In 1946, the Newman Center at the University of Maine was established for Catholic students, faculty, staff, and families. The original building was located in a former restaurant and log cabin on the opposite side of College Avenue. The current Newman Center at 83 College Avenue in Orono was dedicated in 1969 and is named after St. John Henry Newman, who was canonized a saint by Pope Francis in 2019.
Born in England in 1801, Newman was raised as a member of the Anglican Church and attended Oxford, where he eventually became a tutor. He was ordained an Anglican priest and served the religious community at Oxford. In his 40s, he began to look more critically at his church and came to the belief that it was not rooted deeply enough in the tradition of the early Church. After a period of deep reflection, prayer, and study, he made his profession of faith as a Roman Catholic, eventually being ordained a priest and raised to the position of Cardinal.
The affiliation of his name with Catholic communities at colleges and universities around the world is very appropriate – not only because of his time at Oxford but because in later years, he was sent to Dublin, Ireland, to establish the Catholic University of Ireland. Also, his essay, “The Idea of a University,” won him great acclaim. Furthermore, Newman’s theological works have prompted many to consider him as an important hand in setting the stage for the renewal of the Church in the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
The Newman Center is also known as Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church. Under the patronage and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Wisdom, you are invited to participate in the mission of Jesus, bringing faith and love to this secular campus by donating to the Rebuild His Church Campaign. To invest in the lives of young people today is a lasting gift to the Church! Knowledge, both in the academic realm and in the spiritual life, provides a way for students to flourish here and bring the light of Christ with them wherever they go.