Collection: St. John Neumann

ARTIST: Brenda Nippert


Born in Bohemia, John Neumann prayed from an early age to always do the will of God. At 25, he landed in New York City with one change of clothes and one dollar. He was quickly ordained a priest and sent into New York's wilderness to minister to the German immigrants. He then became the first Redemptorist to take his vows in the United States. He was sent many places and became good friends with another Redemptorist, Francis Seelos. John developed his talents as a pastor, a leader and a financial whiz, but his greatest talent was loving the people he served.

His personal mission was to lead each and every soul in his care to God, one by one. His gift for languages helped him to reach out to everyone. If he didn't know someone’s language, he learned it. Even though he thought he wasn't good enough, he was chosen to be bishop of the huge Diocese of Philadelphia. He built numerous churches, schools, hospitals, orphanages, seminaries and colleges. He brought in many religious orders and started the 40 hours Eucharistic devotion, which still goes on today, all over the country.

His feast day is January 5.

Read More

Perhaps because the United States got a later start in the history of the world, it has relatively few canonized saints, but their number is increasing.

John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York at 25 and was ordained a priest. He did missionary work in New York until he was 29, when he joined the Redemptorists and became its first member to profess vows in the United States. He continued missionary work in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio, where he became popular with the Germans.

At 41, as bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one, increasing the number of pupils almost twentyfold within a short time.

Gifted with outstanding organizing ability, he drew into the city many teaching communities of sisters and the Christian Brothers. During his brief assignment as vice provincial for the Redemptorists, he placed them in the forefront of the parochial movement.

Well-known for his holiness and learning, spiritual writing and preaching, on October 13, 1963, John Neumann became the first American bishop to be beatified. Canonized in 1977, he is buried in St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia.

Neumann took seriously our Lord's words, "Go and teach all nations." From Christ he received his instructions and the power to carry them out. For Christ does not give a mission without supplying the means to accomplish it. The Father's gift in Christ to John Neumann was his exceptional organizing ability, which he used to spread the Good News. Today the Church is in dire need of men and women to continue in our times the teaching of the Good News. The obstacles and inconveniences are real and costly. Yet when Christians approach Christ, he supplies the necessary talents to answer today's needs. The Spirit of Christ continues his work through the instrumentality of generous Christians.