Life of St. John Neumann
John Nepomucene Neumann was born on March 28, 1811, the third of six
children of Philip Neumann, a stocking knitter, and his wife Agnes, a
very devout woman who attended Mass daily, in the village of Prachatitz
in Bohemia. From his mother he acquired the spirit of piety and through
her encouragement entered the Seminary at Budweis.
During his seminary years, he yearned to be a foreign missionary in
America. He left his native land and was ordained in June, 1836 by
Bishop John Dubois in New York. He spent four years in Buffalo and the
surrounding area building churches and establishing schools.
In 1840, he joined the Redemptorists. Eight years later he became a
United States citizen. By order of Pope Pius IX in 1852 he was
consecrated fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. His mastery of eight
languages provided extremely helpful in his quest for souls. He was a
pioneer promoter of the Parochial School System in America.
One of the highlights of Saint John Neumann's life was his
participation, in Rome, in the Proclamation of the Dogma of our Blessed
Mother's Immaculate Conception. This was the formal definition by
the Church of the prayer imprinted on each Miraculous Medal: "Oh,
Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee. Through his"
efforts, the Forty Hours Devotion was introduced in the Philadelphia
Diocese. St. John Neumann founded the frist Church in America for
Italian-speaking people. He also founded the Glen Riddle group of the
Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.
At 48 years of age, completely exhausted from all his apostolic
endeavors, St. John Neumann collapsed in the street on January 5, 1860.
He is buried beneath the altar of the lower Church in St. Peter's Church in
Due to the significance of St. John Neumann with regard to Our Lady's
Immaculate Conception, each
Miraculous Medal which is sent from St. Catherine's Metalworks is touched to a relic of St. John Neumann before being shipped out.