On December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we were able to bless the new home of the International Centre of Newman Friends in Rome.
Because the Sisters of our Spiritual Family The Work were concluding their service in the Generalate of the Missionaries of Africa, we needed to find a new home for the Newman Centre which – ever since it was founded in 1975 – had been in the „Piccola Casa“, next door to the Missionaries of Africa in the Via Aurelia.
A few months earlier, Providence had made it possible for us to acquire a flat next to our „Collegium Paulinum“ in the Via di Val Cannuta, and – after various restoration projects – this is now providing a home for the Newman Centre. Over the past few weeks, with energetic help from several friends, we have transferred the whole library to the Centre’s new location.
The Blessing was marked by an atmosphere of profound joy and thankfulness. The Lord had led our Mother Julia, in the 1960s, to discover in St. John Henry Newman a spiritual brother, and the history of the Newman Centre is characterized by clear signs of Providence. Mother Julia’s life was bonded to Providence, and – like Newman, who allowed himself to be led by the ‚Kindly Light’ of the Lord, even in life’s dark and dramatic times – she always saw in God the leader and the plan for The Work.
Newman knew that: „All Thy acts of Providence are acts of Love“ (Meditations and Devotions, p. 420). For as long as we are pilgrims here on earth, we must remain prepared for reversal, change and renewal. St. John Henry Newman famously wrote: “Here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often“ (An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 40). To live is to change, and this could also refer to moving to a new place – as our Newman Centre in Rome has done.
Fr. Hermann Geissler FSO