The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Miracle deacon: “I’m just an ordinary guy, nobody special”

Before he heads to Birmingham for the beatification of John Henry Newman next month, the deacon miraculously healed by Newman’s intercession is speaking out:

Deacon Jack Sullivan got up from his seat next to Bishop David Zubik at the front of St. Paul Cathedral and walked to the pulpit to deliver the homily during Thursday evening’s Mass.


His message to the more than 300 worshippers in attendance was simple: They had just witnessed a miracle.

For more than a decade, doctors had been telling Deacon Sullivan, 71, of Pembroke, Mass., that his spinal degeneration would require surgery to prevent paralysis. Even after having surgery, they told him, he would be unable to walk for at least four months.

Deacon Sullivan said he turned to prayer, asking Cardinal John Henry Newman, who died in 1890, to relieve his pain and help him to finish his studies to become a deacon in the Catholic Church. The pain, he said, went away, and he was able to walk through the corridors of the hospital that same day.

His doctors, who had diagnosed his condition as being among the worst they’d ever seen, said there was no medical explanation for Deacon Sullivan’s recovery. And the Catholic Church has agreed, saying that it was the miracle necessary for the beatification of Cardinal Newman in a ceremony attended by Pope Benedict XVI next month in England.


Deacon Sullivan’s story served as the welcome to those attending the three-day National Newman Conference in Pittsburgh, during which more than 25 speakers from all over the country and Europe will share their thoughts on Cardinal Newman’s life, writings and teachings. The National Institute for Newman Studies in Oakland and the nearby Oratory congregation in the Ryan Catholic Newman Center is hosting the conference…

…”I’m just an ordinary guy — nobody special,” Deacon Sullivan said after the service. “And if I can be healed, anybody can. What we’re saying is hang in there, have faith, there are better days ahead. So many out there are suffering. So many people are living in sorrow. And Newman is telling them, through me, perhaps, that there is hope if we can just persevere, trusting in God’s providence even though we’re suffering.”


Read more here.

I had the opportunity to chat with Deacon Jack a couple weeks ago, to set up an interview with him in advance of the beatification.  He’s a lovely guy, and he’s all that a deacon should be: unassuming, engaging, down-to-earth, and blessed with a healthy dose of Irish good humor. I hope to meet him the next time he passes through New York — and, if only for a fleeting moment, I’ll be able to say that I met a miracle.

Comments read comments(6)
post a comment

posted August 11, 2010 at 9:39 am

Of course he is “just an ordinary guy”. But he is also special. We need more “ordinary” guys like Deacon Sullivan with a strong faith that was honored by the intercession of Cardinal Newman and the favor given to him by God. Deacon Sullivan is the “salt of the earth” in my opinion.

report abuse


posted August 11, 2010 at 11:38 am

Its just as I always thought! All the people who pray for miracle healings, and don’t get them…. well they just don’t have enough faith!
Its your fault, see? This wasn’t an unexpected by physiologically possible recovery – this was a bona fide miracle. And why did he receive this miracle? Because of his faith. So why do others *not* receive a miracle? Because of their lack of faith.

report abuse


posted August 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

K, may the Lord grand you a miracle!
If we have a cure, blessed be the Lord for he is merciful.
If we don’t, blessed be the Lord for he grants to all according to his wisdom. We take the good things he gives, we accept the discipline of suffering when that is our lot. And yet we pray! For he listens. Do you have faith K? I hope you do.
And if we have to suffer or even die; blessed be the Lord for he gives and he takes away. We endure and offer these suffering to Him as we pray for all, especially you K.

report abuse


posted August 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Rudy, You’re right, the Lord can heal…..or not heal. It’s all according to His will. However, don’t put all suffering in the same basket. This is a fallen world, and the results of that fallen world are all the bad things that can happen; terrible destroying weather, earthquakes, volcanoes and yes, illness. We were supposed to live forever in the Garden of Eden until the fall of man. Now we all suffer the consequences of sin. That does include disease and death.

report abuse


posted August 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm

p.s. I also meant to say that all disease and illness is not caused by God’s discipline. God’s discipline is given in order to bring us back into His will and it can and does include our circumstances as well as our health.

report abuse

Pingback: Best Website Cord Blood For Multiple Myeloma St. Paul | How much does cord blood banking cost?

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.