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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

St. John Neumann

St. John Neumann was born in Bohemia in 1811 but came to the United States as he wanted to devote himself to the American Missions. He was ordained in New York in 1836 and entered the Redemptorists in 1840. He was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. He worked to establish parish schools and erected many new parishes to take care of the numerous immigrants. He died on January 5, 1860, was beatified in 1963 and canonized in 1977.
I must confess that I did not know much about him, but we had a special room in the library at St. Thomas University dedicated to him where I often met with students, retreat groups, and some I saw for spiritual direction. One of the parishes with outstanding liturgies in Miami is St. John Neumann so this saint has become a friend in heaven.
Yesterday we had the Feast of St. Elizabeth Seton, the first American born saint to be canonized. She was born in 1774, was a wealthy Episcopalian who married William Seton in 1794 and had five children. She went with William to Italy hoping he would be cured of his lung disease, but William died and Elizabeth was attracted to Catholicism. She became a Catholic in 1805; established the first Catholic school in Baltimore in 1808 and in 1809 began a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She died on January 4, 1821, and was canonized in 1973.
It is good to remember that we do have American saints! One Cardinal told us in Rome that "Italy had saints under the altars but in America they are walking the streets!"

Here is a quote to reflect on: "What matters most on your journey is how deeply you see, how attentively you hear, how richly the encounters are felt in your heart and soul." Let us keep following the star! The good news is that Jesus is with us on the journey!

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