Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Blessed John Neumann, C.SS.R.--Pastoral Bishop

by Michael J. Curley, C.SS.R.


This is a reflection of the life and works of St. John Neumann, the United States’ first male citizen to be canonized.

Larger Work

The American Ecclesiastical Review



Publisher & Date

The Catholic University of America Press, September 1964

On October 13, 1963, John Neumann, C.SS.R., fourth Bishop of Philadelphia, became a world figure. The very humble prelate who had only two bishops at his consecration in Baltimore in 1852, 1 and only four at his obsequies in Philadelphia in 1860, 2 was proclaimed Blessed by Pope Paul VI in the basilica of St. Peter in Rome before an historic assemblage of over forty cardinals, hundreds of archbishops and bishops, and an overcapacity audience of the faithful. He is the first male citizen of the United States and the first bishop of the American hierarchy to win that high honor. The words of the sovereign pontiff on the occasion epitomized the saintly bishop's career: "This Blessed Bishop attracts us and charms us by his pastoral charity."3 It was strange how all the elements of a successful pastor on the American scene were fused in the European formation and education of the new Beatus.

Early Training

John Neumann was fortunate in having good parents. His father, Philip Neumann, the Bavarian-born stocking weaver, was a steady worker and dedicated family man, respected and admired by the townsfolk at Prachatitz in Bohemia where John was born on March 28, 1811. Agnes Lebisch, the Czech mother of Philip's six children, was an exemplary Catholic who organized her family on solid Christian principles. Much of the piety that later characterized Blessed John was instilled into him by his hard working, Catholic mother. She encouraged him likewise when he sought to enter the Gymnasium at Budweis after he completed his six-year course of learning in the local school in 1823. 4

For the six more years he studied at the Gymnasium he had a very good record, 5 but his studies were almost terminated before he completed his full course. The trouble started in the third year when an old and easy-going teacher was succeeded by a more energetic professor bent on making up for lost time. His pace was so fast and his methods so exacting that many of John's classmates abandoned their studies. John was none too keen on the new teacher's system of having the pupil's learn by rote, but he obtained passing grades, nevertheless. During his next year young Neumann lived in a boarding house with several room companions, noisier, less studious and more pleasure seeking than he. Their distracting influence hindered his studying so much that he failed to obtain the grades he might have. Philip Neumann called his son during that summer vacation and spoke to him sternly, "John, you do not seem to have your mind on your work. Perhaps it would be better if you stayed at home and took up a trade." John had passing grades but his father was disappointed, believing that his son was not applying himself as he should. Fortunately Philip Neumann called on a neighboring professor to examine his son privately and to see what was wrong. The professor saved the day when he said that the intelligence of John and his grasp of his subjects was greater than the grades he had received from the reforming professor. 6 It was a small incident but it could easily have turned the career of John Neumann and diverted him from the priesthood. It didn't. It gave him an outlook and an understanding of student difficulties he might never have had if he had sailed along serenely. Philip Neumann changed his son's boarding house and there was no further slacking of the pace in John's scholastic career. When he studied philosophy from 1829 until 1831, in the same Gymnasium building, he obtained fine grades; and what was more his study of the sciences taught him a disciplined, orderly method of approaching his tasks. 7

As a seminarian of the Diocese of Budweis John Neumann spent his first two years from 1831 until 1833 studying theology at the Budweis Diocesan Seminary. In every way they were brilliant years both scholastically and spiritually. Because he sought to study modern languages for which he had an aptitude and because he wished to know English and French better for work on the American missions, he took his last two years of theology at the Theological Seminary of the Charles Ferdinand University in Prague. He did well here, too, but he was not so happy with his course as he was in Budweis because of the Josephistic leanings of some of the professors. 8 In both seminaries, the courses given him were in a special way adapted to form the pastoral side of the priestly vocation. There was a strong emphasis on pedagogy and catechetics. Out of that training in catechetics came an accomplished catechist, a man who could instruct in a simple and clear manner. It was an asset that served Neumann well throughout all his years. 9

There was a good preaching course given in the Prague seminary. The young seminarians had to mount the pulpit for practice preaching regularly; and their efforts were graded. To foster their ideals in sacred eloquence, they were obliged to write out portions of sermons by eminent preachers, and they had to attend the sermons and instructions in the University Church every week.

One of John Neumann's first attempts at practice preaching at Prague ended in disaster; he forgot his lines and had to get down from the pulpit in confusion. He had tried to memorize the sermon, word for word and line for line. His old antipathy against verbal memorization upset him. The next time he mounted the pulpit, things were different; he was a glowing success.10 In time he acquired a great facility in expressing himself because he employed many hours in writing his so-called diary. This was in reality an examination of conscience, which he wrote almost daily for several years to help his spiritual growth. An important side effect of this nulla die sine linea practice was the readiness he gained in formulating his ideas clearly throughout all his life. This, together with his deep and wide habits of reading and his attachment to the cause of Christ, enabled him later to speak with such unction that he became a most effective preacher. 11

One part of his training might have disqualified him from being a good pastor, his course in theology. The textbook in moral theology, the abridged edition of Ambrose Staf's Institutiones Theologiae Moralis, was skimpy, giving little space to the treatises on human acts, conscience and matrimony. Besides, the moral professor was too philosophical and obscure in his lectures. For dogmatic theology he used Engelbert Klupfel's Institutiones Dogmaticae in epitomized form. The text lacked solidity of doctrine, and the professor teaching it seemed more against the pope than for him. Neumann sought to offset any deficiency by privately studying the Homo Apostolicus of Saint Alphonsus; the Catechism of the Council of Trent; the Summa Doctrinae Christianae of Saint Canisius, and the works of Saint Robert Bellarmine. The result was that he was well prepared to be a good confessor, especially since he possessed that most important ability of distinguishing the essential from the accidental in judging cases of conscience. As a bishop he was to become known as a distinguished theologian; and many sought him as their confessor. 12

Most important in the formation of this future pastor was the central fact that early he acquired great energy, quiet energy, but energy nevertheless. His training at home by his father and mother had developed in him steady habits of industry. One of his boyhood companions, Dean Iglauer, later pointed out that Neumann's restless energy was evident in him even as a boy. 13

Underlying all this was his love of God and his love of souls. Pious from his youth, John Neumann said that a book, Bode's Betrachtungen uber die Weltgebaude, read in 1829, turned his mind more closely to God. 14 He fell in love with his Creator and no other love, be it comforts of life, honor or prestige, was going to displace it. How he pleaded with the Almighty in his daily examination of conscience for that love, day after day! In setbacks, in defeats, in frustrations, in anxieties, as well as in successes, always there sprang up from him a cry for God's love. Everything else could fail; he did not want to be defeated in his desire to love God. 15

Allied to that love of God, there arose in him a keen, incisive desire to win souls for Christ. We can pinpoint the hour when the overwhelming urge came upon him to devote his life not only as a priest, but as a missionary priest, bringing the message of salvation to a mission land. Neumann had been reading the Berichte, the missionary reports of the Austrian Leopoldine Foundation, with their accounts of mission work in America. The letters of the missionaries were begging for helpers, for more workers in that vineyard of the Lord. Plea after plea came, urging others to come over the ocean and save abandoned souls. John Neumann was moved. 16 Now he was in the classroom during his second year of theology listening as Father Karl Koerner explained the eleventh chapter of the Second Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. The professor's burning words on the flaming zeal of Saint Paul, travelling over the world's highroads, on land and sea, in prisons, among friends and among enemies, everywhere seeking souls for Christ, galvanized in the mind of John Neumann and another seminarian resolved to be a missionary in America. 17

Arrival In America

Characteristically putting his resolve into action, he applied for a post in the New World and was accepted by an intermediary for the Diocese of Philadelphia. Neumann hoped to be ordained before setting out, but when the ordination was delayed because of the illness of the Bishop of Budweis, he boldly began his journey to America. In spite of the tears of his family who had fondly hoped to see him robed as priest of God, and notwithstanding the defection of his fellow seminarians who once planned to accompany him, he steadfastly moved to his goal, the mission field in America. 18 Before he left Europe, he learned with dismay that the post promised him in the Diocese of Philadelphia had been given to another. Undeterred, he travelled on, hoping to be accepted as a missionary in a land where priests were badly needed. 19

With only a dollar in his pocket, his clothes grown shabby and his shoes worn out John Neumann in 1836 arrived in New York with no place to go. The rain was pouring down on the sidewalks that Feast of Corpus Christi as he walked up the streets of New York, alone. Fortunately, a zealous missionary, Bishop John Dubois of New York, received him with open arms, for he was in need of men with apostolic zeal. He ordained him in a little over three weeks, June 25, 1836. After saying his First Mass the next day, John Neumann penned his thoughts in his diary. "Give to me holiness," he asked, and with it was a prayer that all the living and the dead might one day be with him eternally with his "dearest God." The pastoral formation was complete now; time would gauge its effectiveness. 20

The young German-Czech missionary left New York in a new suit provided by Father John Raffeiner, a New York priest, and money for travelling expenses donated by the bishop. A Hudson River steamer took him to Albany, and a canal boat along the Erie Canal brought him to Rochester, N.Y. Here he preached, baptized and heard confessions for the first time. He was thrilled. 21 A week later he was moving along the canal again, and came to its western terminus, Buffalo, on July 12, 1836. 22

At the time, Buffalo had one Catholic pastor, Father Alexander Pax, caring for St. Louis' Church, though another priest, Father John Mertz, was away temporarily, collecting funds in Europe for a church in Eden, New York. John Neumann began his pastoral caring for the faithful on the outskirts of Buffalo. There were three main centers in his parish, and each of them had an unfinished church, Williamsville to the northeast of Buffalo; North Bush (now Kenmore), to the north; and Lancaster to the east. There were more than half a dozen other settlements scattered around the perimeter of Buffalo, and Neumann's apostolate carried him to all of them from Niagara Falls to Batavia and beyond, wherever a call came for priestly help. Certainly a parish of over a thousand square miles afforded full scope for pastoral zeal. His wide-ranging districts were settled by recent immigrants struggling to clear the land and establish farms. His parishioners had the faith, but in ever other sense of the word they were poor.

Because it was centrally located, Neumann first set up his headquarters at Williamsville, boarding with a Catholic family because no rectory was in the place. The head of the house was friendly enough, but his volatile disposition could mount to fiery explosiveness. Seven months after his arrival, the young missionary transferred his headquarters to North Bush, boarding again with a Catholic family. The boarding house was a mile-and-a-half from the church. Only by November 1838 did he acquire a small two-room log cabin rectory. At last he had badly needed privacy, and the Blessed Sacrament, his "Dearest God," could be reserved close at hand.

For four years the pastoral zeal that burned in the heart of John Neumann took him up and down, over and across the wide-rolling hills with a Mass kit on his back, going from place to place, often on foot, sometimes on horseback, along dusty, swampy corduroy roads, bringing the words of salvation to the scattered Catholics.

It was a hard life, a lonely life, but the pastoral charity of the young priest shone out luminously under difficulties. He completed the churches; he organized the schools, going into the classroom himself to teach for months at a time. Instructions in catechism and in choral singing were regularly given to the children who long remembered him for his kindness and clear explanations. To encourage them he rewarded them with holy pictures and rock candy. Ceaselessly he visited the people of his districts, and long before Cardinal Vaughan of England had said that a house-going priest makes a church-going people, he effectively illustrated it. He never imposed on the kindness of his parishioners, and for that reason he never visited the farmers at mealtimes lest his entrance at this hour be construed as a subtle request for a meal. Folks could tell he never cooked much for himself at the rectory in North Bush for the tell tale smoke rarely issued from the rectory's chimney. He was generous to those in need; he lifted the courage of those in trouble; he defended the Catholic Faith against those who would impugn it, though he did not believe in upbraiding people, even those who were against him.

His journeys were so long and exhausting that several times his health threatened to break. Often he was near a collapse on the road. 23 His health finally did break in 1840; for some months his younger brother Wenzel, whom he had summoned from Europe to act as his cook, stable boy and teacher in school, was left alone in the outskirts of Buffalo. Convalescing in the city of Rochester at St. Joseph's Redemptorist foundation, John Neumann resolved to become a Redemptorist that he might live in the company of priests and be a member of a community, rather than a lone pastor. 24

Joins Redemptorist Fathers

Late in 1840 he journeyed to Pittsburgh to join the Sons of Saint Alphonsus as a novice. He wanted to live a life of seclusion during his novitiate year, and he got everything but that. Sent from Pittsburgh, to New York, to Rochester, to Buffalo, to Norwalk, Ohio, his novitiate was spent for the most part in travelling with raucous immigrants going west on canal boats, stage coaches and on primitive railroads, or in listening to the bickerings of church trustees with parishioners or of church trustees with other church trustees. The conditions were such that he became a general utility priest, shifted from one post to another without a chance to stay long or operate effectively in any of them.

One thing was evident from this wandering novitiate—John Neumann could eliminate quarrels. His gentle, peaceful manner helped many a soul and brought peace where discord raged before. By nature he had a meek manner, and grace made him even still more meek. Even in those days he could take a tongue lashing or an insult humbly, not allowing any rebuff to inflame his emotions into a spirit of anger or revenge, and thus cut himself off from those with whom he had to work. He could pass over the more disruptive qualities in his neighbor's character and make use of his more co-operative tendencies. He had that all-important quality of getting along with people, the prime talent for a successful pastor. He used it effectively, and the Redemptorists were happy to see him, their first novice in America, professed on January 16, 1848 in Baltimore. 25

For two years after his novitiate, Father Neumann was a curate in the twin parishes of Saint James and of Saint Alphonsus in Baltimore, but mostly at Saint James. Together they formed a hurly-burly immigrant parish in those days with buildings going up and buildings going down, while the Fathers shifted from one home to another. But Neumann had a full day's work guaranteed for him every day both in Baltimore and in the outmissions. He travelled west to Wheeling and south to Richmond and all over Maryland, helping small Catholic groups to hold fast to their religious principles. 26

From 1844 until 1847 his pastoral zeal was given a chance to operate in a big city parish back at Saint Philomena's, Pittsburgh. Here he had the difficulties of many pastors in a fast-growing immigrant age, the problem of building a large church with little or no income. This particular handicap had been so great at Saint Philomena's that Neumann's predecessor had given it up as an impossible task. Neumann worked so hard to get that great church completed and a rectory started that again his health broke. His three years in Pittsburgh, however, established his reputation as a pastor of unusual talents, and Bishop Michael O'Connor was to remember him later when bringing up his name for a bishopric. Neumann and his two assistants were called by the Pittsburgh prelate, "The three saints of Saint Philomena's."27 Nevertheless, because his health was threatened, Father Neumann was relieved of his post at Pittsburgh early in 1847. 28

At the very time his superiors in America thought of giving him a rest, a higher superior in Europe appointed him to govern all Redemptorists in America, scattered in ten struggling foundations. The biggest problem facing him as vicegerent and later as vice provincial in America was to keep the finances in proper equilibrium without impeding the growth of the houses under him. Many irritating circumstances added to his burdens, but he did balance the budget. It was during his tenure of office, too, that the Redemptorist foundations in America began to reach the forefront in erecting and staffing parochial schools, thanks to his shrewd move in acquiring the services of The School Sisters of Notre Dame to teach in them. 29

Succeeded in the vice provincial office by the famed mission organizer, Father Bernard Hafkenscheid, Neumann was retained by him as a consultor. He performed so well in that hidden office that Hafkenscheid called him, "My right arm." Hafkenscheid left the command of the vice province once again in Neumann's hands while he journeyed to Europe to help establish the Redemptorist houses in America into a province. In January 1851, Hafkenscheid became provincial, and Neumann was made the first canonical rector of the great parish of Saint Alphonsus in Baltimore. Neumann really had three parishes under him now, for Saint James' and the new Saint Michael's, each of parochial size, were united under his command. Neumann's tasks were complicated and exhausting, but here again his orderly methods enabled him to function very successfully, and he himself aided in all the parochial activities, especially in the confessional. 30

Kind and clear thinking, he was an excellent spiritual director. Among his penitents was the Archbishop of Baltimore, Francis Patrick Kenrick. The archbishop was seeking to send to Rome the names of suitable candidates for the office of Bishop of Philadelphia in the fall of 1851. Bishop Michael O'Connor had previously told him of Neumann's executive talents. When Kenrick himself had learned to know him as his confessor, the archbishop advanced the name of Neumann for the Philadelphia post. Many other bishops seconded the proposal of the Baltimore prelate. 31

Bishop Of Philadelphia In 1852

Only in obedience to the command of Pope Pius IX did Blessed John Neumann undertake the office of Shepherd of Philadelphia in March 1852. Because it was then considered the largest diocese in the country, Neumann seemed in the eyes of some a little inferior for the post. In fact, one Roman authority after visiting this country wrote that very thing, 32 but neither those in Philadelphia who so appraised him, nor the Roman authority knew Philadelphia's needs and the pastoral charity in the Fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. Neumann's ad limina report in 1854, one of the best, if not the best in the Propaganda archives for those years, was a living refutation of the charges leveled against him by his critics. 33 These must have been stunned in heaven, if such thing occur, when the full story of John Neumann's executive accomplishments and virtues became known to them.

Better than anyone else he learned the complete problems that Philadelphia faced at that time. Philadelphia, with 75,000 souls in the city and 75,000 more in the country sections, was a diocese that stretched over South Jersey, Delaware and the eastern two-thirds of Pennsylvania. Schools had to be erected, new churches built, orphans provided for, and future parishes planned. Immigrants were pouring into the diocese. Had Blessed John Neumann been a desk executive, he might had lived an easier life. But he well knew that if the Faith of the immigrants was to be preserved, a bishop had to move; and John Neumann was a Shepherd who moved. He went out to meet the immigrants. Year after year he moved up and down and across that diocese, spending four to six months tirelessly visiting villages, often conducting services in courthouses, in private homes and town halls. Everywhere he encouraged the faithful to hold regular services whether a priest was present or not. During the recent session of the Second Vatican Council, one bishop recommended that liturgical or quasi-liturgical services be arranged for priestless mission places. More than a century ago, John Neumann had done exactly that. 34

This Philadelphia bishop was a human dynamo. What made his activity noteworthy, however, is that while working at top speed he kept his mind on God—a living example of holiness in action. Father Edward Purcell, who preached at the consecration of Bishop Wood in Cincinnati in 1857, declared that Bishop Neumann's apostolic zeal was known to the whole American Church. 35 It should have been. Many remember Bishop Neumann as the prelate who introduced the diocesan-wide celebration of the Forty Hours in the United States. He did much more than that. In his ninety-three months as bishop he carried out an amazing church construction program. Seven churches begun before his time were completed; ten others were rebuilt; sixty-six more were entirely new; and eight more were started. 36 The number of Catholic school children was multiplied eighteen times and, what was more lasting, a Catholic diocesan school system was organized for the first time in America. The Sisters of Notre Dame du Namur, the Holy Cross Sisters, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Christian Brothers, and the Holy Cross Brothers were brought in to provide teaching staffs. He founded the Franciscan Sisters of Glen Riddle to do social work, and he brought in the Benedictines and the Franciscan Conventuals to aid his priests. With a foresight that few had in his day, he established the Philadelphia Preparatory Seminary to insure vocations for the priesthood. 37

He had his critics, plenty of them but, while profiting from just criticism, he never allowed unjust censorious remarks to disturb the peace of his soul or to keep him from working steadily for God.

In an effort to promote the welfare of his diocese, and that was his only motive, he twice offered to leave Philadelphia and go to a smaller diocese. 38 He never went. Three times Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick wrote to Rome that he should be retained in Philadelphia, saying on each occasion, "He is loved by the priests and the people."39 Solid testimony of their love came when they buried him in the candle-lighted basement of Saint Peter's Church in Philadelphia. Lay people sought to snip off pieces of his robes to preserve them as relics, and priests openly cried. 40 The Jesuit, Father Edward Sourin, preaching over Neumann's body, said of him, "He spared himself in nothing."41 Tears welled up in the eyes of the people as Archbishop Kenrick, delivering the funeral sermon, spoke of Blessed John:

Truly he has been an active and devoted pastor living only for his flock. To his clergy he has been full of tenderness . . . their affections were daily more and more won by him without any effort on his part beyond the constant exhibition of paternal kindness… To the laity he was a devoted pastor, always accessible and ready to discharge the duties of his office . . . the poor, the humble always found him kind, condescending, indulgent. His charities were abundant…It is as a pastor watching over his flock that he is specially worthy of our veneration.42


* Research historian for the New York Province of the Redemptorist Fathers. Ph.D. (The Catholic University of America).

1 Joseph Bernard Code, Dictionary of the American Hierarchy (New York, 1940), 254; Johann Berger, C.SS.R. (nephew of the bishop), Leben und Wirken des hochseligen Johannes Nep. Neumann (New York, 1883), 291; Michael J. Curley, C.SS.R., Venerable John Neumann, C.SS.R. (Washington, D.C„ 1952) 436, n 1.

2 Funeral Obsequies of Rt. Rev. John Nepomucene Neumann (Philadelphia, 1860), 14-17.

3 L'Osservatore Romano, 14-15 Ottobre, 1963, p. 1.

4 Redemptorist Archives, Baltimore Province, Brooklyn, N.Y. Neumanneana (cited hereafter as RABP, N), Kurze Lebensbeschreibung des P. Joh. Nep. Neumann, Priester der Versammlung des Hl. Erlosers und erwahlten Bischof von Philadelphia in Nord America (cited hereafter as KL), a four-page (three of them double pages), MS autobiography written under obedience on the eve of his consecration, 1; P. Emmanuel Kovar, Ctihodny sluha bozi Jan. Nepom. Neumann (Brunn, 1910), 12; Berger, op. cit., 16-23,

5 RABP, N, Budweis Gymnasium, has the semi-annual reports of his progress.

6 KL, 1; RABP, N, Budweis Gymnasium, the semi-annual report dated Budweis, September 7, 1827; RABP, N, Mon Journal under date of April 9, 1835, in German.

This is a MS diary or, more correctly, an examination of conscience, written almost daily for several years, beginning October 31, 1834. There are two parts to Mon Journal, one in French and the other in German (cited hereafter as MJF and MJG). MJG places the incident in 1828, but Neumann's autobiography, the scholastic reports, as well as other internal evidence indicate it took place in 1827.

7 RABP, N, Budweis Gymnasium, "Austritt-Zeugniss aus den Philosophischen Studien," dated August 5, 1831, and signed by the Bishop of Budweis; Curley, op. cit., 16.

8 kl, 2; Dr. Lad. Dvorak Biskupsky Knezsky seminar v. C. Budejovicich (Budweis, 1905), 41-56; RABP, N, Seminary Years, 1831-1835, "Caesaro-Regius in Alma Caesarea Regiaque Carolo-Ferdinandea Universitate Pragensi Theologicae Facultatis Praeses et Director," dated Prague, August 3, 1835, gives his grades both for his courses in Budweis and in Prague.

9 Ibid: Dvorak, op. cit., 52; Curley, op. cit., 33. Mother Caroline Friess, SSND, called Neumann "a born catechist," RABP, N, Berger Papers, Mother Caroline, SSND, to Berger, Milwaukee, April 21, 1874.

10 MJF, December 23, 1834; MJF, June 3, 1835.

11 Mon Journal, ut supra n 6. For an appraisal of his preaching see Curley, op. cit., 339-40.

12 KL, 2; MJF, February 15, 1835; MJF, October 9, 15, 1835; MJG, June 11, 1835; RABP, N, Neumann Data, 1835, "Aus dem Gebiethe der Theologie," Heft XXII, XXV; Curley, op. cit., 162-63.

13 This native of Prachatitz said of Neumann, "Schon in seinen Knabenjahren was er stets rastlos thatig," Berger, op. cit., 30. Later, Neumann's confrere, Father Francis Tschenhens, was reported as saying that the holy bishop, in imitation of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, made a vow never to lose a moment's time, RABP, III, John Berger, Berger to his aunt, Cumberland, Md., April 15-25, 1860.

14 MJG, April 9, 1835.

15 MJG, April 10, 1835; MJG, July 6, 1835; MJG, August 22, 1835; MJG, February 13, 1836, and in many other places of his journal.

16 KL, 2; Berichte der Leopoldinen—Stiflung im Kaiserthume Oesterreich (cited hereafter as Berichte), Heft I (1831); Heft II (1831) and Heft III (1832).

17 KL, 2; RABP, N, Berger Papers, Laad to Berger, Kotoun, April 11, 1872.

18 KL, 2. MJG and MJF have many entries concerning the resolution and how it was carried out.

19 KL, 2; MJG, February 20, 1836; MJG, March 2, 4, 14, 1836.

20 KL, 2-3; MJG, June 9, 19, 20, 22, 26, 1836; Berichte, Heft X (1837), 52-55, Neumann to Dean [Endres], New York, June 27, 1836.

21 MJG, Feast of SS. Peter and Paul (June 29), 1836; MJG, July 5, 1836.

22 MJG, July 13, 1836.

23 KL, 3; Curley, op. cit., 64-78; Berger, op. cit., 152-202; RABP, N, Berger Papers, Theodore Noethen's MS "Aus dem Leben des Hochwurdigsten Herrn Bischofs John N. Neumann"; ibid, George Pax to Berger, Williamsville, February 16, 1872. The various letters of Neumann at this time are cited in Curley, op. cit., 414-16.

24 KL, 3; Joseph Prost, C.SS.R., "Die Geschichte der Gruendung unserer Congregation in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerica vom Jahre 1832 bis zum Anfang des Jahres 1843," in Joseph Wuest, C.SS.R., Annales Congregations SS. Redemptoris Provinciae, Supplementum ad Volumina I, II, III (cited hereafter as Wuest, Suppl.), Part I (Ilchester, Md., 1901), 198.

25 KL, 4; Curley, op. cit., 81-92, 374: "Kirchliche Nachrichten," Beilage zur Sion (Augsburg), 11 Jahr. num. 20 (February 16, 1842), 184.

26 The Redemptorists had two parishes in Baltimore at the time, Saint John's and Saint James'. St. John's was razed, and on it the Church of Saint Alphonsus was being built. The Fathers were shifted to St. James' rectory until the rectory of Saint Alphonsus' church could be completed. At the same time a new novitiate was being built at St. James'; Budweis Diocesan Archives, Rodler Papers, Neumann to his parents, Baltimore, October 12, 1842; Berichte, Heft XVII (1844), Neumann to the Archbishop of Vienna, Baltimore, December 6, 1843.

27 Berger, op. cit., 235-57; Bernard Beck, C.SS.R., Goldenes Jubilaum des Wirkens der Redemptoristenvater an der St. Philomena Kirche in Pittsburg und Umgegend (Pittsburgh, 1889), 150-64; Henry Borgmann, C.SS.R., History of the Redemptorist at Annapolis, Md., from 1853 to 1903 (Ilchester, Md„ 1904), 217.

28 RABP, N, Pittsburgh Years, Peter Chackert (Czackert), C.SS.R., to Joseph Muller, C.SS.R., Baltimore, January 19, 1847.

29 Curley, op. cit., 121-53.

30 Bernard Hafkenscheid, C.SS.R., "Actes authentiques concernant le Vice-Provincialat de la Congregation du tres- Saint Redempteur dans les Etats Unis," in Wuest, Suppl. II, 26; Budweis Diocesan Archives, Rodler Papers, Neumann to his father and sisters, Baltimore, June 10, 1851; ibid., Neumann to his father and relatives, Baltimore, September 10, 1851.

31 Spicilegium Historicum Congregationis SSmi Redemptoris, XI (1963), 322-48, has printed the pertinent Roman documents concerning the selection of Neumann as bishop.

32 Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome (cited hereafter as APF), Scritture riferite nei congressi, America Centrale dal Canada all' istmo di Panama (cited hereafter as SRC, America Centrale), XVII (1855), fols. 43r-113v, "Relazione completa remissa da Mons. Bedini all' Emo. Sig. Cardinale Prefetto dello stato di quella vaste regioni nell' anno 1855." See James F. Connelly, The Visit of Archbishop Gaetano Bedini to the United States of America: June 1853-February 1854 (Rome, 1960), 234-55, where the phrase of Bedini, "meschinita di persona e neglegenza di modi," is, I believe, erroneously translated as "lack of personality and his neglect of proper manners." There is a variety of opinions concerning the translation of certain words, but I think the phrase would be rendered better in English by the words "unimpressive appearance and neglect of the fashion." Neumann's small size made him unimpressive to one meeting him for the first time. Moreover, his wide-ranging trips to the country districts did not always allow him to dress in the style of the desk executive, but he always had good manners. See Curley, op. cit., 284-85, 363.

33 APF, SRC, America Centrale, XVI (1852-1854), fols. 852r-857v, "Relatio Status Ecclesiae Philadelphiensis in Foederatis Americae Septentrionalis Statibus. A.D. MDCCCLIV." The report was dated December 16, 1854.

34 Philadelphia Archdiocesan Archives, Saint Charles' Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, has the MS Visitation Record of Blessed Bishop Neumann. A printed copy of it is in Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, XLI (1930), 1-26, 162-92. See Curley, op. cit., 218.

35 Philadelphia Catholic Herald and Visitor, May 2, 1857, p. 138.

36 Curley, op. cit., 219-20, 517-18.

37 Ibid., 207-11; ibid., 261, 264, 355-56.

38 APF, Udienze di Nostro Signore, 1855, Seconde Parte, CXXII (1856), fols. 1834-1835, Neumann to "Most Reverend and Illustrious Monsignor" [Barnabo], Philadelphia, June 4, 1855; APF, Acta Sacrae Congregation is (cited hereafter as Acta), CCXX (1856), fols. 440r-441r, Neumann to the Cardinal Prefect (James Franzoni), Philadelphia, May 28, 1855; APF, SRC, America Centrale, XVIII (1858-1860), fols. 386rv, Neumann to Barnabo, n.p., n.d. See Curley, op. cit., 470, n.79.

39 APF, Acta, CCXX (1856), fols. 441r-442r, F. P. Kenrick to the Cardinal Prefect, Baltimore, July 4, 1855; APF, SRC, America Centrale, XVIII (1858-1860), fol. 339, F. P. Kenrick to Barnabo, Baltimore, October 4, 1858; ibid., fol. 971r, F. P. Kenrick to Propaganda, Baltimore, September 1, 1859.

Archbishop Anthony Blanc of New Orleans also wrote against changing Neumann from Philadelphia, pointing out his sanctity and apostolic work, APF. Scritture riferite nelle Congregazioni Generali, 983, fols. 668rv, Blanc to Barnabo, New Orleans, June 7, 1858. Similarly, the Archbishop of San Francisco wrote that Neumann should not be transferred from Philadelphia where he was shining by his learning and piety, ibid., fols. 666r-667r, Joseph Alemany to Barnabo, Downieville, Upper California, July 15, 1858.

40 Berger, op. cit., 381-98; Curley, op. cit., 395-96.

41 Funeral Obsequies of Rt. Rev. Nep. Neumann, 9.

42 John N. Berger, C.SS.R., Life of Right Reverend John N. Neumann (trans. by Eugene Grimm, C.SS.R. [Philadelphia, 1884]), 432-33.

This item 2740 digitally provided courtesy of