January 5

St. John Neumann

Saint John Neumann

Early Life

John Neumann was born on the 28th of March, 1811, in Prachatice,Bohemia (now called the Czech Republic). Out of the six children hisparents had, he was the 3rd. In 1823, He wrote and passed withdistinction the entrance exam into a school in Budweis run by thePiarist Fathers.


In 1831, Neumann joined the Diocese of Budweis seminary to studytheology. During his second year of study at the seminary, Neumann readreports from the Leopoldine Society requesting for more priests in theUnited States, particularly to attend to the German-speaking communitiesresiding there.

These reports, alongside a spirited lecture given by the seminarydirector about Apostle Paul’s missionary activities, gave him all theencouragement to leave for America. He planned to go there and offerspiritual support to European immigrants living in America.

Dedication and Devotion

In June 1836, Neumann became a priest, and his ordination was carriedout by John Dubois, the bishop of New York. Dubois then assigned Neumannto assist Father Alexander Pax in offering pastoral services to theGerman immigrants residing in the Buffalo area. Dubois also directedNeumann to make a stop at Rochester before moving on to Buffalo.

The German Catholics warmly welcomed his arrival in Rochester. Some ofthe parishioners even planned to request for Bishop Dubois to assignNeumann to Rochester permanently.

By January of 1842, John Neumann had joined the Redemptorists as aresult of his desire to live in a religious community that truly talliedwith his missionary vocation.

Even though Neumann’s primary missions were North Bush, Lancaster, andWilliamsville, soon he was administering over Tonawanda, Transit,Pendleton, Batavia, and Sheldon. For more than four years, BrotherNeumann traveled from house to house, station to station, in the coldwinter and the hot summer, baptizing newborns, blessing the dying,visiting the sick, and encouraging faith in backsliding members.


He was a diligent and determined missionary dedicated to fulfilling hisvocation no matter the circumstances. After assiduously working as thevice-provincial superior of the Redemptorists from 1846 to 1849, he tookover the role of parish priest for St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore. In1852, he was made the bishop of Philadelphia and consecrated by FrancisKenrick, the Archbishop of Baltimore).

Bishop John Neumann had a substantial effect on the religious life inAmerica. He founded catholic schools and encouraged devotion to theEucharist. He also was the founder of the ‘Third Order of Saint Francisof Glen Riddle’ religious institute. He is also regarded by the SchoolSisters of Notre Dame as their secondary founder and their “Father inAmerica.”

Bishop John Neumann built over 70 churches, several orphanages as wellas hospitals in just seven years. Sadly, he passed away suddenly at theage of 48 on January 5, 1860, at the age of 48. His death was caused bya heart attack.

Death and Canonization

St. John Neumann was beatified on October 13, 1963, and canonized onJune 19, 1977. The miracle cited in support of his beatification is thecase of Eva Benassi, an eleven-year-old who was diagnosed with acutediffused peritonitis. Eva woke up one morning, totally cured of thedisease after praying to Neumann for intercession.

His remains are interred in St. Peter the Apostle Church inPhiladelphia.

5 Interesting Facts About St. John Neumann

  1. Did you know St. Neumann was fluent in several languages, including
    German, Italian, Czech, Latin, French, Greek, and English?
  2. St. John Neumann was the first ecclesiastic to set up a diocesan
    school system in the United States.
  3. Did you know St. Neumann is the first and presently the only
    American male citizen to be canonized?
  4. St. Neumann is called upon as a patron of sick children and of
  5. Saint John Neumann is a Patron Saint of Educators/Teachers.

Prayer to St. John Neumann

O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls toChrist impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthilyin the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the oneHeavenly Father and brothers of Jesus Christ, the first-born of thefamily of God.Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, theweak, the afflicted, and the abandoned, which so characterized yourlife. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times,painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of ourRedeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.May death still find us on the sure road to our Father’s house withthe light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.