BLESSED MIRIAM TERESA DEMJANOVICH, SC
(1901 - 1927)
“As I understand it, God’s purpose in my life is this in general: To teach all people that Our Lord’s promise ‘All who love Me will keep My Word; and My Father will love them and We will come to them and make our abode with them’ is held out to every soul regardless of calling; and is the perfect realization of Jesus’ prayer and ours:
Thy kingdom come…"
"The immediate object is to help sanctify this community (The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth)
. . . . . . and all His spouses engaged in the active life (women and men religious) . . . . . . by bringing home to them by force of example and word that God desires with desire to become one spirit with them,
. . . . . . and this life of union, far from being incompatible with their state, is the one thing necessary, for upon it depends the fruitfulness of action."
"And even in the world I felt very intensely that if people only sought God in all earnestness they would find Him. 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.."
(Sister Miriam Teresa’s letter to Father Benedict, O.S.B. August 19, 1926)
This is not a new doctrine. Our Lord said to His disciples "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." Sister Miriam Teresa was chosen to remind us of that doctrine. Forty years after her statement, the Second Vatican Council stated it as The Universal Call to Holiness in the Constitution on the Church:
". . . all in the Church, whether they belong to the hierarchy or are cared for by it, are called to holiness, according to the Apostle Paul’s saying: ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification.’ . . . It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in whatever state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity, and this holiness is conducive to a more human way of living even in society here on earth."
(Lumen Gentium, The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, V, 39)
Everyone - woman or man, layperson or cleric - is called to holiness.
Progress of the Cause for Canonization of Sister Miriam Teresa
The Ordinary (diocesan) Processes of the Cause were completed in the 1970’s under the direction of Most Reverend Thomas McLaughlin assisted by Father Stephen Findlay, O.S.B., Vice Postulator of the Cause, and Sister Mary Zita Geis, SC, Director of the Sister Miriam Teresa League of Prayer. These testimonies were sent to Rome and translated into Italian.
The testimonies of the Apostolic Process were held from May 18, 1981 to December 18, 1981. A Summary of the testimonies was prepared under the direction of Father Ambrose Eszer, O.P., Relator General of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and sent to Rome with other related documents through the 1990’s. In 1999, the final portion of the Positio Super Virtutibus: the Biography of Sister Miriam Teresa and her Virtues, prepared by Sister Francis Maria Cassidy, SC and Sister Eileen Dolan, SC, was brought to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome and delivered to Father Eszer, O.P. Dr. Silvia Correale, Postulator of the Cause, expanded the summary of the life and virtues.
On July 8, 2004, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey, an historic ceremony took place, bringing closure to the investigative process of the restored eyesight of Michael Mencer for the beatification of Servant of God Sister Miriam Teresa. Newark Archbishop John J. Myers presided over the ceremony of signing and sealing the final documents to present the Cause to Vatican authorities.
June 25, 2011, the panel accepted the Positio Super Virtutibus. The Positio Super Virtutibus was then given to a panel of bishops and cardinals for their approval.
On January 17, 2012, the Ordinaries accepted the Positio Super Virtutibus.
On May 10, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI decreed that Sister Miriam Teresa was of heroic virtue and declared her Venerable.
There remained only the documentation of the presumed first class miracle: the restoration of perfect vision to a boy who was legally blind as a result of juvenile macular degeneration. The Newark Archdiocesan Tribunal investigated the alleged miracle. The documentation, the Positio Super miro, was prepared by Sister Marian Jose Smith, Vice Postulator, and Dr. Mary Mazzarella, medical expert and consultant.
A Mass followed, celebrated in Our Lady’s Chapel in the Cathedral Basilica, presided over by Newark Archbishop John J. Myers. Two boxes, each of which contained a duplicate copy of the documents, were tied with yellow ribbon and sealed with wax. Sister Maureen Shaughnessy, SC, General Superior (2004-2011) of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, personally delivered the documents to the office of the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C. They were then taken to Rome in the diplomatic pouch of the Nuncio and delivered to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The original documents were placed in the archives of the Archdiocese of Newark.
In Rome the documents were studied by a Medical Board. They ruled favorably on the cure, the case was submitted to a Consistory of Bishops and Cardinals. Their judgment was favorable, and the Cause was presented to His Holiness Pope Francis who on December 13, 2013, pronounced the Servant of God "Blessed".
The beatification ceremony took place on October 4, 2014 in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ. Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints and representative of Pope Francis, presided. Other concelebrants included Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, DC, Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, NJ, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, NJ, and Bishop Kurt R. Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic for the Ruthenians.
In order for Blessed Miriam Teresa to be canonized, a second miracle due to her intercession is needed. It remains for us to pray and to make every effort to spread the mission and message of Sister Miriam Teresa worldwide.
League of Prayer
Founded in the summer of 1946, the League works to honor the Blessed Trinity through the Immaculate Heart of Mary by spreading the knowledge of Sister Miriam Teresa’s life and mission, and by working for her Cause of beatification and canonization. Each member receives a copy of the League Bulletin, which is published four times a year, at a cost of $15 per year.
The Headquarters for the League are located in the Administration Building of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ.
Are you interested in becoming a member of the League of Prayer. Please fill out the League Application below.
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Sister Maureen Corcoran, SC
Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth
P.O. Box 476 Convent Station, NJ
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