Bl. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich
Miriam Teresa Demjanovich was born March 26, 1901 in Bayonne, New Jersey. She was the youngest of seven children and received her baptism, confirmation and her first Holy Communion in the Byzantine Ruthenian rite of her immigrant parents.
By the time she graduated from Bayonne High School in January 1917, she felt a calling to become a Carmelite, but remained home to care for her ailing mother.
When her mother died the following November, her family encouraged Miriam to attend the College of Saint Elizabeth at Convent Station, New Jersey. She decided to attend and graduated with the highest honors in 1923 with a literature degree.
Miriam continued to long for a religious life, but was unsure of which community to enter. While she decided, she accepting a teaching position at the Academy of Saint Aloysius in Jersey City. Several noted her humility and genuine piety, as she was often discovered kneeling in the college chapel. Her devotion to praying the rosary was also observed by many.
In her first year teaching, Miriam joined the Saint Vincent de Paul Parish choir, the Blessed Virgin Sodality, and was a member of a parish community associated with the National Catholic Welfare Conference.
All summer and fall of 1924, Miriam prayed for discernment and asked God for direction. She attempted to join the Discalced Carmelite nuns in the Bronx, New York, but was told to wait a few years due to various health issues she suffered.
When she returned home, her family suggested she live for God by serving in a teaching order.
During that year's Feast of the Immaculate Conception, she made a novena. On December 8, she believed she was being called to enter the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth and planned to enter the convent February 2, 1925.
Unfortunately, Miriam's father passed away after catching a cold. Even if he had been well, Miriam's entrance was delayed nearly two weeks - February 11, 1925, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
When Miriam was ready to enter the convent, her brother, Charles Demjanovich, who was a priest, and two of her sisters accompanied her.
She was admitted to the novitiate of the religious congregation and received the religious habit on May 17, 1925.
As she never received an official transfer of rite, she remained a Byzantine Rite Catholic during her time as a Religious Sister in a Roman Rite congregation.
The following year, her spiritual leader, Father Benedict Bradley, asked her to write the conferences for the novitiate. She wrote twenty-six conferences, which were published following her death in a collection called Greater Perfection.
In 1926, Miriam became very ill and was forced to undergo a tonsillectomy. She was severely weak and required help to return to the convent. A few days later, she volunteered to help in the infirmary, but was told to "pull [herself] together."
Father Bradley worried over her health and called her brother, who then called his sister who was a nurse.
Miriam's sister took one look at Miriam and took her straight to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with "physical and nervous exhaustion, with myocarditis and acute appendicitis."
Miriam was quite weak and the doctors feared she would not survive an operation so they waited.
Unfortunately, her condition worsened.
It was not until May 6, 1927 than Miriam had an operation for the appendicitis. Unfortunately, she passed away two days later on May 8.
Miriam's funeral was held May 11, 1927 at Holy Family Chapel in Convent Station, New Jersey and she was buried at Holy Family Cemetery on the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth grounds.
Years later, Miriam was beatified by Pope Francis on October 4, 2014. Her beatification was celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark, New Jersey and was presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Miracles attributed to Miriam include the healing of a blind boy's eyes in 1963. The Vatican approved of his restored sight as a miracle accomplished through the intercession of Miriam in 2013.
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