SERVANT of GOD JULIA GREELEY,
Denver's Angel of Charity, was born into slavery, at ,
sometime between 1833 and 1848. While she was still a young child, a cruel
slavemaster, in the course of beating her mother, caught Julia's right eye with
his whip and destroyed it. Hannibal, Missouri
Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Julia subsequently earned her keep by
serving white families in Missouri, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico- though mostly in the area. Whatever she did not need for
herself, Julia spent assisting poor families in her neighborhood. When her own
resources were inadequate, she begged for food, fuel and clothing for the
needy. One writer later called her a "one-person St. Vincent de Paul
Society." To avoid embarrassing the people she helped, Julia did most of
her charitable work under cover of night through dark alleys. Denver
Julia entered the Catholic Church at Sacred Heart Parish in
in 1880, and was an outstanding supporter of all that the parish had to offer.
The Jesuits who ran the parish considered her the most enthusiastic promoter of
devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus they had ever seen. Every month she
visited on foot every fire station in Denver
and delivered literature of the Sacred Heart League to the firemen, Catholics and
non-Catholics alike. Denver
A daily communicant, Julia had a rich devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin and continued her prayers while working and moving about. She joined the Secular Franciscan Order in 1901 and was active in it till her death in 1918.
When Julia's body was laid out in church, immediately many hundreds of people began filing pass her coffin to pay their grateful respect. She was buried in
and to this day
many people have been asking that her cause be considered for canonization. Mt. Olivet
The most thorough compilation of the facts of Julia Greeley’s life have been published in a book by Fr. Blaine Burkey, O.F.M.Cap. The book, In Service of the Sacred Heart: The Life and Virtues of Julia Greeley, recalls the memorable stories and events of this remarkable woman by those who knew her best.