Sep 18, 2014
October 4, 2014 marks an historic moment in the life of the Catholic Church in the United States. For the first time ever, the Rite of Beatification will take place on American soil. In this ceremony, the Church officially recognizes the heroic sanctity of someone who has died and allows the faithful to honor this person with devotion on a local level and to pray to this person for their needs.
In 1945, the Holy See authorized Bishop McLaughlin, the first Bishop of Paterson, to begin the process of investigation into the life and sanctity of Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth of Convent Station. Her life was short, a mere 26 years. But, her holiness was profound.
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey on March 26, 1901, she grew up, in full view of New Jersey’s oil refineries, as the youngest of seven children. By rite, she was a Ruthenian Catholic. In the eyes of the world, she lived a normal life. She graduated from the local public high school. She enjoyed music, poetry, theatre and dance appropriate to young women of her age. But, beneath the ordinary experiences of home, parish, school and friends, she was nurturing an extraordinary relationship with God. During her brief teaching career at the Academy of Saint Aloysius in Jersey City, others could not help notice her deep humility and faith.
On February 11, 1925, Miriam Teresa, encouraged by her priest brother, entered the Sisters of Charity. As a postulant and novice, she began teaching at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station. When she became gravely ill two years later and was at the point of death, she made her religious profession on April 2, 1927. Shortly thereafter, on May 8, 1927, she died.
Her simplicity, devotion, humility and prayer made a deep and lasting impression on those who knew her. Her spiritual director immediately recognized her unique holiness and asked her to write conferences for him to deliver to the other novices. Her profound insights are applicable to all, not just religious. Her writings are saturated with Sacred Scripture. Long before the renewal of Sacred Scripture, promoted by the Second Vatican Council, Sr. Miriam Teresa had discovered the Word of God as the wellspring of wisdom and holiness. Published after her death in the book Greater Perfection, her writings continue to lead others to God.