Teresa Demjanovich was born on March 26, 1901 in Bayonne, NJ. She was baptized and confirmed five days later according to the Byzantine Catholic rite. Teresa was the youngest child of Alexander and Johanna Demjanovich and grew up in a household steeped in the Catholic faith and religious practices.
Teresa was a very intelligent student and, although having poor eyesight, she graduated with high marks— salutatorian of her high school class. After graduation it was the decision of the family that Teresa should remain at home to care for her ailing mother. This she did willingly and well. After her mother's death the family decided that Teresa should attend College. Teresa did what the family wanted although it was her ardent desire to become a cloistered Carmelite nun like her patron saints Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux. Thus in 1919 she enrolled at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station (Morristown), NJ.
Once more Teresa excelled in her studies, graduating with a Bachelor of Literature degree summa cum laude (meaning, "with highest honors"). Her college days were filled with activity while at the same time she was continuing to grow in her union with God. Her piety was obvious to all who knew her. Often at Mass and found praying in the chapel, she grew in her intimacy with God, especially being favored with insights and a sense of the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity. During her college years, she told her friend that the Blessed Virgin had appeared outside her dormitory window.
Believing it to be God's will for her, on February 11, 1925, Teresa entered the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton— the patron saint of Seton Hall University. As a novice, she met Fr. Benedict Bradley, OSB, to whom she confided the state of her soul. Under his guidance, she made numerous vows leading her to greater perfection. He asked her to write a series of conferences on the spiritual life, which he gave to the novices. After her death in 1927, there were published under the title Greater Perfection and have been widely distributed even today.
Sister Miriam Teresa's health declined while she was still a novice and she was given permission to profess her vows in articulo mortis (at the point of death). Her death occurred in Morristown, NJ on May 8, 1927, when Sister Miriam Teresa was only 26-years-old.
Since that time many graces have been asked and received through the intercession of Sister Miriam Teresa. The medically unexplainable cure of a young boy, Michael Mencer, with macular degeneration of the eyes was accepted by Pope Francis as an authentic miracle and has led to her beatification in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ last month (on October 4). It was the first beatification to ever take place on American soil.
Categories: Faith and Service