New Jersey nun on the path to sainthood

Print More
Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich college photo.

Photo courtesy of Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich college photo.

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

NEW YORK (RNS) While a dozen Catholic saints are classified as Americans, New Jersey native Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich would be only the second saint born in the United States.

  • gilhcan

    Again! The Catholic Church should get out of the saint business. It should also get out of the miracle business. The two are remnants of ancient mythology when people dared to claim they knew more than this world when they were so very ignorant even about this world. It would be so much better to spend the time and energy and money involved in the miracles and saints business in doing good for those who need help.

  • opheliart


    They need to win the female vote. They were beginning to look too patriarchal 🙂


  • Gary

    Wow! Get out of the saint and miracle business? Celebrating a woman’s holiness in an attemp to win female support? Rather curmudgeonly of you both, I think. This person’s life and holiness is something the Church should celebrate, not only in silent, thankful prayer to God, but with loud rejoicing and proclamation! “Look and see the great things God has done for us! God has lifted up the lowly and thwarted the proud in their conceit!”

  • opheliart

    Gary: “Rather curmudgeonly of you both, I think.”

    Then think again.


  • Earold D. Gunter

    How tragic it was that this young lady who was obviously highly intelligent, and who could have contributed so much to the betterment of humankind wasted her short life in service to this terrible organization. An organization with not only a horrendous history of violating humans, but a present that is equally egregious.

    Gilhcan makes an extremely valid point. This is the most wealthy religious organization in the world, yet they spend their wealth furthering claims, one more bizarre than the next, and pushing agendas designed to force everyone else into conformance to their twisted view of how everyone should live.

    I also agree with Opheliart that this is yet another cleverly crafted PR move by this organization. First they “elect” a pope who tries to win the poor over by offering lip service about wealth disparity, admonishing bishops who flash their bling, and humble himself by washing feet. However he still does very little about the filthy priests who have raped and molested children or the hierarchy who have orchestrated all the sick, twisted crimes that should have already been used to charged this awful organization in international court with crimes against humanity.

  • gilhcan

    “Beginning?” Where have you been for 2,000 years?

  • gilhcan

    It isn’t necessary to celebrate anything, not even “life and holiness,” with claims of miracles and the rituals of beatification and sanctity about which we really know nothing. A study of church history would show exactly how those practices originated in times of illiteracy and continued on through ages of mythological magic. They are inappropriate, totally out of place, in a time when we know more with provable certainty and have no need to continue with these practices of pre-Dark Ages! Why do you think one of the big changes even in the Reformation was to stop this nonsense?

  • Gary

    Wow! Again! Opheliart, I have thought again, and perhaps you’re right. “Curmudgeonly” may have been too gentle a word to use, but I’ll refrain from further description to honor the peace you’ve wished me. As for the other two responses, I stick by my faith that God confounds conceit, whether by miracle or not, and that holiness is deserving of celebration. I do celebrate this Sister’s holiness and her life, and perhaps this is where miracles are found. In a world of disturbing fears, we find heart in the simple life of a woman who dedicated her life in serving God. Now, it may be that the Church walks through shadows and occasionally fails in her attempts to be holy, but in faith we are assured that The Lord guides is back toward a righteous path and we are hopeful. If this is naive claptrap for some, well, so be it, but I prefer a simple faith to the cynicism I’ve heard in the posts above.

  • opheliart

    Bishop Gary …

    Are you the reinforcements sent in to place stumbling blocks before the people?
    And to show your “sincere” and “moral” view of women?

    You may have to THINK back through 2,000 years to come into a fuller understanding of what this might mean. Your version of Holy Scripture missed the Word on this passage: You reap what you sow.

    And why would anyone believe Vatican accounts???

    Peace to you, Bishop!

  • opheliart


    Gary and those like him pedestal not the person called Miriam; they pedestal their OWN creation they call “saint”—what this should look like, who this should be, and WHERE one might find their version of “holiness” … They cannot see the Christ among the work but not of religious mandate, because they are confined to set illusion. This illusion finds its home in ink: WHERE the Vatican writes what the Vatican wants read, and believed. History within this institution has shown its face repeatedly on this page. One has only to look at what they discarded (besides those members who are of no use to them) over time, realizing that they cannot continue to garner credibility in the political arena and still medicate ( a word I know you understand) through these illusionary means. They are adolescents on the Verse, having clung to childish euphemisms.

    When Paul says in Romans: I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in a manner WORTHY OF THE SAINTS, and assist her …
    he then “thanks the churches of the Gentiles” … (important to note this distinction) … LIKEWISE GREET THE CHURCH THAT IS IN THEIR HOUSE … and in verse 15: Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympias, AND ALL THE SAINTS WHO ARE WITH THEM … he is demonstrating the PLACES of Spirit Awareness.

    All these names have meaning SPIRITUALLY, but never does Paul state that any of these named are saints, and no where in Word is this acquiesced.

    In short, the RCC does not understand what is saint according to the Word of God. The questions they should be asking their Superiors:

    What are the Watchers?
    What is Prophet?
    How is Mystic and Prophet in compliance FOR Truth?
    What is the meaning of service and servitude?
    What/who are Angelic Messengers and WHERE are these used?
    What are the PLACES (planes) within the Becoming of and for Gift of the Spirit? And WHAT IS SPIRIT?

    One does not have to be a believer in Spirit to read these passages and come into understanding on the paradox, for Spirit shows no favoritism.

    In Essence, their wineskins are cracking.

    The RCC and others rejected the Gospels and Revelations of Gnostic Literature because they did not understand these, and feared how these might influence those seeking, but what they fail to realize is:
    SPIRIT CANNOT BE DENIED, and it is [this] that wills what is of sainthood.

    That they see value in recognizing people within their organization has never been the problem. The problems arise within the PARTIALITY and expenditure of these honored. Decrease that Spirit may increase is not a death sentence, but a LIFE of moving toward Spirit Gift, and WHAT rests within [this]. So many of set religious mandate operate from the flat bed grid. They may now know that the world is round, but still have not seen that their own humanness awaits within this CIRCULAR Realm of Reason. All within nature, sky, sea and instrument carries Truth. It is the ‘quest’ of where, when and how.

    Peace and Love

  • John McGrath

    The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, seldom visited by tourists, is considered by many art and architecture experts, and just folks, as the most beautiful in the USA. Well worth a visit, whether you approve of the cult (RC word) of venerating saints bad or good.

  • Pingback: Hijab Happiness * Bono’s Poem * Harvest Bible : Tuesday’s Roundup | Hijab Happiness * Bono’s Poem * Harvest Bible : Tuesday’s Roundup | Social Dashboard()

  • charlie

    “She was raised in the Byzantine Catholic rite, an Eastern rite church in communion with the Latin-rite Roman Catholic Church.”

    The thing that would be amusing if it were not so tragic is the fact that if she were accidentally switched at birth and sent home with a Baptist mother, she would have been a Baptist. What an indictment of religions…that the only way any of them can survive is through the indoctrination of innocent children whose minds have not developed enough for critical thinking.

    Wait until our children have reached the age of 25, the number of years it takes our brain to fully develop, then offer up your childish beliefs to them. All of you would be laughed out of the room.

  • charlie

    Those who pray think their god must have arranged things wrong and a little helpful instruction will cause him to put things right. The arrogance of the petitioner is breathtaking.

    The very essence of sado-masochism is being required to love someone we fear. Think of North Korea.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Gary,
    “In 1963, a third-grade boy at a New Jersey school run by the order went blind due to macular degeneration but regained his sight without treatment, after the sisters led the school in prayers for Sister Miriam’s intercession.
    The cure later was ruled a miracle by the Vatican.”

    Poor God! So busy, he “forgot” the little blind boy and needed Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich’s help to remember! That God gets more and more senile everyday. Better look for some more helper Gods – like say Jesus or Mary.

  • opheliart

    John McGrath,

    The art/architecture of the Religious is tremendous, and it tells many tales, but do the religious see all that needs to be seen?
    Artists/Architects needed work, as well as the laborers. Those in a position of power wanted grand places, and art to go within these, and ikons and statues to be used for their belief practices. They had the money and the power, and controlled wherever they could. Any art movements trying to ignite and grow could not for a long time, at least not openly and freely.

    The point I make here is that it could have been something else equally beautiful, that could have been used differently, and shared more reasonably and more practically, while still allowing for freedom of expression.

  • opheliart

    … and to continue, John, if this beautiful Sacred Heart Cathedral is seldom visited, who is paying for its heat and upkeep? I have not googled it. Is it still used by parishioners? If not, why not turn it into an art museum for the city? Why not bring in newer works?


  • SDG

    If Demjanovich does make the final hurdle, she would become just the second person born in the U.S. ever to be named a saint

    As far as I know, this is technically true as worded, but it’s worth noting that there are already two native-born U.S. saints, not just one.

    In addition to St. Katharine Drexel, born in Philadelphia in 1858, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was also a native-born U.S. citizen, having been born in New York City in 1774, two years before the formation of the United States.

    Also, of course, there is Kateri Tekakwitha, who was born in what is now New York State near Auriesville, who lived and died in the 17th century long before the formation of the United States.

  • Larry

    Making claims of magical powers through prayer does little to bolster the credibility of the Church.

    Its one thing to honor the woman for her deeds, its another to have to tack on some ridiculous story about how she used her godly powers to heal the sick.

  • Earold D. Gunter


  • Earold D. Gunter

    I agree the RCC has a predilection for the grandiose not only in the physical like cathedrals, but in rituals, clothing, beliefs, and most especially people, that go far beyond what any sane person could glean from biblical scripture. They set up hierarchies/pedestals, as if to go higher actually elevates them closer to the heaven and god they believe exists, maybe even above, which is in stark contrast to the message given about what the meek shall inherit in the book.

    I dislike what all religious faith does to humans, what it takes from them, and what it gives in return. However, there are a few I find fairly tolerable, like Jainism, since it is for the most part indifferent in that the actions of their believers do little to influence the lives of others. Many others though are way too fanatical like the more zealous sects of christianity and islam, both have dire consequences to humans, a very negative impact.

    The words you write are always beautiful to read, and “interesting”, but sometimes I find them difficult to completely understand as I don’t really have a clue about Gnosticism. You wrote one thing in the above comment though that I found apropos in my thoughts on religion, and the writings they are based on when you said “This illusion finds its home in ink”.

    The books all faiths are based on have all been proven to be written by man, so by nature, they must be as fallible as man is. They are not supernatural, and have no more “spiritual” meaning hidden within them than what we as humans can glean for ourselves from pondering the beauty of a sunset, or the blue found in the eyes of a newborn.

    I believe humans can be kind, gentle, and have a genuine care for each other without needing to believe we will live forever, burn in a fiery hell, or convert anyone into believing as they do. If we would just give it a try we may all find that we can live in…
    Peace & love.

  • BobRN

    Based on the responses to this article, it seems that Religion News Service has become the province of those uninterested in religion, news, or service.

  • Earold D. Gunter

    BobRN, I look forward to the day I no longer have interest in religious news, because that will be when religion no longer impacts my life, and that will fortunately be when current religions are put away like all the rest have been. Unfortunately, not for me but rather for current human kind, that will more than likely be after we all have died.

  • Larry

    Too bad its current Archbishop is such a raging d-bag with his extravagant spending and covering up sexual abuse.

  • Sister Geraldine Marie, R.N.

    For all nay-sayers who wrote negative comments about religion, please read C.S. Lewis, who was once an atheist. He’s written many books, by the way, not just scholarly ones. And a Roman Catholic Sister is recommending this Protestant scholar/author to you! Think of that!

  • Larry

    CS Lewis’s “atheism” was largely for show when addressing Christian audiences and engaging in apologia. We see that a lot these days. S.E. Cupp is a perfect example of a psuedo-atheist/Christian apologist.

  • opheliart


    Hi, you write:
    “The words you write are always beautiful to read, and “interesting”, but sometimes I find them difficult to completely understand as I don’t really have a clue about Gnosticism. You wrote one thing in the above comment though that I found apropos in my thoughts on religion, and the writings they are based on when you said “This illusion finds its home in ink”.”

    I am not of Gnosticism. I am not of any Religion. I know this is difficult for people to understand, and you are not the first to share that they find my writing esoteric. To be of Religion puts one into the mandates of Religion, whatever its title (sort of like that box, which can also be a tomb). It confines one to set ideals, tenets, rules, even labels. I cannot be confined in the religious laws of man, his views and understanding of what he constitutes on Spirit, or what he calls Authority on God. To me this is shallow, and it keeps one desiring Spirit Gift from Understanding … from gaining Knowledge. I have shared at times that I am orthodox spiritual, because I knew that if I said I was gnostic (of gnosis), I would be ridiculed and dismissed right from the start, but again, these are just words, terms, even names for something having to do with Faith, Belief, even Lifestyle.

    Holy Scripture, Word, or Word of God is found in the cataclysmic elements of Living within a partnering that brings one into something greater than himself. And it IS a partnering, often complex, and most definitely not limited to the flat bed grid of religious titles and their followers. I experience Spirit. I commune in [this] … or I would be limited. I am sometimes held back because those for this Season in the New Vision are not ready to move. I feel myself waiting, but still learning … always. Change IS coming as this IS Prophesy. My worth is found in that I lift up what is given me (that mat) and move, which at this time involves that I share what is shown. If it is that I call out hypocrisy, it is because movement is paramount, and some things must pass. I have no emotional ties to self in building a house for one limited view, but to assist in creating the platform, or one might understand it as a bridge, from one “place” to the next place. I work in the Movement Spirrealism, btw, and it is a Spirit Arts Movement, not a religion. There is a great need for believers of Spirit to move out of the imbalance of being so attached to politics and taking sides, and come into Spirit Awareness through exercising of Art. I think that many would see some of their problems through these answers, which must be EXPERIENCED … not just made ritualized and inked for others to quote without exploration in Truthfulness. In Essence, people who say they believe in Spirit, struggle when they need to grow, and it may require they move out of soil where weeds are choking.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Peace and Love

  • Earold D Gunter

    Geraldine, Although I do love some of his works, I really don’t think he was really ever an atheist. Maybe agnostic, but never an atheist.

    You see, once you have looked behind the curtain and realized that Oz is just a man, you can’t just put that away and once again believe, even by faith, that Oz is a god. That is why Pascal s Wager is not valid. One can’t force themselves to believe in something that they really don’t.

    Read Surprised by Joy, page 115
    “I was at this time of living, like so many Atheists or Anti-theists, in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world.”

    How could he really be an atheist, and still be angry at something that he didn’t believe in, because there is no evidence of it?

    He was a really good author, but a great marketer. I wonder just how many he drew in with his false re-conversion story.

  • opheliart


    I see … not good. What the RCs/Cs do not realize is there will be an internal investigation that means laity will be investigated along with the clergy. Who knew what and when. It is near beyond belief that no parishioners knew. If a child is molested in a public school, there is often a ripple effect that ends up bringing down the house. I have asked how fellow priests and bishops could not know their brothers were molesting children. They live and work so closely together, and no one saw the signs? Cult-like lifestyle can keep one insulated and “unaware” in such a way that these men (and women) just don’t see, and this is what is dangerous about an institution like the Roman Catholic Church. In my Faith, SPIRIT (God) cannot operate in vessels bound in this manner, not in Truth, where there is found Love … and DENYING that this is a serious problem, or denying that this is still a problem, or denying that there was not a cover-up is criminal in itself.

    I read an article yesterday where a man having confessed to the strangling death of a young boy, had, at some point, joined in a circle of religious in prayer, and confessed that he had killed a child … and from the details of this article … nothing was done. I would have to hear more in this, but is this a case of confession, based on religious beliefs and practices, where nothing should be done because it is a form of confession in a private area? What is this mindset to not address something of this magnitude? If the man is free to walk the streets, as many of the clergy/hierarchy, then ALL citizens need to know! If Ebola is in your town, found at this or that place, community members need to know! I think that many religious missed the message in what it is to love your neighbor as yourself. In contacting the police, you not only ‘help’ the abuser/murderer receive at least the next step in what is necessary, but you also help in keeping it from possibly happening again.


  • samuel Johnston

    “And a Roman Catholic Sister is recommending this Protestant scholar/author to you! Think of that!”
    Can you say EGO? We are supposed to be impressed that YOU recommend a Protestant apologist?
    WAKE UP- Sister Geraldine Marie, R.N. ! Lots and lots of smart folks have advanced degrees, and also think you are NUTZ! Me included. R.N’s are important folks and do much good, but that does not make them philosophers.
    “For all nay-sayers who wrote negative comments about religion.”.
    Really sister Geraldine. Stick to what you are qualified to report.

  • Christine Gernant

    Some of us are waiting for Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, to be named a saint. Oh wait, a woman who had an abortion?
    Pas possible…..

  • kmcphx

    I KNOW there are miracles. I was fortunate enough to be acquainted with a man through whom God worked many miracles. Sometimes the Lord gave him a specific task to do. Sometimes he just saw people who were in real need of a miracle in their lives (including healing). Sometimes the people who knew him would ask him to ask God if we might have a miracle. And he told us that there were other people like him. If he had been Catholic he would have been called a saint.


  • Jane hedges

    Sorry, you are wrong. I am here to prove you wrong. I experienced twice in my own life an impossible miracle. I am now actually experiencing a third. It’s incredible what faith in God can do!! It starts with the unconditional love one gets.

  • Jane hedges

    Hospitals, schools, aid to the poor. Help for the homeless, food for those who need to be fed. The Catholic Church has been into this business for quite a while. I wonder if there hadn’t been people in this church to give their life to help others how different this world might be

  • Jane hedges

    It makes me sad to see the anger and hate when Jesus said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” “Love one another”. That’s what my faith taught me. I’m so glad I was blessed to love others and taught to help everyone in need. It feels wonderful to love others unconditionally.

  • Jane hedges

    I was taught to be terse and love all people unconditionally. I’m one of those “dumb, Catholics”. Thanks, parents. Thanks God.

  • cc

    No! The saints in heaven are even more alive in Jesus than we are. All those in Christ are to be called Saints. And for the church to be able to declare a “saint” or a “miricale” is to witness to the truth of the resurrected Christ. We should never deny God’s power or underestimate His love for us.

    Now this fussing with burial and rights seems very petty. We all can do without pettiness.