Thursday, January 05, 2006

Saint John Neumann (not to be confused with the Venerable Cardinal with a similar name)

This guy's amazing! Born in Bohemia, he emigrated to the U.S. — Manhattan, to be exact — because he wanted to be a priest. Back in 1830s, Bohemia evidently had more priests than they knew what to do with (now there's a notion to chew on!) while the New York area had hardly any. He was welcomed with open arms.

The first American man and the first American bishop (he became a citizen) to be canonized, the quiet priest accomplished an astounding amount of work in his relatively short life. Just for openers, he:

  • Build 50 churches
  • Opened nearly 100 Catholic Schools
  • Learned and spoke twelve languages fluently to cater to European immigrants to the U.S.
  • Wrote two catechisms
  • Promulgated the 40 hours devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in the U.S.

He's buried in a parish church in Philadelphia, where you can find more interesting and inspiring facts about this saint.

Prayer of Saint John Neumann:

“How much I love You, O my Jesus! I wish to love You with my whole heart; yet I do not love You enough. My lack of devotion and my negligence still haunt me. I have one desire, that of being near You in the Blessed Sacrament. You are the sweet bridegroom of my soul. My Jesus, my love, my all, gladly would I endure hunger, thirst, heat, and cold to remain always with you in the Blessed Sacrament."