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New Jersey Nun Beatified in Newark’s Cathedral: One of Many Firsts for the Church

Jeffrey Bruno

Susan E. Wills - published on 10/04/14




She was ever conscious of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in her soul.

In his homily, Bishop Serratelli stated that, in the midst of a century of extraordinary brutality, war and genocide, “God was at work, showing us” a better way.


He was raising up Miriam Teresa Demjanovich to be a light along our Christian journey. She belongs to that blessed circle of chosen souls whom God himself elects for special graces not merely for themselves, but for all his people.

When she was born in 1901, when Marconi [was pioneering in long-distance radio transmission], God was showing us how to be in constant contact with Him through [the the witness of] Blessed Miriam: “that doing God’s will in all things bridges the distance between heaven and earth.”

"She lived within the shadow of one of the world’s greatest cities," he continued, “but heaven embraced her in divine light with visions too great for human striving.”

Bishop Serratelli observed that “while the work of the Church is slow in making saints, not so for God. Her life spanned only 26 years. From her entrance into the Sisters of Charity, only 28 months.”

And that was all God needed to sanctify her because she understood and wrote this: “The saints did but one thing, the will of God, but they did it with all their might.”

She “was careful never to offend God and to serve him by knowing him and doing his will. Filled with the knowledge of Sacred Scripture, she anticipated the Second Vatican Council’s [call to know] the word of God.”

Blessed Teresa understood that “union with God is the spiritual height God calls everyone to achieve. Anyone, not only religious, anyone who says yes constantly to God.”

She spoke and she lived the universal call to holiness, later to be taught by the Second Vatican Council.
The imitation of Christ  … is always possible and compatible with every state in life. At a time when many would like a faith without creeds, God has given us a Blessed who [was content] not simply to know the truth but to know, love and serve the Truth, which is God himself.


God is giving us a new Blessed who was, in the words spoken at her death, "a living monstrance who silently showed forth our Lord to all who passed by.”

Forty years after her death, in Lumen Gentium, the Church echoed the universal call to holiness expressed in a letter Blessed Teresa wrote to her spiritual director:

And even in the world I felt very intensely that if people only sought God in all earnestness they would find Him. And if all would only make use of the ordinary duties and trials of their state in the way God intended, they would all become saints.

Susan E. Wills


is spirituality editor of Aleteia’s English language edition.

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