formed in both traditions.