CONVENT STATION, N.J. — On Oct. 4 New Jersey will have its first woman to be proclaimed blessed by the Catholic Church.
On Dec. 17, 2013, Pope Francis advanced the sainthood cause of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, N.J., who died in 1927. By recognizing a miracle attributed to her intercession, the pope cleared the way for the beatification ceremony to be held.
Sister Demjanovich was born in Bayonne, N.J., in 1901. After attending Bayonne public schools, she began studies at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, graduating in 1923. Two years later, she entered the Sisters of Charity at Convent Station.
As a young novice Sister Miriam Teresa was asked by her spiritual director to write a series of conferences on the spiritual life. These were later published under the title “Greater Perfection.”
She died in 1927 at the age of 26. She was declared venerable by the Vatican in May 2012.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, will come to Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica in Newark, N.J., as Pope Francis’ personal representative to bestow the honor and title on Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich.
He will be joined by cardinals, bishops and clergy, in concelebrating a Mass in her honor. Sisters of Charity and Seton Associates, members of her religious congregation, will lead more than 1,000 laity to join in thanking God for the recognition of Sister Demjanovich who issued the universal call to holiness 40 years before Vatican Council II.
Holding a ceremony of beatification outside of Rome is new, and this occasion is the first to be held in the United States.
Blessed Miriam Teresa represents both the Eastern and Western Church. She was baptized, confirmed and received first holy Communion in the Byzantine Ruthenian Church, the rite of her parents, immigrants from the Ruthenian area of Slovakia.
Although she became a Sister of Charity, belonging to the Roman rite, she never changed from her original membership in the Eastern Byzantine rite. Thus, this recognition of her sanctity draws more closely together these two segments of the Church Universal.
“So far, all of the American saints have had very active lives, and certainly we Americans are attracted by that sort of biography. They were energetic builders and innovators,” said Bishop Kurt Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic. “It is interesting that God has willed to present us now with a contemplative saint.”