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200 years since the birth of...

 

St. John Neumann: A Biography

 

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March 28 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Neumann C.Ss.R.,

the founder of the diocesan school system in the United States.

 

John Nepomucene Neumann was born in Prachatice, Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic) on March 28, 1811. He was an exceptional

student, and a quick study with languages — he was fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, English, German, and his native Bohemian.

Due to a surplus of priests in his native country, Neumann could not be ordained to the priesthood after he completed his studies in 1835.

 

He had always dreamed of being a missionary in the United States, so he sailed for America hoping to find a warm welcome.

Neumann was ordained for the Diocese of New York and began his ministry among the isolated communities of German Catholics

around Buffalo, NY.

 

Redemptorist

 

He found the life of a diocesan priest lonely, especially as a missionary in the hinterlands of his diocese. To satisfy his need

for community, Neumann joined the Redemptorists in 1842. He spent time in Pittsburgh learning more about their way of life,

and took his vows in Baltimore, becoming the first Redemptorist to profess vows in the New World. In 1848, he was appointed

the leader of all the Redemptorists in the United States. In 1852, after serving as pastor of several Redemptorist parishes in

Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Neumann was named the fourth bishop of Philadelphia.

 

Bishop

 

As bishop, Neumann established close to 90 parishes and founded the nation’s parochial school system. He also welcomed

several new orders of religious women into his diocese to serve in the schools, including the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Neumann was also a spiritual father to the Sisters of St. Francis of Glen Riddle and the Oblate Sisters of Providence.

He is also known for spreading the Forty Hours Eucharistic devotion.

 

Saint

 

On January 5, 1860, Neumann collapsed and died on a street in Philadelphia at the age of 48.

At his request, he was buried in the basement crypt in St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia.

Pope Paul VI beatified Neumann in 1963 during the Second Vatican Council, and he was declared a saint in 1977.

Neumann is considered a patron saint of immigrants and sick children.

His relics are located under the altar of the Shrine of St. John Neumann at St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia.

 

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http://www.redemptorists.net/neumann/