Sunday, July 31, 2011


I am from Pittsburgh PA where my Redemptorists founded the parish of St. Philomena's back in the 1800's.  Two of our Redemptorist Saints (St. John Neumann and Blessed Francis Seelos) worked there.  John Neumann later went as bishop to Philadelphia where, as a great "immigrint bishop" he served immigrint Catholics, not only from his native Bohemia, but from all parts of the world.  John Neumann died, apparently of a heart attack, falling to the pavement at 42 years of age on Vine St. in Philadelphia...Francis Seelos, who had also come as an immigrint to serve the Catholic immigrint peoples, also spent time in Pittsburgh at  St, Phils with John Neumann.  Francis Seelos is called the Smiling  Ascetic in one great book on his life, because he worked so very hard and was very joyful.  Seelos spent his last years in New Orleans where he died of yellow fever. 
Today, visiting my own Dad's grave here in Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh I came upon the place where my many Redemptorists priest and brother confreres have found their final resting place...On it are these truly beautiful statues of both John Neumann and Francis Seelos.  As the inscriptions say they were placed their by  Rev. John Kelly, C.SS.R. who inspired a "young and future Hudson River Birder" to desire being a Redemptorist missionary.  Thanks, Fr, John!!!  And thanks  Regina Kelly who is a Redemptorist oblate and is living her last moments on earth in a hospice here in Pittsburgh as she awaits her own joyful reunion with  Christ, the Blessed Virgin and, of course, with St. John Neumann and Blessed Francis Seelos .