.- The possibility of a miracle may give new momentum to the cause for the sainthood of Marquette’s first bishop, Frederic Baraga.
Known as Michigan's “snowshoe bishop”, the Slovenian native served the diocese from 1853 to 1868. He ministered to Chippewa and Ottawa tribes in northern Michigan and developed the first Ojibwa (Chippewa) language dictionary.
The late bishop is best known for walking 500 miles across the Upper Peninsula, sometimes through snowstorms, to minister to Indian tribes and European settlers. He established 30 Catholic outposts around Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior, and he wrote a prayer book, sermons and pastoral letters to native people in their languages.
"He was way ahead of his time in respecting the language and culture of the Indian people," said Fr. Alex Sample, a diocesan priest, who is overseeing the cause, reported the Detroit Free Press.
Fr. Sample says prayers to Bishop Baraga recently helped a woman deliver a perfectly healthy baby, who was expected to have all sorts of medical problems and likely die. The Vatican has already approved as historically accurate a thick description of Baraga's missionary work in Michigan.