Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Egino Weinert- Germany
We all know that Oct. 1 is the feast of St. Therese of  Lisieux , the Little Flower, and our Prioress' feast day.  Oct. 15 is the feast of the great St. Teresa of Avila, and on Oct. 4 we will have another  Teresa being beatified- another American to boot. And who would believe she comes out of that Mafia ("The Godfather" and "The Soporanos") ridden state of New Jersey.

The beatification of SISTER MIRIAM TERESA DEMJANOVICH, a Bayonne-born nun  who died in 1927 at the age of 26, puts her one step away from formal canonization. We did a Blog about her Oct. 12 of 2012, but will give a synopsis of her life.

A dozen saints are classified as Americans, though most of them were European-born missionaries from the colonial era. In addition, St. Kateri Tekakwitha was a Native American born in the 17th century in what became New York state, and St. Elizabeth Anne Seton was born two years before the Declaration of Independence.

Only St. Katherine Drexel, heiress to a Philadelphia fortune who became a nun, was born in the modern U.S. She died in 1955 and was canonized in 2000.

The beatification Mass will take place  in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark and will be led by Cardinal Angelo Amato, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which oversees all canonizations. About ten years ago I was there for the Ordination of a young man I had known since he was 5. Father Peter's family lived near our Abbey in Ct. and became my family since mine lived so far away in California.

The daughter of Slovakian immigrants,  Bl. Miriam Teresa was born in 1901 and earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey in 1923,  an unusual accomplishment for American women in that era.

She was raised in the Byzantine Catholic rite, an Eastern rite church in communion with the Latin-rite Roman Catholic Church. In 1925 she entered the contemplative religious order of the Sisters of Charity, founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. 

Bl. Miriam Teresa died just two years later of complications following an appendectomy, even before she took final vows. But during those two years she anonymously penned a series of 26 letters on prayer and the spiritual life that were later published as a book that became popular in the 1930s.

In 1963, a third-grade boy at a New Jersey school run by the order went blind due to macular degeneration but regained his sight without treatment, after the sisters led the school in prayers for Sister Miriam’s intercession.

Although Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich was personally unassuming, the spiritual impact she had on other Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth was so unmistakable that they began the effort to have her canonized soon after her May 8, 1927, death in Paterson. Only after her death did confidantes reveal she had described having a vision Mary in her sophomore year and of walking with St. Therese, which she occurred during her novitiate.

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