Saint of the Day: St. John Neumann

This  American saint was actually born in Bohemia on March28, 1811, the son of Agnes and Phillip Neumann. He was drawn to the religious life early on and entered the diocesan seminary of Budweis in 1831. Two years later, he attended the archiepiscopal seminary at Prague University. Because of the overwhelming surplus of priests in

Bohemia at that time, the bishop decided to halt ordinations. This is something we find almost impossible to fathom today as we pray for the Lord for more priestly vocations in the US.

John learned English by working in a factory with English-speaking workers, and, determined to become a priest, wrote to the bishops of America. Following his calling, John left his homeland forever and traveled to the United States where he was ordained in New York. John was one of 36 priests for 200,000 Catholics. He was assigned to a church that had neither steeple nor even a floor, but John was so glad to be a priest that it mattered not to him. He spent most of his time traveling from village to village, climbing mountains, visiting the sick, and even celebrating Mass in homes at kitchen tables. John eventually joined the Redemptorists, a congregation of priests and brothers dedicated to helping the poor.

In 1852, he was appointed bishop of Philadelphia and was the first to organize a diocesan Catholic school system. As a founder of Catholic education in the US, he increased the number of Catholic schools in his diocese from two to 100. John became fluent in many languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch and this enabled him to hear confessions in all these languages as well as English. When the Irish started coming to America, he learned Gaelic so well that some of the Irish actually thought he was Irish.

John Neumann was known for his deep holiness, charity, pastoral work and preaching. He was canonized the first American male saint in 1977 by Pope Paul VI, Elizabeth Ann Seton being the first female American saint.” (Source Catholic Exchange)

Read More about the Saint here.

His body lies beneath an altar, in the basement Church, of St. Peters Church in Philadelphia. The Saint is not an incorruptible as many Catholic sites claim. According to the information on the website of the shrine, his lifelike face was made by a forensic artist.

Gosh I do love being a Catholic.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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1 Response to Saint of the Day: St. John Neumann

  1. Fr K. Hanlon says:

    Dear Mrs.,
    Thanks for your homage to St. John Neumann, one of my favorites. He is a great example for all of us, especially today on his feast.
    I’m pretty sure the Church considered him perfectly incorrupt the first time they opened his tomb, i.e., a body left in its natural state with no decomposition. St. Clare was perfectly incorrupt for centuries, but in the past fifty years, she dried up and shrank some, so they finally put a mask on her 20 years ago. But when I first saw her in 1984, it was her natural face, slightly darkened and shrinking, but I prefered it to the present death mask. So St. John’s body might be mostly incorrupt still, but not viewable for tender stomachs. So you might want to do some more research on that before saying other websites are wrong on the matter. Almost none of the incorruptibles have stayed perfect forever; the fact that they are perfect when a tomb is open years after their death is enough for the declaration of incorruptibility.
    God bless,

    Fr. Kevin Hanlon


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