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Saint of the Day: Blessed James Miller

American Christian Brother Martyred in Guatemala


© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro | CC BY-SA 4.0

Martyr and Religious (1944-1982)

His life

+ James Miller was born to a family of farmers in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He entered the De La Salle Christian Brothers after his freshman year of high school and later earned a master’s degree in Spanish.

+ Liked by his fellow students and confreres, he was remembered as a simple, hard worker.

+ Brother James taught high school for five years in Minnesota but longed to serve in the foreign missions. His dream was fulfilled when, in 1969, he was assigned in Bluefields, Nicaragua.

+ In 1974, he was assigned to direct the Brothers’ school in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua and during that time he oversaw construction of ten new rural schools.

+ During the Sandinista revolution, Brother James was transferred to a secondary school in Huehuetenango and worked at a center dedicated to helping young Mayan students develop job and leadership skills. He also helped being an experimental farming program.

+ Because of tensions with the Guatemalan government—who would often round up the students from the Center and conscript them into the army—Brother James often found himself working for the release of his students. This work placed him at odds with the government officials.

+ On February 13, 1982—two days after obtaining the release of some students—Brother James was shot at point blank range by hooded assailants as he was working to repair a wall at the center. He died instantly. It is believed that he was martyred because of his and the Christian Brothers’ efforts to protect their Mayan students from kidnapping and forced military service.

+ Blessed James Miller was beatified in 2019.

For prayer and reflection

I am personally weary of violence, but I continue to feel a strong commitment to the suffering poor of Central America… the Church is being persecuted because of its option for the poor. Aware of numerous dangers and difficulties, we continue working with faith and hope and trusting in God’s providence.”—Blessed James Miller


Loving and gracious God,

we thank you for the gift of our

Blessed Brother James Miller.

By his example and intercession,

grant hat we may follow his example

of selfless service to those entrusted to our care.

May we also carry on his work

of educating the poor and alleviating their oppression.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Prayer from the De La Salle Christian Brothers)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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