Claude Newman Conversion Story, Part 2

An investigation into the story of Claude Newman's remarkable conversion -Part 2

Part 1 of this story dealt with Fr. O'Leary's report of the miraculous conversion of prisoner Claude Newman in 1943. A friend named Mary visited the area of Vicksburg, Mississippi and personally investigated many of the details of the story. Below is an email describing much of what she found:

Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 10:04 AM.
Hello Glenn,

I pray this message finds you well. I just returned from Vicksburg searching for the truth and found it. What you choose to do with the information is up to you, but I believe it would do a great service to the faithful to update the site. First, I found no evidence that James Hughes had any sort of outburst before he was executed. There were 3 newspaper reporters there and all said that he was calm and walked to the chair unaided. He was a member of the Holy Roller - Pentecostal faith but did say a Catholic prayer as he was strapped into the chair: "He looked calmly up at the few present and said in clear cut tones: 'I am not afraid to confess the Lord Jesus Christ here tonight before man. May he have mercy on my soul, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.'" So it appears that he was converted at some point, just not in the execution chamber.  This story is corroborated by the nuns who had aided Mildred Johnson in her conversion.

I was told by Fr. Malcolm O'Leary (their names are coincidences), 75 years old, who knew Fr. Robert O'Leary when he was in high school and is now the current parish priest at St. Mary's, that Fr. Robert O'Leary was a good priest, gave the best homilies, liked to "color outside the lines" sometimes and voluntarily left the order in the 1950s. The tape was made in the 1970s in Kenosha, WI (where Fr. O'Leary retired) and it was never intended to be heard by such a large audience. I met with Dr. Ralph F. who had researched the story in 2011 and 2013 and discovered Fr. O'Leary's 1945 handwritten account of the events. There is no mention of Mary appearing to Claude and no mention of James Hughes' last minute conversion. He did say that Claude grasped the catechism quickly and Fr. O'Leary was surprised by that. Claude received the medal in a gentle manner (it was not thrown to him on the floor) and when the fellow prisoner ran out of information, he  suggested that Claude talk to a priest.

At this point, my project regarding Claude is done, although he may be a saint in heaven yet. I was duly impressed with the conversion of Mildred Johnson and I may explore that story some more. The trip was fruitful and my prayer for truth was answered. Dr. Ralph will be writing an article with his findings this summer. If you would like me to send you copies of the newspaper articles (I tried to attach them, but my computer is fussy this morning) I would happy to send them to you.

God bless you,
I would like to personally thank Mary for all of her efforts in getting these important details concerning this story. Below are the newspaper clippings she obtained on the capture and execution of James Samuel Hughes: (Click on photos to enlarge)

Capture of James Samuel Hughes

Execution of James Samuel Hughes, Part 1

Execution of James Samuel Hughes, Part 2 (Click on photos to enlarge)


Anonymous said...

After all these years I doubt that Mary has found the truth she was seeking. The only tangible evidence she can provide are the newspaper clippings she obtained and there is nothing in that to discount the miracle. I am very skeptical of someone who goes off in search of truth. It seems to me that rather they are more likely to be looking to disprove a miracle.

What stands out to me is why a priest would recount a conversion story if there wasn't anything miraculous about it. Many prisoners convert to Catholicism before execution, so there was no story in that. Therefore, I believe there was a miraculous intervention by Our Lady as set out in Part 1 because that is the promise of the Miraculous Medal.

Perhaps Mary could now go off in search of information that would disprove the conversation of Marie Alphone Ratisbonne ...

Unknown said...

I am, also, skeptical of Mary's findings. I believe that the truth would be in Fr. O'Leary's recording/radio broadcast of the events that transpired.

Unknown said...

Right away This lady is looking for trouble. She emphasized "colors outside the lines" and took issue if medal handed or tossed.She has been corrected before about one of her newspaper questions. Father O'Leary's recording is what one believes. It is a preciously beautiful and believable story and we did not need her empty "truth."

Anonymous said...

It is of concern that someone would spend so much time to try and disprove a "miracle" of faith that has a POSITIVE impact on other people. That right there, creates questionable intentions and findings.

Unknown said...

I for one...i always believe and know...God will always prove to us the truth...and thus take away all our doubts..If its true as the story says...Claude Newman even after his death appeared with Mother the execution of another prisoner that made him ask for a priest..for confession and not to go to hell....then we strongly believe he is in heaven with Mary,angels all saints and GOD..Father,son and Spirit...lets keep asking for their intercession for all our payers and truth on this...especially Claude himself since he is in heaven... And all truth will be known..promise to reveal anything... As the Holy Spirit leads us..Amen

Anonymous said...

This lady who posted this article is indeed looking to discredit this saint. Also this woman has not presented hard evidence about this conversion story to be false. If there was a hand written account of this story being exaggerated, why did she not include a photo copy of said account? Or at the very least, a link to said account? Show me the proof and maybe when I have the time, I will look for myself.

Ephraim said...

I share your sentiments too

Anonymous said...

It seems Mary's suspicions are correct. We do not need the fake ones to bolster the beauty of the faith and the Church.

Anonymous said...

This Mary lady who went to investigate never make mentioned of Father O'Leary's promised to our Lady during WWII in a ditch which from the revelation by Our Lady through Claude Newman build the Church.