Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, S.C., of Bayonne, NJ
Path to possible sainthood
Sisters of Charity encourage devotion to Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich as her feast day approaches May 8
By CECILE PAGLIARULO, Reporter
CONVENT STATION Almost on a daily basis, Sister of Charity of St. Elizabeth Mary Canavan receives phone calls for a variety of requests from people around the world asking for prayers through the intercession of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich.
“The calls can average about 10 to 15 a week, some weeks more than others depending on the moment,” said Sister Mary. “At the time of her upcoming beatification (in 2014), we were at the height of those seeking her intercession.”
The feast day of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, the Jersey girl who is on the path to possible sainthood, is on May 8. The Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth here are preparing for the feast by encouraging others to seek her intercession and pray as the sainthood process continues in the hope that “in God’s good time” a second miracle comes forth through this Sister of Charity’s intercession.
The requests are varied and diverse according to Sister Mary, vice postulator for the cause, who oversees “on the scene” the continuing promotion for her sainthood cause. While a significant number of requests are for the healing of an illness, she shared that some of the requests have included reconciliation among broken families, breaking the cycle of an addiction to drugs and alcohol, or people needing a job. No matter the request, Sister Mary is open to all of them and said, “I often tell those reaching out that God will answer their prayers. It may not be the way they expected it but I’m convinced it’ll be some kind of answered prayer. God gives us the grace to deal with whatever we are facing.”
The sainthood process has four major steps — the request for canonization, determination, beatification, and canonization. Blessed Miriam Teresa’s beatification was made possible after the miraculous healing in 1964 of a young boy named Michael Mencer, who was declared legally blind. Interceding to Blessed Miriam Teresa led to a cure in which his vision was certified as 20/20. Now, the Sisters of Charity hope through prayers and through her continued intercession, a second miracle will be found.
Her beatification took place on Oct. 4, 2014 in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. She studied at the College of St. Elizabeth (now St. Elizabeth University) here from 1919 to 1923. She later entered the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in 1925. Shortly after her profession of vows as a Sister of Charity, Sister Miriam Teresa died in St. Elizabeth Hospital, Elizabeth, on May 8, 1927. She was 26 years old.
As the Sisters of Charity and laity who have a great devotion to her await a second miracle needed for her canonization as a saint, the life she led is a model for all to emulate in today’s time. Sister Mary said, “She’s a model of holiness and we can look to her to always strive to be holy every day. She is an especially great model for young people. She was a college student who walked the halls and campus of St. Elizabeth University here.”
She also can be a model for children because she healed a child specifically and for religious due to her vocation. “In all categories of life, she is someone to follow,” said Sister Mary.
With the current pandemic, Sister Mary recalled that Blessed Miriam Teresa also lived during the time of the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. While it was not the pandemic that led to her passing, she did succumb to a brief illness, similar to so many who were lost this past year. “She was a young college student at that time. She would certainly understand all the fears and uncertainty of the kind of times we are living through today.”
Sister Mary recommends those unfamiliar with her to read Blessed Miriam Teresa’s book “Greater Perfection.” In the summer, she hopes to be back “on the road” to give talks and presentations on Blessed Miriam Teresa to further promote her sainthood cause and share the future saint’s story. She also encourages schools in the Diocese to visit the shrine in the Holy Family Chapel on the campus of the Sisters of Charity here.
On the actual feast day May 8, the Sisters of Charity are planning a prayer service in her honor and a novena to her will soon be available.
“She shared our time and our space. She is someone who had the interest of others at heart. As we have gone through this pandemic together and different tragedies occur, she reminds us that God’s love never fails. She is a local girl who made good,” Sister Mary told The Beacon.
[ To ask for prayers through the intercession of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, contact Sister Mary Canavan at [email protected] or (973) 290-5315. Information: https://www.scnj.org/blessed-miriam-teresa ]
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