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First U.S. Beatification Mass Held For New Jersey Nun

Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, credited with curing a boy's eye disease, was the subject of the first beatification mass to be held in the U.S.
Posted at 8:33 PM, Oct 04, 2014

The first beatification mass to ever be held on U.S. soil took place Saturday morning.

WABC: "Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, she was a nun with the Sister's of Charity. ... She died back in 1927 but she is being credited with a miracle and that is a key component in the path to sainthood." 

Beatification is the third step of four to sainthood. It requires evidence that the candidate performed a miracle after their death. In order to become a saint, at least two miracles must be performed. 

Traditionally such ceremonies happened in Rome, however during his time as church leader, Pope Benedict XVI said the ceremonies could take place where the candidate is from — Sister Miriam Teresa was born in New Jersey. 

That miracle she preformed — curing a 10-year-old boy's eye disease during the 1960s.  That boy, Michael Mencer, who's now 58, was given a lock of  Sister Miriam Teresa's hair and prayed to her. He told NBCabout what happened next. 

"I looked up and I saw an orb in the middle. ... Which I shouldn't have been able to do. ... But then when I looked back down at the memento and the card ... and I could see the hair and the memento. It still didn't dawn on me that a miracle had happened." 

Saturday's historical mass comes after Pope Francis certified Mencer's restored vision as a true miracle last December. 

But it was a push from the nun's family in 1945 that put her on the track to sainthood. Since then, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has been examining her life. The New York Times reports, "Sister Miriam Teresa produced a large body of religious writings and was seen as an 'extraordinarily holy woman' by her family and the other sisters in her order."  

Sister Miriam Teresa was only a nun for two years, before she died at age 26. One of the nuns who helped lead Saturday's ceremony told the Times, "That she did so much in such a short life speaks to the fact that this was obviously a work of God." 

This video includes images from Getty Images.