England could soon have its first saint since the Reformation after a miracle cure was reported in the US.
Cardinal Newman founded the Birmingham Oratory in 1848
Cardinal John Henry Newman, who founded Birmingham Oratory in 1848, is being championed as a future saint by its current provost, Father Paul Chavasse.
A case for his beatification, the stage before sainthood, is ready but it is lacking a miracle by the cardinal.
Claims by a Boston deacon he prayed to the cardinal and his spinal problems were cured are now being investigated.
The claim follows 50 years of work to introduce Cardinal Newman's cause for canonisation - a process which includes collating more than 20,000 of his letters and evidence from personal witnesses to his suitability as a saint.
No English person who has lived since the 16th Century, when many Catholics were killed during the Reformation, has been canonised.
More recently Father Chavasse has been helped in his role as postulator - responsible for advancing the cause - by an Italian church law expert Andrea Ambrosi.
"Time has elapsed, evidence has been gathered, and guided by the Avvocato Ambrosi's expert knowledge and with the Archbishop of Boston, a tribunal opened there (in Boston) on 25 June to investigate this cure," he said.
The tribunal is not expected to finish its work until the beginning of February next year when the evidence will be forwarded to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for examination of the medical and theological aspects.
'Soul's restless search'
Father Chavasse said: "If these processes end positively, undoubtedly a miracle will be announced and Cardinal Newman, the best known English churchman of the 19th Century, will be declared blessed in the usual way."