A Saint from New Jersey?

Sister Miriam TeresaCatholics in New Jersey were overjoyed to learn that Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to Miriam Teresa Demjanovich (1901-1927), a Sister of Charity who died in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the age of 26 just one year after entering the order.

Vatican Radio is reporting that the approval of the miracle opens the way for Sr. Miriam’s beatification. Declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, the miracle concerns a young boy from Teaneck, New Jersey who was healed of blindness caused by juvenile macular degeneration in 1963 after teachers in his school encouraged his family to pray to Sr. Miriam.

“This was a boy who was walking into trees, who walked into a moving car,” Dr. Mary Mazzarella, 75, a retired Nutley pediatrician and medical consultant to the cause, told The New York Times.

Born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1901, Miriam was the youngest of seven children of Alexander and Johanna (Suchy) Demjanovich, who were immigrants to the United States from what is now Eastern Slovakia.

Raised in the Byzantine-Ruthenian rite of her parents, she attended Bayonne public schools and was determined to enter religious life after graduation but was unable to do so because of her ailing mother. When Johanna died, her family convinced her to attend the College of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station, New Jersey. She was known for her humility and genuine piety and often found kneeling in the college chapel at all hours.  Throughout her college years she remained deeply devoted to the Rosary and the Eucharist and graduated summa cum laude in 1923.

She taught briefly at a local Catholic school but discerned a vocation to the Sisters of Charity and entered the order in February, 1925.

As a postulant and novice, she continued to teach and to live a deep spiritual life. In June, 1926, her spiritual director asked her to write conferences for the novitiate. These conferences were later published in a book entitled, Greater Perfection.

Six months after penning the conferences, Miriam fell gravely ill and was admitted to the hospital. Because she was believed to be in danger of death, she was permitted to make her religious profession in articulo mortis (in danger of death) on April 2, 1927.

A month later, on May 6, she was operated on for appendicitis but died two days later.

Throughout her life, Sr. Miriam believed that everyone is called to the spiritual heights of union with God – not just priests and religious but “any one, who chooses, who wills to seek this pearl of great price, who specializes in the traffic of eternal good, who says ‘yes’ constantly to God”

She adds: “The imitation of Christ in the lives of saints is always possible and compatible with every state of life. The saints did but one thing – the will of God. But they did it with all their might. We have only to do the same thing; and according to the degree of intensity with which we labor shall our sanctification progress.”

Now that the miracle has been approved, the date of Miriam’s beatification will be up to the bishop of the diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, where her cause was first opened.

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As a young nun, Teresa composed this “Litany of Love” to Jesus, which can be found on the Vincentian Online Library.

Lord, have mercy on us;
Christ, have mercy on us;
Lord, have mercy on us;
Jesus, hear us,
Jesus, lovingly hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, my Well-Beloved
Jesus, my Strength
Jesus, Light of my mind
Jesus, Power of my will
Jesus, Fire of my Love
Jesus, Life of my life
Jesus, Life of my soul
Jesus, Soul of my life
Jesus, Soul of my soul
Jesus, my Ceaseless Delight
Jesus, my Rapturous Bliss
Jesus, my infinite Joy
Jesus, True Peace of my soul
Jesus, my only Existence
Jesus, my Own
Jesus, my Heaven
Jesus, my Magnificent Love
Jesus, my Eternal Repose
Jesus, my Vehement Desire
Jesus, my Crucified Spouse
Jesus, my King
Jesus, my God
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghose; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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