Register Radio - Sister Miriam Demjanovich and St. Thérèse

This week on Register Radio, a beatification on U.S. soil and for the first time! Jeanette De Melo talks to Register columnist Fr. Roger Landry about the beatification of Sister Miriam Demjanovich. Also, a little warrior like a little flower? You bet! Dan Burke talks to Fr. Dwight Longenecker about St. Thérèse, known as “the Little Flower.”

Beatification of Sister Miriam Demjanovich

You may remember Fr. Roger Landry as one of the on-site commentators for EWTN’s special coverage of the 2013 papal conclave and election of Pope Francis.  Fr. Landry is a concelebrant at the first Mass of beatification—ever—on U.S. soil… the beatification of Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, in Newark, New Jersey, on Oct. 4th.

“We’re going to have the first beatification ever to take place ever on U.S. soil,” Fr. Landry shared. “Over the course of the history of the Church in the United States, we’ve had 18 people with American ties one way or the other raised to the altar…but every single one of those has happened overseas.”

Fr. Landry continued, sharing that the beatification is “going to happen to a young New Jersey girl who would have prayed to the Lord with a New Jersey accent, who was born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1901, and died just 26 years later.”

Cardinal Angelo Amato is coming in from the Vatican to preside over the beatification and will be joined by Archbishop John Myers and other local bishops. Because Sister Miriam was baptized into the Ruthenian Byzantine Church and also died a Ruthenian Catholic, the Ruthenian eparch will be present as well.

“It’s a celebration not only for Latin rite Catholics, but for all Eastern Catholics in our country as well,” Fr. Landry said.

Fr. Landry wrote about Sister Miriam in a recent article at the Register, “Blessed in the U.S.A.” In that article, Fr. Landry shared seven reasons we should have recourse to Sister Miriam. One of the reasons is the unity of Eastern and Western Catholics.

“She was a brilliant young kid,” Fr. Landry said, and for that reason, he thinks she is a great patron for teachers and students who want to learn the faith better and pass it on better to the younger generation.

Sister Miriam cared for her parents in the midst of her schooling and teaching, and even put off religious life in order to take care of them. “She’s a tremendous intercessor for those who have to care for sick loved ones with real compassion,” Fr. Landry said. “That’s one of the ways our home can become a real school of love.”

She’s been called the American St. Thérèse because of many things they have in common, and Fr. Landry outlines the reasons for this. In fact, Sister Miriam’s 26 conferences were published after her death as Greater Perfection, and this can still be found and ordered from her order, the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth.

To hear Fr. Landry’s discussion of the other reasons to pray for Sister Miriam’s intercession and the story of the miracle that led to her beatification, be sure to listen to the entire interview.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker on St. Thérèse

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a National Catholic Register commentator. He is the author of the book St. Benedict and St. Thérèse — The Little Rule and the Little Way. Fr. Longenecker is here to talk about St. Therese of Lisieux, whose feast day is October 1st.

Fr. Longenecker’s recent article at the Register is titled, “St. Thérèse: Little Flower, Little Warrior.” It’s a bit hard to picture a little flower as a warrior, but Fr. Longenecker maintains that “if this girl is a little flower, then she was a steel magnolia.”

He continued, “she’s got this heart of iron and this steely determination. There’s not really much that’s soft and sweet about her, especially near the end of her life.”

Both Teresa of Avila and Thérèse were Carmelites, and Fr. Longenecker points out how much Thérèse said she was indebted to her older sister, Teresa of Avila. Thérèse says some remarkable things. On her deathbed, for example, as she was dying from consumption, she says to her sisters, “Why am I dying in my bed? I was supposed to die in the arena,” referring to the death of a gladiator. 

“She has this wonderful military or war-like spirit to her, really seeing the spiritual life as spiritual warfare,” Fr. Longenecker said. He referenced a photograph of Thérèse dressed in armor as Joan of Arc (which is shared on his Register article). 

The reason Thérèse’s Little Way was easy, Fr. Longenecker explained, was because it relied completely on God’s grace. Thérèse herself compared it to stepping into an elevator: you step in and it goes up. However, to get to that point of relying completely on God’s grace, Fr. Longenecker pointed out, is a battle.

Fr. Longenecker had stories of Thérèse actually going into war with the French soldiers in the First World War: she appeared to them in their dreams and in apparitions. You can read more about these stories in Fr. Longenecker’s piece at the Register.

Fr. Longenecker also shares about the juxtaposition between St. Benedict’s Little Rule and St. Thérèse’s Little Way, which he outlined in his book.

To hear more about the conversation about Thérèse’s spirituality, be sure to listen to the entire interview. You can learn more about Fr. Longenecker’s work at his website.