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American saints (United States).

Blessed Catherine Drexel, the American founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament--noted for her work to educate American Indians and blacks--will be canonized on October 1.

On April 9 Pope John Paul beatified Fr. Francis Xavier Seelos of New Orleans. Among those present at the beatification was Mrs. Angela Boudreaux of New Orleans whose 1966 recovery from terminal cancer of the liver is attributed to the intercession of Fr. Seelos.

Father Seelos, who died in New Orleans in 1867 at age 48, was a Redemptorist mission preacher, a parish priest and director of novices at the local seminary. He was born in Germany in 1819, one of 12 children, and emigrated to the USA as a seminarian. He was ordained on 22 December 1844 in Baltimore. As well as in New Orleans, he worked in Pennsylvania and Maryland for many years. Father Seelos' commitment to his adopted country was exemplified in his devoted work among immigrants to the States.

With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1863, Fr. Seelos, then superior of the Redemptorist Seminary, went to Washington to ask President Lincoln to exempt seminarians from mandatory military duty, a request which Lincoln granted.

Relieved of his position as prefect of students because he was accused of being too lenient, Fr. Seelos preached in several cities before being assigned to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans in 1866. As a parish priest, Fr. Seelos was known to be always available to his flock and unfailingly compassionate to the poor and destitute. His early death resulted from caring for yellow fever victims; exhausted from these labours, he contracted the disease himself.

There is great devotion to Blessed Seelos in the archdiocese of New Orleans where a thanksgiving mass for his beatification was celebrated in St. Louis cathedral on April 29. The installation of his remains in the church of St. Mary of the Assumption is scheduled for October.

Coincidentally, Blessed Seelos, only the second U.S. male to be beatified, at one time worked alongside St. John Neumann, a fellow Redemptorist, in a parish in Pittsburg, PA (L'Osservatore Romano, Apr 12-14, 00).

Following a two-year Hartford archdiocesan investigation, the justification for sainthood of Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, has been forwarded to Rome.

Cardinal John O'Connor of the archdiocese of New York announced Vatican approval to open the cause of canonisation of Dorothy Day, founder of the American Catholic Worker. An examination of her writings by a dogmatist, a moral theologian and a canonist has concluded that the writings are "in complete fidelity to the Church".

Postscript:

The Church in the USA suffered a great loss when Cardinal O'Connor died on May 3. He had been suffering for some time from a brain tumour.

At his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston was greeted with a standing ovation on mentioning Cardinal O'Connor's devotion to the pro-life cause. Viewers watching the Mass on TV doubtless noted the stony-faced response of President and Mrs. Clinton and of Vice-President Al Gore.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 1, 2000
Words:510
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