The miraculous story of Claude Newman & his conversion through the intercession of the Virgin Mary


The remarkable true story of the miraculous intercession of the Virgin Mary in 1944 to prisoner Claude Newman of Mississippi

-The Virgin Mary appears in a series of visions through the intercession of the Miraculous Medal and converts two men on death row.

By: Glenn Dallaire

Claude Newman was an African American man who was born on December 1, 1923 to Willie and Floretta (Young) Newman in Stuttgart, Arkansas. In 1928, Claude’s father Willie takes Claude and his older brother away from their mother for unknown reasons, and they are brought to their grandmother, Ellen Newman, of Bovina, Warren County, Mississippi.

In 1939, Claude's beloved grandmother, Ellen Newman, marries a man named Sid Cook. Soon Sid becomes sexually abusive toward Ellen, which deeply angers Claude. In 1940, Claude works as a farmhand on Ceres Plantation in Bovina, Mississippi. The plantation is owned by a wealthy landowner named U.G. Flowers, and Sid Cook was born and raised on this plantation. One biographer also has Claude getting married also in 1940 at age 17 to a young woman of the same age.

On Dec.19, 1942, Claude is apparently still very angered by Sid's abusive treatment towards his grandmother Ellen, and egged on by dominant friend named Elbert Harris, Claude lies in waiting at Sid Cook’s house (Sid Cook and Ellen Newman have since seperated). Claude shoots Sid as he enters, killing him, and takes his money, then flees to his mothers house in Arkansas, arriving on Dec 20th.

Claude is arrested and sent to prison on death row
In January 1943, Claude is apprehended in Arkansas and is returned to Vicksburg, Mississippi and makes a coerced confession on Jan. 13. Despite protests of Claude’s lawyer Harry K. Murray, his confession is admitted as evidence, and he is found guilty by jury, and is initially sentenced to die in the electric chair on May 14, 1943. Later an appeal to retry the case is rejected by State Attorney General and he is rescheduled to be executed on January 20, 1944.

Claude receives the Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The majority of the information that will now be presented comes from a tape recording of a radio show interview of Father O'Leary- a priest who came to know Claude very well during Claude's imprisionment. 
While Claude was in jail awaiting execution, he shared a cell-block with four other prisoners. One night, the five men were sitting around talking and eventually the conversation ran out. During this time, Claude noticed a medal on a string around one of the other prisoner's neck. Curious, he asked the other prisoner what the medal was. The young prisoner was a Catholic, but he apparently did not know (or did not want to talk) about the medal, and seemingly embarrassed, he appeared angry and suddenly took the medal off from around his own neck and threw it on the floor at Claude's feet with a curse and a cuss, telling him to "take the thing". Claude picked up the medal, and after looking it over, he placed it around his own neck, although he had no idea whose image it was on the medal; to him it was simply a trinket, but for some reason he felt attracted to it, and wanted to wear it.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to Claude in a vision
(The Icon to the left is of “Mary the Teacher” © Copyright 2004 by Brother Claude Lane, OSB, Mount Angel Abbey. This beautiful icon is a representation of the amazing facts below. Click here for more info about Brother Claude's iconography.)

During the night while sleeping on top of his cot, he was awakened with a touch upon his wrist. Awakening with a start, there stood, as Claude told Father O’Leary afterwards, ‘the most beautiful Woman that God ever Created’.

At first he was quite frightened, not knowing what to make of this extraordinary beautiful glowing Woman. The Lady soon calmed Claude down, and then said to
him, "If you would like Me to be your Mother, and you would like to be My child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church."
And after saying these words She suddenly disappeared.

Excited, Claude immediately started to yell "a ghost, a ghost", and started screaming that he wanted a Catholic priest.

Father Robert O'Leary SVD (1911-1984), the priest who tells the story, was called first thing the next morning. Upon arrival he went to see Claude who told him of what had happened the night before. Deeply impressed by the events, Claude, along with the other four men in his cell-block, asked for religious instruction in the Catholic faith.

Claude and some of the other prisoners receive instruction in the Catholic faith
Father O'Leary returned to the prison the next day to begin instruction for the prisoners. It was then that the priest learned that Claude Newman could neither read nor write at all. The only way he could tell if a book was right-side-up was if the book contained a picture. Claude told him that he had never been to school, and Father O’Leary soon discovered that his ignorance of religion was even more profound. He knew practically nothing about religion or the Christian faith. He knew that there was a God, but he did not know that Jesus was God. And so Claude began receiving instructions, and the other prisoners helped him with his studies.

After a few days, two of the religious Sisters from Father O'Leary's parish-school obtained permission from the warden to come to the prison. They wanted to meet Claude and hear his remarkable story, and they also wanted to visit the women in the prison. Soon, on another floor of the prison, the Sisters began to teach some of the women-prisoners the catechism as well.

A heavenly lesson about Confession
Several weeks passed, and it came time when Father O'Leary was going to give instructions about the Sacrament of Confession. The Sisters too sat in on the class. The priest said to the prisoners, "Ok boys, today I'm going to teach you about the Sacrament of Confession."
Claude said, "Oh, I know about that! The Lady told me that when we go to confession we are kneeling down not before a priest, but we're kneeling down by the Cross of Her Son. And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the Blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins."

Hearing Claude say this, Father O'Leary and the Sisters sat stunned with their mouths wide open. Claude thought they were angry and said, "Oh don't be angry, don't be angry, I didn't mean to blurt it out."
The priest said, "We're not angry Claude. We are just surprised. You have seen Her again?"

Claude replied, "Come around the cell-block away from the others."

Proof that the Blessed Virgin Mary was appearing to Claude
When they were alone, Claude said to the priest, "She told me that if you doubted me or
showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland in 1940, you made a vow to Her which She's still waiting for you to keep."

And, Father O'Leary recalls, "Claude then told me precisely what the vow was."

Claude's revelation absolutely convinced Father O'Leary that Claude was telling the truth about his visions of Our Lady. The promise Fr. O’Leary made to Our Lady in 1940 from a ditch in Holland (the proof Claude gave the priest that Our Lady really was appearing to him) was this: that when he could, he would build a church in honor of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. He did just that in 1947. He had been transferred to Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1945 when a group African American Catholic laymen asked to have a church built there. The Bishop of Natchez, Mississippi had been sent $5000 by Archbishop Cushing of Boston for the “Negro missions.” The Bishop and Father O’Leary commissioned the church of the Immaculate Conception to be built, and it is still there today (photo left)

Father O’Leary and Clark then returned to the catechism class on Confession. And Claude kept telling the other prisoners, "You should not be afraid to go to confession. You're really telling God your sins, not the priest”
Then Claude said,
"You know, the Lady said that Confession is something like a telephone. We talk through the priest to God, and God talks back to us through the priest."

A heavenly lesson about Holy Communion
About a week later, Father O'Leary was preparing to teach the class about the Blessed Sacrament. The Sisters were again present for this lesson too. Claude indicated that the Lady had also taught him about the Eucharist, and he asked if he could tell the priest what She said.

Fr. O’Leary agreed immediately. Claude related, "The Lady told me that in Communion, I will only see what looks like a piece of bread. But She told me that It is really and truly Her Son, and that He will be with me just as He was with Her before He was born in Bethlehem. She told me that I should spend my time like She did during Her lifetime with Him-- in loving Him, adoring Him, thanking Him, praising Him and asking Him for blessings. I shouldn't be distracted or bothered by anybody else or anything else, but I should spend those few minutes in my thoughts alone with Him."

Claude is received into the Catholic church and scheduled to be executed
As the weeks progressed, eventually they finished the catechism instructions and Claude and the other prisoners were received into the Catholic Church. The St. Mary’s parish (Vicksburg, MI) baptismal log has recorded his baptism on January 16, 1944.  Fr. O’Leary officiated and a young nun, Sr. Bena Henken, served as his godmother.

Soon afterwards the time came for Claude to be executed. He was to be executed at five minutes after twelve, midnight, on January 20, 1944.

The sheriff, named Williamson, asked him, "Claude, you have the privilege of a last request. What do you want?"
"Well," said Claude, "all of my friends are all shook up. The jailer is all shook up. But you don't
understand. I'm not going to die; only this body. I'm going to be with Her. So, then I would like to have a party"


"What do you mean?” asked the sheriff.

"A party!" said Claude. "Will you give Father O’Leary permission to bring in some cakes and ice cream and will you allow the prisoners on the second floor to be freed in the main room so that we can all be together and have a party?"

"Somebody might attack Father," cautioned the warden.
Claude turned to the men who were standing by and said, "Oh no they won't, right fellas?"
The warden consented and posted additional guards for the party. So, Father O’Leary visited a wealthy patron of the parish, and she generously supplied the ice cream and cake, and everyone enjoyed the party.

Afterwards, because Claude had requested it, they made a Holy Hour, praying especially for Claude and for all of their souls. Fr. O’Leary brought prayer books from the Church, and they all said together the Stations of the Cross, and made a Holy Hour, without the Blessed Sacrament.

As the time neared for Claude’s execution, the men were put back in their cells. The priest then went to the chapel to get the Blessed Sacrament so that he could give Claude Holy Communion in the moment before his execution.
Father O'Leary returned to Claude's cell. Claude knelt on one side of the bars, the priest
knelt on the other, and they prayed together as the clock ticked toward Claude's execution.

A two week stay of execution is granted
Fifteen minutes before the execution, sheriff Williamson came running up the stairs shouting,
"Reprieve, Reprieve, the Governor has given a two-week reprieve!"
Claude had not been aware that the sheriff and the District Attorney were trying to get a stay of execution for Claude to save his life. But when Claude found out, he started to cry.

The priest and the sheriff assumed Claude’s reaction was that of joy because he was not going to be executed. However Claude said, "But you don't understand! If you ever saw Her face, and looked into Her eyes, you wouldn't want to live another day!"

Claude then continued, "What have I done wrong these past weeks that God would refuse me my going home?"
Father O’Leary then testified that Claude sobbed as one who was completely brokenhearted.

Bewildered, the sheriff then left the room. The priest remained and Claude eventually quieted down, then Father O’Leary gave Claude Holy Communion. Afterwards Claude said,
"Why Father? Why must I still remain here for two weeks?"

Claude generously sacrifices himself in an offering for a fellow prisoner
Father O’Leary then had a sudden inspiration. He reminded Claude about James Hughs, a white prisoner in the same jail who hated Claude intensely. This prisoner had led a horribly immoral life, and like Claude he too was sentenced to be executed for murder. James was raised a Catholic, but now he was a reprobate, and rejected God and all things Christian.

Father O’Leary then said "Maybe Our Blessed Mother wants you to offer this denial of being with Her for his conversion." And the priest continued, "Why don't you offer to God every
moment that you are seperated from your heavenly Mother for this prisoner, so that he will not be seperated from God for all eternity."


Claude thought for a moment, then agreed, and he asked Father O’Leary to teach him the words to make the offering. Father O’Leary complied, and he later testified that from that moment on the only two people on earth who knew about this personal offering were Claude and himself, because it was a private matter between God, the Blessed Mother, Claude and himself.

A few hours later (still on the morning after his reprieve of execution) Fr. O’Leary came once again to visit Claude, and Claude said to the priest, "James hated me before, but oh Father, how he hates me now!" (This was because James had heard about Claude’s reprieve and was jealous) To encourage him the good priest said, "Well, perhaps that's a good sign."

Claude’s execution
During his two weeks reprieve, Claude generously offered his sacrifice and prayers for his fellow prisoner, the reprobate James Hughs . Two weeks later, Claude was finally put to death by the electric chair on Feb.4, 1944.

Concerning Claude’s holy death Father O'Leary testified: "I've never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and happily. Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed. They said they couldn't understand how anyone could go and sit in the electric chair while at the same time actually beaming with happiness."


Claude's death notice was printed in the Vicksburg Evening News on the day of his execution Feb. 4, 1944 (see photo left). His last words to Father O'Leary were, "Father, I will remember you. And whenever you have a request, ask me, and I will ask Her."

The miraculous conversion & execution of prisoner James Hughs
Three months later, on May 19, 1944, the white man named James Hughs--the who Claude had offered his sacrifice for, was to be executed. Father O'Leary said, "This man was the filthiest, most immoral person I had ever come across. His hatred for God and for everything spiritual defied description."

He would not allow a priest or any clergyman in his cell. Just before his execution, the county doctor pleaded with him to at least kneel down and say the "Our Father" before the sheriff would come for him. The prisoner spat in the doctor's face.

When he was strapped into the electric chair, the sheriff said to him, "If you have something to say, say it now."
The condemned man started to blaspheme.

All of a sudden he stopped speaking, and his eyes became fixed on the corner of
the room, and his face turned to one of absolute horror. Suddenly he screamed in terror--a horrible scream that shocked everyone present.

Turning to the sheriff, he then said, "Sheriff, get me a priest!"

Now, Father O'Leary had been in the room because Mississippi law at that time required a clergyman to be present at executions. The priest, however, had hidden himself behind some reporters because the condemned man had threatened to curse God if he saw a clergyman.

Upon calling for a priest, Father O'Leary immediately went to the condemned man. The room was cleared of everyone else, and the priest heard the man's confession. The man said he had been a Catholic, but turned away from his religion when he was 18 because of his immoral life. He confessed all of his sins with deep repentance and intense fervor.

While everyone was returning to the room, the sheriff asked the priest, "Father, what made him change his mind?"
"I don't know " said Father O'Leary, "I didn't ask him."
The sheriff said, "Well, I will never sleep tonight if I don't ask him."

The Sheriff went to the condemned man and asked, "Son, what changed your mind?"
The prisoner responded, "Remember that black man Claude – the one whom I hated so much? Well he's standing there [and he pointed], over in that corner. And behind him with one hand on each shoulder is the Blessed Virgin Mary. And Claude said to me, 'I offered my death in union with Christ on the Cross for your salvation. She has obtained for you this gift of seeing your place in Hell if you do not repent.'
I have been shown my place in Hell, and that's why I screamed."

James Hughs was executed as scheduled, but the heavenly appearence of our Blessed Mother with Claude Newman and the subsequent vision of hell had instantly converted his soul in the last moments of his life. With the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Father O'Leary had taught Claude to unite himself with the suffering of Jesus by offering his own sufferings to Him, just as we all can do for others, and Claude's suffering helped to pay the price for James' remarkable last minute conversion and repentance. Therefore we must never under-estimate the the value of our suffering joined with that of Jesus Christ’s, and also the power and loving intercession of Our Blessed Mother in heaven.

O’ Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!
____________________________________________________________
I am very grateful to Brother Claude Lane OSB, of the Mount Angel Abbey, in St. Benedict, Oregon for the following information and chronology of the life of Claude Newman (Note: Br. Claude is the artist who created the beautiful icon of the Virgin Mary and Claude Newman in this article. Click here for more information about Brother Claude's iconography.)

Chronology of the Life of Claude Newman

1923- Dec.1, Claude Newman is born to Willie and Floretta Young Newman in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

1928- Claude and his older brother are removed from their mother by Willie, who takes them to be raised by their grandmother, Ellen Newman, in Bovina, Mississippi, east of Vicksburg.

1930- Six year old Claude appears in the Federal census, living with his Grandmother in Warren County. They reside on the Ike Henry place.

Late 1930s- Claude spends time in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp)

c.1939- Claude's grandmother, Ellen Newman, marries Sid Cook. Soon he becomes sexually abusive toward Ellen, which angers Claude.

c.1940-41- Claude works on Ceres Plantation in Bovina, owned by U. G. Flowers. Sid Cook was born and raised on this place. If Claude Newman has married, it was not registered in Warren Co. Perhaps he was married in another county, or parish of Louisiana. In any case, he is no longer with her by Dec. 19, 1942.

1942- Dec.19, Egged on by dominant friend Elbert Harris, Claude lies in waiting in Sid Cook’s house (Cook and Ellen Newman have since seperated). Claude shoots Sid as he enters, and takes his money, then flees to his mothers house in Little Rock, AR., arriving on the 20th. First time she has seen him since he was five. She is now re-married to a man named Rogers, who finds Claude a job. Claude now goes by the name ‘Ralph’.

Jan 1943- Claude is apprehended in Arizona and is returned to Vicksburg, Mississippi and makes a coerced confession on Jan. 13. Despite protests of Claude’s lawyer Harry K. Murray, confession is admitted as evidence. He is found guilty by an all white jury. He is sentenced to die in the electric chair on May 14, 1943. Appeal to re-try the case is rejected by State Attorney General. Sid Cook’s patron, U. G. Flowers, has too much influence.

Jan.20, 1944 is given as new date for execution.

1943-44 Sometime late in 1943, Claude puts on a miraculous medal, begins having visions of the Virgin Mary. She encourages him to find a priest and become a Catholic. Fr. Robert O’Leary, SVD of St. Mary’s for Colored, and Catholic County Doctor Augustine Podesta, minister to him.

1944- Jan.16, Fr. O’Leary baptizes Claude in jail with the name ‘Claude Jude’, with Sr. Benna Henken, SSpS standing as his sponsor. Just before Claude is to be executed on Jan. 20, a stay of execution of two weeks arrives. He is finally put to death on Feb.4, 1944. Claude has his favorite dessert, coconut pie, on the night before he dies. His body is buried in the historic African American “Beulah cemetary” in Vicksburg, MS. His death notice was printed in the Vicksburg Evening News on the day of his execution, Feb. 4, 1944.

A few months later on May 19, 1944, Claude appears in a vision along with the Blessed Mother, to his fellow inmate James Hughs – a white man who he had prayed and sacrificed for in the two weeks prior to his death, and who on this day is himself seated on the electric chair. Seeing the vision, the James immediately repents of his sins and is saved from eternal damnation, just moments before his execution.

1947- Fulfilling his previous promise to the Virgin Mary made in a ditch in Holland, Fr, O’Leary founds Immaculate Conception Parish (for African Americans) in Clarksville, Mississippi.

1960’s- Fr. O’Leary records a testimony of Claude Newman’s Story for a radio broadcast.

1984 –Death of Fr. Robert O’Leary, SVD (1911-1984)

2001- The March 2001 issue of The Catholic Family News publishes “The True Account of Prisoner Claude Newman (1944)” by John Vennari. This article is taken from the 1960’s radio broadcast testimony by Father Robert O’Leary.

2002- While looking for information on Cardinal Newman, Br. Claude Lane of Mount Angel Abbey, happens on the miraculous story of Claude Newman.

2003- In the early summer, Br. Claude is inspired to write the icon “Mary, the Teacher” and he begins the task of researching Claude Newman’s life with initial help from Catholic Family News, along with the research of John Sharpe Sr. of Phoenix, Arizona.

12/22/2011 -Additionally Brother Claude adds: “A historian by the name of Ralph Frasca has been working on a biography for Claude Newman. He did find the identity of the white reprobate for whom Claude offered his life. His name was James Hughs, and he was electrocuted in Vicksburg on May 19, 1944. That can be added to the chronology. Interestingly, a black woman was also executed (for murder) in Vicksburg on that same day, named Mildred Johnson. She, too, had become a Catholic through the ministrations of the nuns from the African American parish of St. Mary's. These last two findings were the work of Mr. Frasca, and can, as I said, be added to the chronology." –Brother Claude Lane, OSB

Addendum: Feb 4, 2013:
I received an email from a gentleman and his wife who are said to have investigated the facts concerning Claude Newman. One of the details they pointed out is the following:
"His (Claude Newmans') official Mississippi department of health death certificate lists Newman’s place of burial as “Beluah Cemetery.” As we subsequently learned from Ms. Yolande Robbins, a African-American funeral director in Vicksburg, that this was a misspelling of “Beulah Cemetery,” Vicksburg’s only public burial ground for blacks in Newman’s day, which, according to Robbins, was undergoing restoration at the time to help identify the many unknown bodies."

Additionally the email also points out: "...Newspaper accounts reported that Newman was executed at 7:00A.M on Feb. 4, 1944, not midnight as Fr. O’Leary claimed."
"....Other [newspaper] accounts dealt with the execution on May 19 that year of one James Samuel Hughes, most certainly the man Fr. O’Leary described as the white prisoner who had committed incest with his daughters and had shot a policeman. But he was not, as Fr. O’Leary asserted, a lapsed Catholic. The newspaper described him as “a member of the ‘Holy Roller’ faith.”

O’ Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

What an amazing story! thank you for sharing this and all of the others as well. God Bless you!

Dodie said...

This is the most amazing story of faith I've ever read on the internet! What a faith builder!!! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

I pray some one reads this and makes a movie .. what an incredible story

Thank you..

Colleen @ ID said...

Well researched and written. Glad you posted and I got to read this.

Anonymous said...

Loved this account. Thanks so much for compiling and publishing it on your website. May God bless you, abundantly!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and moving story! This is what children should learn about in the schools. It was so amazing when Claude Newman began to cry because he could not be executed right-away and go to heaven to be "with her" (Blessed Virgin Mary); now I am less afraid when it is my time to pass-away, it has made me more courageous! God bless you and your loved ones

Anonymous said...

Anonymous

This is a fantastic story, those who fear and do not believe in confession should read this story. It really builds your faith in the R Catholic religion. The power of God through Our Great Mother. God Bless

Anonymous said...

This story really inspired me and bolstered my faith.
May Jesus have mercy on us! and may the Virgin Mary pray for us!

Anonymous said...

This will make a good lunch story today! I cannot wait to read it before my 3 children.

Anonymous said...

Deeply and profoundly moving story...
miraculous. I somehow managed to read the last few lines through the tears... Ave Maria!

lor said...

Our Lady is so precious.!! This story should be on the news, movies and everywhere. It proves Jesus unbelieveable mercy and love for us, for we all know that through Our Blessed Mother, she gains it from him for us. Our world really need to hear more beautiful true stories,like this.

Anonymous said...

This is such a beautiful story of conversion. At a time in history when society seems to damn anyone who has fallen to"hell', this inspiring story shows us why Our Lord taught us not to condemn and to always forgive. For no soul is lost as long as their is breath in their body to say "forgive me lord". I will always remember what Mary taught us through Claude regarding confession and Holy Communion. This story is a true blessing and I pray it is told to the world.

Patricia said...

This is my absolute favorite story of Our Blessed Mother's love, care and intercession through the Miraculous Medal. My second favorite is the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne. I hope this amazing conversion story can be printed someday. This is a sharer for Facebook! Claude Newman's story inspires everyone who reads it. I too hope and pray someone will be inspired to make a movie of his life.

Byzcat said...

Beautiful story. Just to clarify, one who "writes" and icon is not an artist. An icon is a work of prayer, not a work of art. It is a window into heaven. It is not painted, it is written.

Emma said...

Thank you, Mother Mary, for love for us, your children. What a beautiful story of Mary's mission to bring all her children to the path of Her Beloved Son, Jesus, the Christ.

John Riedell said...

Thank you fro publishing this story. It is edifying. It should be widely disseminated. I, too, would like to see a movie of it, accurate to the narrative.

Anonymous said...

I agree this should made into a movie. What a beautiful story about forgiveness and sacrifice. People today need to hear these inspiring stories and live by its example. Blessed mother please never leave my side. May you guide us all on the path straight to your son and our savior, Jesus!

Teófilo de Jesús said...

Very nice! I posted this exact same story six-and-a-half years ago here:

Vivificat.

May the Lord richly bless your eEvangelization ministry.

+JDJ,
-Theo

Shar said...

Dear Claude please intercede for me.. Amen

Anonymous said...

Every time I read one of these articles, I reproach myself for the moments in which I drift a little from the Lord and Our Lady. These articles send me right back into Their arms. I hope they'll always be around. Thank you and God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to rain on the parade; but I checked the list of executions in Miss. and found no one by the name of Claude Newman in or around 1944.

I did find James Hughes who was electrocuted in May 1944 in Sunflower County Miss.

I want to believe this story but need an explenation for this discrepency.

Anonymous said...

This man claims to know personally people involved in the case:

http://www.fatimaondemand.org/en/index.php/tv-programs/fatima-the-moment-has-come/500-to-599/276-511-the-claude-newman-story

Glenn Dallaire said...

To reply to Anonymous' post of December 28 at 7:57pm, Claude's death notice was printed in the Vicksburg Evening News on the day of his execution--Feb. 4, 1944.

Additionally, the online listing of executions in the USA is neither official or exhaustive, nor free of errors. For example, it lists James Hughes as executed in Sunflower County, whereas that is where he came from. As the article states, he was actually executed in Warren County (Vicksburg).

I hope this helps to clarify the facts.

Thanks for your comments and may God bless you and your loved ones.
-Glenn Dallaire

Dawn Eden said...

Beautiful. Thank you so much. I hope someone opens Claude Newman's cause for canonization.

Anonymous said...

The appearance of this account at this moment in my life in Canada's ecclesiastical history(which is currently under duress when it comes to the Eucharist) is nothing less than providential. I am strengthened, consoled and hopeful after this reading of Claude Newman. God bless you for your dedication to proclaiming God's marvelous mercy to Claude through the intermediary of our Blessed Mother.

Elizabeth said...

That would indeed make a terrific movie, it made me cry. I think there would need to be more evidence about it to open a cause for canonization. But if more evidence exists and this is really what happened, there should be a cause.

Anonymous said...

"To reply to Anonymous' post of December 28 at 7:57pm, Claude's death notice was printed in the Vicksburg Evening News on the day of his execution--Feb. 4, 1944."

Thanks Glen!

There's so much junk on the internet that I've learned to be sceptical about everything and try to verify it for myself. Sadly, you can't even trust those sorces either.

Thanks for providing more details.

Glenn Dallaire said...

To those following these comment posts, I added a photo of the newspaper article of Claude's death notice that was printed in the Vicksburg Evening News to the main article above (special thanks to Brother Claude.)

Also for those interested, the G.K. Chesterton Theatre Co has a play entitled "Claude Newman" for sale. Here is there description of the play:
"The remarkable story of African American death row inmate, Claude Newman. The play is based on a supernatural event that occurred in a Mississippi prison. The event was confirmed by the chaplain Father Robert O'Leary."
Those interested can find out more here

-Glenn Dallaire

Rainman498 said...

Wow! I worked in the Warren Co. Jail in Vicksburg for five years (2000-2005) and never knew of this story. Was there ever any effort to make the vision of Mary an OLO of Vicksburg?

st bosco said...

Hello, How does Mary get around like god does? If she is not deity, how does she have all this power. Catholics have told me over and over again that they dont worship her, that they just like her alot. But you give her the attributes of a god. You even pray to her. prayer is worship. I think there is a movement in the catholic church to have the Pope make a pronouncement elevating Mary to a bigger spot officially. She has this semi deity now, unofficially. Thanks for your time

Anonymous said...

@St. BOSCO:
CATHOLICS AND ORTHODOX SHOW REVERENCE FOR JESUS' MOTHER AND CALL HER "BLESSED" PER THE BIBLE TELLS US TO Luke 1:47-49 . WE ASK FOR HER INTERCESSION (RECALL THE FIRST MIRACLE WAS BY HER TELLING JESUS "THEY HAVE NO WINE" AT THE WEDDING FEAST OF CANA). SHE WAS CREATED PERFECTLY, JESUS CHOSE HER FOR HIMSELF AS DID THE FATHER AND HOLY SPIRIT. GOOGLE OUR LADY OF FATIMA, OUR LADY OF LOURDES, ETC. SHE HAS BEEN SENT ON MANY MISSIONS FROM THE TRINITY.

Joseph J. said...

What a awesome and inspiring story in honor of our blessed Mother for today, Jan 1, as the Church celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God!

Joseph J.

Anonymous said...

Dear "St Bosco". The Church distinguishes between dulia (veneration) and latria (worship). The Church teaches that only latria can be given to God. Unfortunately even some translations of prayers into English use the English word "worship" when meaning devotion (love, definately not latria) in relation to Our Lady and the saints. Info always needs to be checked with reputable sources. There is a lot of ignorance and misinformation about the Catholic Church. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Dear St Bosco
We ask people to pray for us, but this is not to worhip them. Similarly, Catholics ask saints to pray for them, but this is wholly different from the worship due to God. If I pray, and someone gets healed, I have not healed them, God has. The same goes for Mary, but just as weuse a sort of shorthand, and say so-and so has a healing ministry, rather than that so and so has a ministry to pray for healing, and God heals, so we sat Mary did thus and so, rather than that Mary prayed, and God acted.
The other question you asked is how does Mary get about? The best answer I have heard was from a Dominican priest, who said the saints do not know everything, but God reveals to them what they need to know.

Suburbanbanshee said...

God is everywhere, right, and Christ is God?

And the saints in Heaven live forever in Christ, right?

So it's not a matter of the saints "going" anywhere. They're already here in Christ. They're the "cloud of witnesses", and like the angels, they're always around; and they participate in worship of God right along with us.

The only difference here from ordinary life is that this man saw one of the saints, instead of just being unable to see the perfectly normal cloud of witnesses. It's a wonderful thing, yes, but not something outside God's normal plans.

Anonymous said...

Another love story due to the Heart of Love. I love the stories of Mother Mary!

Lukas said...

Beautiful story.

I have a question, though. I'm seeing different accounts of Claude's crime. On "The True Account of Prisoner Claude Newman" I find this, "Another worker ran to tell Claude that his wife was screaming from the house. Immediately Claude ran into his house and found a man attacking his wife. Claude saw red, grabbed an axe and split the man's head open. When they rolled the man over, they discovered that it was the favorite employee of the landowner for whom Claude worked." But the version you provide states that the murder was in retaliation for the abuse of Ellen, Claude's grandmother. Any idea which version is correct?

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Lukas,
Thanks for your comment. In fact you make an excellent observation and point. Yes, there are 2 different versions of Claude's crime. The one I have chosen, concerning his grandmother Ellen, is the "official" one that the state of Mississippi procecuted him for. The other, concerning his alleged wife, is the story as related by Father O'Leary on a radio program in the 1960's, and transcribed from audiotape and published by John Vennari in The March 2001 issue of "The Catholic Family News". -This is the version that is readily availible elsewhere online.

Thanks again and may God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Anonymous said...

Glenn,

I knew nothing at all about this man and his amazing conversion until I read it here. Thank you!

I've now tweeted his story (a link to your web site).

God Bless,

Paul O'Neill

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

St. Bosco, If you are a Bible reader you know that other heavenly figures besides Mary appear in the Bible. Angels aren't God, but they appear frequently. Tobias was accompanied by Raphael. Gabriel appeared to Mary. An angel wrestled with Jacob and one appeared to Joshua. The Mother of God is the Queen of the Angels. Surely God can use her as a messenger as well and often has.

Anonymous said...

i am timothy in Ghana
This is awesome and life changing story for me. I have to share with my colleagues alter boys. God bless you.
MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US

Anonymous said...

I love Our Blessed Virgin Mother very much and have accepted her as my perpertual Mother. I live knowing that she is always there watching over me as how a a sweet loving and gentle mother would. Reading this miraculous story of brother Claude Newman gives me great assurance that my Blessed Mother will never abandon me under any circumstances. Aren't we catholics lucky that our saviour gave his Mother to us so that none of us will ever fill unloved when we see her beautifull and loving face.

Anonymous said...

Félicitations pour le site, quel beau récit, Prions pour les incroyants, et demandons à la Vierge de visiter nos jeunes. Merci

Rose Ong said...

Thank YOU my good LORD for giving me YOUR beloved mother...Hail Mary Full of Grace, THE LORD is with thee,Blessed art thou amongst women & Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus,Holy Mary MOTHER OF GOD Pray for us sinners, NOW & at the hour of our death AMEN

Anonymous said...

O Beloved Church of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, we have so much and yet we know so little! Thank you for bringing such a powerful tale to our attention and Blessed be Jesus and Mary now and for evermore.
John Pius from Kampala, Uganda

Michael Wills said...

This an amazingly beautiful and inspirational story. Why have I not come across it before - why is it not taught in our parishes.
No matter how heinous his crime, his confession and reconciliation surely demanded a full pardon from the death sentence, (an wrongful end for any man or woman). He is most certainly in my calendar of saints.

fr.luke amadeo osf said...

I have been in prison ministry here in the West Indies for almost thirty years,I wept while reading the story of Claude and will pray to him for prisoners.His cause for sainthood should be opened kids and hardened sinners in the ghetto should learn about him.Let us pray that someoneopens his cause.

Edithsgirl said...

Dear Mr. Dallaire,

I was deeply moved by your story of Claude Newman and Our Lady's intervention in his life. I am in formation to become a Secular Carmelite and was lead to your web site after an interval of mental prayer. I was looking at a listing of Catholic Mystics and the name Claude Newman leaped off the page at me. The narrative would be extraordinary under any circumstance but Father O'leary married my parents and later baptized me (in January of 1960) at Sacred Heart Church in Greenville, Ms. He was a close family friend but until I brought this story to my mother's attention she was unaware of his experiences with Mr. Newman. She said that was consistent with Father's character as he was the kind of man who did a lot of good but usually took no credit for it. Is there any way that we can get a copy of the recording of this story? It would mean a lot to my family.

Thanks,

Gina

Glenn Dallaire said...


Hi Gina,
Thanks for your comments and for the additional information about Father O'Leary.

As far as the audio recording, you will find a good portion of it transcribed on a number of websites online (just do a Google search for Claude Newmann). But I personally don't have a copy of the audio recording itself. I do know it was copied onto audio cassettes and was availible in limited quantities at one point.

Additionally, there is also an good interview with John Vennari who is very familiar with the Claude Newmann story:

Claude Newmann video interview

Thanks again for your comments and may God bless you and your loved ones.
Glenn Dallaire

nancy said...

what an amazing story,it made me feel so good to read it.The Blessed Mother loves us all very much.

Mitzi said...

I beautiful Missionary of Charity sister shared this with me in written form. I've been searching the internet for an official page. I found it here! THANK YOU!!
I now have another tool to teach our Faith!

Mitzi said...

A beautiful Missionary of Charity sister gave this to me in written form. I am so glad to have found it here! God Bless You!

leelee10 said...

Mary thank you for your constant motherly love. Give all those with you a big hello for me that they to wil pray for me. Love you.

Anonymous said...

I hid my miraculous medal in my mother house about a year ago because she is a non-believer in the Catholic Faith. 2 days ago another medal was lying on my dresser. Just so happens I come across this wonderful story. I placed the new medal on next to the crucifix I always wear...the Blessed Mother is always keeping an eye on me...peace...

Anonymous said...

This a beautiful story, all who read it should feel blessed, thank you for sharing it with usl

Anonymous said...

The account you have of Claude's crime is not accurate according to the priest who assisted Claude.

The story is that Claude was actually married to a girl who lived on the plantation with Claude. Claude was in a field plowing when a young boy came running out to him and said “Claude your wife is screaming for you”

As he approached the cabin he heard his wife screaming. As he entered the house he picked up a double bladed ax. He saw a man in the act of raping his wife. Claude split the guys head open and pulled him off his wife. He saw that it was the favored employee of the owner of the plantation.

This man was also the boyfriend of his grandmother. The sheriff and an attorney tried to get Claude off stating that it was justifiable homicide. The governor would not listen. He listened only to this rich and important owner of the plantation.

Claude was sentenced to death in the electric chair due to this crime.

Anonymous said...

Death is imminent for me, and I have been so long so full of fear and dread--Claude and Our Lady have given me hope. May God bless you for this work.

Francesca Ilel said...

What a powerful story! Thnx to Glenn for writing this with all the vital details. Surely Claude should be canonized! Pray for us Claude Newman and tell mother Mary to keep us focused in the race of life such that we may have peace, great health and joyful spirits! Maria from Uganda

Anonymous said...

I never grow weary of reading stories like this.

PAMU said...

moved wih story.
HOLY MARY PRAY FOR US
I LOVE YOU MOTHER MARY SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH

Anonymous said...

I just heard the account of Claude Newmann today on Catholic radio for the first time, and came here to look up the details. I am so amazed! How I wish this account were more widely known! What astounds me the most was how this uncatechized man told Fr. O'Leary what Our Lady said about confession and the Eucharist, and it is instructive to us who believe!!! Oh, what hope and happiness this account brings to me. This brings me great peace, and inspires me to continue to pray most heartily for those who have rejected God and seem lost. Thank you for researching and documenting this account for us.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story of Our Blessed Mother Mary and the gift of intercession. How remarkable and inspiring the account of Claude Newmann's conversion and the beauty of viewing death as a wonderous path to a heavenly home. This story must be shared. Blessed Mother, pray for us.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful story about sinners defensor in front of God, the tender mother of weak hearts, who despises no one to ask for help, and even who never was told about her, as Claude. Teached by the Virgin herself, Claude knew what is confession and how to receive well the Bread. O Mother of tenderness... FROM BRAZIL ON Aug 18,2013

Anonymous said...

If Jesus can forgive Peter who denied him three times in the midst of His passion, St. Dismas, the good thief, who repented his wrong doings as he hung next to the Lord on his own cross or St. Paul who in his ignorance at the time persecuted the followers of Jeuse then why not a prisoner (or two or more) once ravaged with sin but repentant? Our God Jesus who was willing to lay down His life for all sinners would then care no less for sinners such as Claude and you and me. JMJ hear our prayers. Jenny

watabunchaplonkas said...

SOME ONE GET ONTO MEL GIBSON,HE,S THE ONLY ONE COULD MAKE A MOVIE TO MATCH THAT AWESOME STORY !!

Germaine said...

I am so happy that I read this story. It only reminds me of the love of our God, no matter how sinful we are and also the everlasting love of our mother Mary who constantly interceeds for us. May God continue to deliver us even when we fall especially right now that we live in a world that evil seems to prevail and gradually people no longer believe in Heaven or Hell.

john konnor said...

..thank you..Claude Newman..pray for us

Jorge Peyon said...

Este conmovedor relato nos muestra cuán enorme es la presencia de nuestra Madre del Cielo.
This heartwarming story shows how enormous is the presence of our heavenly Motherste.

Paul said...

Thank you for posting this account.

Oh how loving and wonderful is Our heavenly Mother. How grateful must we be to the heavenly Father for such a gift to the world. I have read this twice through tears of joy and wonderment. And everything points to sacramentals, the priesthood, baptism, confession and the Holy Eucharist. Lest we need reminding, it is so Catholic. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.

Paul

magomusic said...

Oh, what a beautiful, powerful, wonderful story!! I read this a while back, and at the time I printed out a copy of that lovely icon of Our Lady with Claude Newman. Today, while looking for something else, I came across that picture, and felt very inspired to reread the story; and I am SO GLAD that I did! It moved me even more than it did the first time I read it. It's an interesting "coincidence" too, because just a few days ago I began wearing my Miraculous Medal again! I agree with some of the previous comments, this story should be made into a movie or play! I think it would inspire and touch many hearts and souls, and bring about many true inner conversions. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing this!

Petja Stoilova said...

One miraculous place:

http://www.crossforest.com/miracle_evidences.html?language=en

Miraculous icons, which really helped me and changed my life positively :

http://chudesatanaikonite.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Awesome story <3 ..what a stupend movie, would come out about this story. but the best thing is that its happened for real :)

Anonymous said...

dont have words to say about this special yet powerfull story. I started wearing the medal days ago and didnt know its meaning,but now i know how powerful it is and what it stands to represent. Mary mother of God pray for us

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