The July meeting of the Trustees of the St Barnabas Society took place within the beautiful setting of The College at Littlemore, on the south east side of Oxford. It is lovingly cared for by The Sisters of The Society of The Work and serves as the International Centre of Newman Friends. It was the home of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman from 1842-1846 and the place where he was received into the full Communion of the Catholic Church by the Passionist priest, Blessed Dominic Barberi, on 9th October 1845.
Most of our Trustees had never visited The College before and some knew very little about the story of Newman’s conversion. It was a very moving experience to be able to celebrate Mass in the chapel of The College which had once been Newman’s oratory and is the place where Blessed Dominic received him. We were then able to move on to the place that had once been Newman’s library for the meeting itself. We were surrounded by Newman memorabilia as we discussed the support we give to our beneficiaries and the everyday work of the Society so that too was a very touching experience. It was a very happy and fruitful day and one which we hope will be repeated many times in the future.
This meeting had a special significance because the Trustees have decided to move the Society Headquarters from its present location at Wolvercote to the outskirts of Littlemore. It will happen during August and The College will be within walking distance of our new home. More information about the move and our new location will follow shortly but in the meantime we need all our supporters and friends to keep the St Barnabas Society close to their hearts and to make a special point of praying for us each day. The move is a leap of faith but it will give us a wonderful opportunity to connect with Newman’s conversion story in a way that has not been previously possible and hopefully to play a part – albeit a small one – in the movement which is now pressing for his canonisation and that of Blessed Dominic.
Newman wrote of Littlemore: “There it has been that I have both been taught my way and received an answer to my prayers.” May the same be true for the St Barnabas Society as we prepare for this new and exciting chapter. Through the intercession of St Barnabas and St Paul, Blessed John Henry Newman and Blessed Dominic Barberi, may the “Kindly Light” to whom Newman turned and who is God Himself lead the Society forward in faith and help us to embrace the many challenges and opportunities that this move will inevitably place in our way.
“Keep Thou my feet, I do not ask to see
The distant scene, one step enough for me.”