New Jersey Native to Be Beatified in Newark

Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich Was Contemplative Nun of Sisters of Charity

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Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a Byzantine Catholic sister who died in 1927 at the age of 26, will be beatified Oct. 4 in her home state of New Jersey.

Bishop Kurt Burnette, bishop of the Catholic Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersey, announced that Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, will celebrate the liturgy.

“Not many people around the country are aware that an American woman, Sister Miriam Teresa … will be declared ‘blessed,’” Bishop Burnette said in a letter inviting Catholics of the region to the ceremony.

“I believe many Americans will be edified to know that a fellow citizen is on the road to canonization. Furthermore, many Americans will find a friendship with God or have their friendship enlivened when they discover her writings on prayer.”

Those writings were published in the 1930s after the nun’s death.

During Sister Miriam Teresa’s time as a sister she wrote a series of 26 letters anonymously but which were later revealed to be hers, and were published in book form. (Read more about her life and writings at the website of the Sisters of Charity.)

“What is it to pray?” she wrote. “Prayer is the breathing in of the soul of the life-giving ether, God. The soul breathes in God. It should be as natural for us to pray as to breathe.”

“I felt very intensely that if people only sought God in all earnestness they would find him,” she wrote in another letter. “And if all would only make use of the ordinary duties and trials of their state in the way God intended, they would all become saints.”

Vocation

Born in 1901 in Bayonne, New Jersey, the future contemplative earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey, a rarity for American women in 1923.

Although raised in the Byzantine Catholic rite, two years after graduation she entered the contemplative religious order of the Sisters of Charity. The order was founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American to be declared a saint.

Because Sister Miriam Teresa died before professing final vows in the order, she never changed to the Latin Catholic rite, which is why Byzantine Catholics will hail her in a special way for the beatification.

Healed

The miracle leading to the beatification and attributed to Sister Miriam Teresa’s intercession also occurred in New Jersey.

The beneficiary of the miracle was a boy who attended a school run by the Sisters of Charity.

Named Michael, he was a third grader in 1963 who was deemed legally blind due to bilateral macular degeneration. The condition is incurable now as it was then, and leads to total blindness.

The sisters at the school and all the parishioners of St. Anastasia Parish in Teaneck prayed for Sister Miriam’s intercession. The boy regained his sight completely, without treatment of any kind.

In the investigation for Sister Miriam Teresa’s cause, the unexplained cure was deemed to be a miracle, leading to her beatification next month.

The cause for her canonization was begun by the Paterson Diocese in 1945.

[Source for this article: The Catholic Philly of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: http://catholicphilly.com/2014/09/news/local-news/new-jersey-nun-a-step-closer-to-sainthood/]

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