Beatification ceremony for priest raised as Protestant

Saturdays beatification ceremony for Fr John Sullivan in Dublins Gardiner Street Church

Saturdays beatification ceremony for Fr John Sullivan in Dublins Gardiner Street Church

A Catholic priest who was raised as a Protestant has been beatified in the first such ceremony in Ireland.

Fr John Sullivan was recognised for his work with the sick and dying.

It is the first step on the road to sainthood.

Cardinal Angelo Amato said Fr Sullivan had been “exemplary” in his religious duties.

He added: “Those who knew him considered him a saint, and in my opinion he had reached a high degree of perfection.

“Even though he came from a rich family, once he became religious he was oblivious to comfort and contented himself with what was necessary,” said Cardinal Amato.

The member of the Jesuit order was born in Dublin in 1861 and attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh.

Representatives from the school were present at the ceremony in North Dublin’s Gardiner Street Church.

It was conducted by the cardinal assisted by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.

After the beatification Fr Sullivan will be called “Blessed” and will be celebrated annually on May 8.

During Saturday’s ceremony relics relating to him were blessed, including the “Sullivan Cross” which he would take with him when visiting the sick.

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, was also present.

Portora’s other alumni included the playwrights Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett.

After leaving the school, he studied at Trinity College Dublin.

In 1896 aged 35 he converted to Catholicism before entering the Jesuit order in 1900.

The clergyman taught at Clongowes Wood College in Dublin until his death in 1933, aged 71.