– Dr. Kathleen Sprows Cummings, associate professor, University of Notre Dame
Morristown, N.J. (April 16, 2015) – The College of Saint Elizabeth counts Blessed Miriam Teresa among its alumni. Her story is one of inspiration and dedication to her faith.
In October 2014, Sister Miriam Teresa '23, was beatified at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. by Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who came from Rome as Pope Francis' personal representative. Blessed Miriam Teresa became the first woman from New Jersey to receive this status and this was the first time a beatification had occurred outside of Rome.
After attending the College of Saint Elizabeth, Miriam Teresa Demjanovich joined the Sisters of Charity and became a popular teacher at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth. She could often be found in the chapel praying with a look of near radiance around her. Chronicled in her writings was a visit by the Blessed Mother in her room in Santa Rita Hall and a walk on campus accompanied by Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower.
In April 2015, the Center for Catholic Women's History invited Dr. Kathleen Sprows Cummings to talk about nation-saints, and the process of beatification in American Catholic history. She talked about the history of American sainthood, the contributions of Catholics in this country and some of the considerations that were included in the process towards sainthood.
One aspect of Sister Miriam Teresa that makes her unique from other saints is the emphasis on who she was rather than on what she did. While she is credited with the miracle of healing a young boy of macular degeneration through prayer, her disciples feel that her healing is through spirituality for those who pray to her – that she offers a sense of calm and oneness with God. This is a departure from patron saints who are credited with miracles accomplished through activity.
After Dr. Cummings' inspiring talk, a tribute was given to the Leadership of the Cause of Blessed Miriam Teresa. These women have worked for decades to document and present the required proof of sainthood. Another miracle must be attributed to her before she is declared a saint.
The members of the Leadership of the Cause of Blessed Miriam Teresa are Mary Mazzarella DeMayo '55, M.D.; Sister Marian José Smith (posthumously); Sister Mary Canavan; Sister Barbara Conroy; Sister Maureen Shaughnessy; and, Sister Rosemary Moynihan who also serves the College as chair of the board of trustees.
Dr. Cummings left the audience with this thought: Continue to tell the story of Sister Miriam Teresa, let people know of her presence in your lives, continue to celebrate her life and teach others about her.