Among decrees signed by the Pope on Friday were two which, though involving causes related to the Latin Church, are of some interest here, due to the ethnic backgrounds of those who were the subjects of the decrees.
Declared Venerable were the former Servants of God Bishop Frederic Baraga of Marquette and Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich of the Sisters of Charity of St Elizabeth (Convent Station, NJ).
Venerable Bishop Federic was from Slovenia, where he was ordained to the Latin presbyterate in 1823. He came to the US in about 1835 to provide pastoral care to the Ojibwa and Ottawa tribes in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Bishop Federic was named first bishop of Sault Ste Marie in 1857 and relocated the diocese to Marquette in 1866, a few years before his repose.
A lot of us are more familiar with Venerable Sister Miriam Teresa. She was born to Slovak Greek-Catholic parents in Bayonne, NJ, and baptized at St John the Baptist Greek-Catholic Church there. She entered the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in 1925, a couple of years after graduating from the College of St Elizabeth in Convent Station. Sister Miriam wrote a series of spiritual conferences that were published after her death as "Greater Perfection". She was only 26 when she reposed in 1927, having pronounced her final religious vows in articulo mortis.
That Sister Miriam and her brother (Monsignor Charles Demanovich, of blessed memory, who pastored St Mary's Latin parish in Rutherford, NJ, for many years) became separated from their Byzantine roots was, as we well know, not untypical of the times.
May Venerable Bishop Frederic and Venerable Sister Miriam Teresa intercede at the Throne for all of God's people.
"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."