Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bayonne Nun Beatified-- Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich

On October 4, 2014, Miriam Teresa Demjanovich will be beatified at the Gothic styled Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey.  When Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints Cardinal Angelo Amato declares Demjanovich beata, it will be the first time it has been done on American soil.

Miriam Teresa Demjanovich was born on March 26, 1901 to Slovakian  immigrants in Bayonne, New Jersey.  Miriam was the youngest of seven children born into a very religious family.  She was baptized in the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church 

After graduating high school in 1917, Demjanovich wanted to become a Carmelite, but had to care for her sick mother.  When her mother died during the influenza outbreak in 1918, she enrolled in the College of St. Elizabeth and graduated with highest honors with a BA in literature.  She taught for a year  at Academy of Saint Aloysius in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Miriam again sought to join the Carmelites in the Bronx, but was encouraged to wait due to her health issues.  She decided to join the Sisters of Charity, Convent Station in December, 1924 but had to delay due to her father's health issues.  She received her religious habit in May 1925.  By December, 1926, Miriam had repeated health issues which required hospitalization.  Demjanovich had complications from an appendicitis surgery and died in May, 1927.  Demjanovich  remained a Byzantine rite Catholic throughout her life despite serving as a sister in a Roman rite community.

This brief biography may prompt people to wonder why the Church recognizes Demjanovich entrance into heaven. While Miriam was a postulate and novice, she only took her vows in articulo mortis in April, 1927.  Demjanovich's cause for beatification was advanced by the Sisters of Charity in 1945 because of her saintly life as  her striving for perfection in her religious life, her spiritual writings and intercessions with God.  

In December, 2013, Pope Francis approved the miracle of a boy whose eyesight was completely restored from macular degeneration after praying for the intercessions of Miriam Teresa Demjanovich. 

During Miriam Teresa Demjanovich's short life on Earth, she wrote two plays, and several poems.  At the behest of her spiritual director Benedictine Fr. Benedict Bradley, she wrote 26 conferences on religious life which were published posthumously as The Greater Perfection.    It was extraordinary that such a task was given to a novice but Fr. Bradley proclaimed:

 “I believed that she enjoyed extraordinary lights, and I knew that she was living an exemplary life,” he stated. “I thought that, one day, she would be ranked among the saints of God, and I felt it was incumbent upon me to utilize whatever might contribute to an appreciation of her merits after her death.”

Demjanovich's spiritual writing seemed to blend spiritual wisdom from Eastern and Western Christendom.  Her quote about everyone seeking union with God and being called to live the Will of God  is inspiring and challenging.

Her Litany of Love poem demonstrates her deep faith and joy in the Christian life

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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