A miracle through Bishop Baraga?

I believe my friend, now Bishop of Marquette, H.E. Most Rev. Alexander Sample was once the postulator for the cause of Bishop Baraga, but that would have been many years ago.  The cause has moved along.  I believe the positio super virtutibus was already dealt with at the Congregation, but Bp. of Baraga, Servant of God, is not yet "Venerable".

There is now news from Marquette about a possible miracle.

this is from CNA:

Michigan diocese investigates miracle attributed to former bishop

Marquette, Mich., Mar 11, 2010 / 08:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Diocese of Marquette is investigating an possible miracle attributed to Servant of God, Bishop Frederic Baraga. The official inquiry will move the cause for Bishop Baraga’s canonization forward, which was opened for the prelate in 1952.

In press conference on Wednesday, the current Bishop of Marquette, Alexander K. Sample, announced the recent development, saying, “Since my first days as a seminarian studying for the priesthood, I have had great devotion to Bishop Baraga.”

“As his eleventh successor, I am thrilled at the prospect of a miracle that will advance his cause. With all the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of the diocese, I give thanks to God for his, holy, priestly, example,” he added. 

Father Ronald Browne, who has been appointed to lead the work of the canonical tribunal, explained the story behind the alleged miracle. “We have a case involving what was thought to be a tumor on a patient’s liver that showed up on various tests, including a CT scan and an ultrasound. However, when exploratory surgery was done, there was no tumor to be found,” Fr. Browne said.

The Diocese of Marquette reported that while in the Upper Peninsula, the patient and the patient’s family invoked the intercession of Bishop Baraga and placed his stole on the sick person’s abdomen. Following the prayers, the patient said that the pain in the abdominal area went away.

The diocese explained that in order for the event to be considered as a miracle, it needs to be affirmed as something that science cannot explain and be attributable to the intercession of the candidate for sainthood.

Once the tribunal has investigated the event – the process is scheduled to begin on March 12 – two physicians must testify regarding the physical condition of the patient before and after the event. After the alleged miracle has been verified, documentation will be sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican, who will then submit the cause to Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father will then determine whether or not Bishop Baraga will be beatified.

If the miracle is recognized as authentic, the diocese will need to verify one more miracle in order for the Michigan bishop to be declared a saint.

Bishop Baraga was born in 1797 in Slovenia, and come to the United States as a missionary to the upper Great Lakes region in 1830. Ministering to the Odawa and Ojibwa Native American tribes, the bishop is said to have traveled throughout the 80,000 square mile territory by means of boat, canoe, horse, dog sled and even snowshoe. Often called the “Snowshoe Priest,” he was consecrated a bishop in 1853 and served until his death in 1868. Bishop Baraga is credited with writing a Ojibwa/English dictionary which is still in use today. 

Bishop Baraga also has ties to my native Minnesota.  On the North Shore of Lake Superior you can visit "Baraga’s Cross".

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  1. kat says:

    That’s good news. I live in lower Michigan, and my husband and I visited Marquette and Bishop Baraga’s church while on our honeymoon. Very memorable place.

  2. Norah says:

    We have a case involving what was thought to be a tumor on a patient’s liver that showed up on various tests, including a CT scan and an ultrasound. However, when exploratory surgery was done, there was no tumor to be found.

    This is exactly what happened to me about 10 years ago. A biopsy confirmed that the mass was not cancer and another scan some years later showed no tumour.

  3. spock says:

    I’ve been near the town of Baraga, MI where there is this huge monument with +Baraga holding a cross. Worth a stop if you have a chance. His tomb is at the Marquette Cathedral. Amazing how people could get anything done up there in the winter time so long ago. His level of fortitude must have been extremely high.

  4. As a weather-weenie who grew up in a part of the country that has no winters (I saw falling snow live and in person for the first time when I was 25), I say a priest who is willing to go to such lengths to spread the Gospel in such conditions deserves a thumbs-up from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Let his cause be advanced in post and in haste!

    By the way, since there are neither rivalries nor jealousies in heaven, I’d like to put in a plug for a highly deserving Jesuit whose cause for sainthood also appears to be stalled at the Servant of God stage: William J. Doyle, S.J., the “Trench Priest” of World War I, who served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was known for his good cheer, his sense of humor, his zeal for souls and his prodigious energy; apparently, no one besides his confessor and his superiors could have guessed at the frightful penances he practiced. These penances must have been a training for his service on the horrific Western Front, where he distinguished himself by his awesome courage and his utter disregard for his own safety in ministering to his “boys.” He was killed by a shell at the Battle of Ypres in August 1917. He wrote a very successful book on vocations, which is still in print. An excellent biography of Fr. Doyle is available online in text and PDF format, that contains lengthy excerpts from his spiritual writings (which he never intended to be published), as well as his haunting accounts of life at the front. He had a great devotion to the Cure of Ars, and to Therese of Lisieux, though he did not live even to see her declared venerable. It is said that numerous favors have been attributed to his intercession.

  5. Gabriella says:

    You know, Fr., while you were writing this I was watching a program on the Statue of Our Lady of Civitavecchia that cries blood – an event which science cannot explain. There has been another miracle there recently and the bishop of Civitavecchia is vouching for its authenticity.

    I often ask myself why are we all so skeptic? The miracle of the sun at Fatima was enough to convert atheists galore … and yet …

  6. Justin from Ohio says:

    As an American of Slovenian myself I have long had an interest and devotion to Bishop Baraga. It’s good to see his cause moving forward.

    I don’t know if a book has ever been written chronicling all the missionary priests who traveled on difficult journeys through the American heartland (Midwest/Plains), but there should be, as this group includes Baraga, as well as folks like Fr. Marquette, S.J. and others.

  7. Nan says:


    You know that we Slovenes are hardy and stubborn or we’d not have kept our own identity and language when subject to other rule for 500 years.

    Bishop Baraga crossed Lake Superior with a guide when he heard there was a possible epidemic at Grand Portage. A storm came up and blew their small boat across a sand bar into the mouth of the Cross river, where they erected a cross in thanksgiving. The original cross was wood and has since been replaced with granite. I stopped there on my way home from a wedding that had been on the north shore (yes, literally, it was on the beach).

    MN owes so much to our missionary priests but we take them for granted. Frs Galtier, Marquette, Hennepin, etc. endured a lot. Fr. Galtier’s church is the oldest in MN.

  8. bookworm says:

    “I don’t know if a book has ever been written chronicling all the missionary priests who traveled on difficult journeys through the American heartland”

    Ever heard of “The Jesuit Relations”? These were journals of the French Jesuit explorations of the New World, published periodically over 200 years, and translated into English in the early 20th century. Amazon and other outlets sell the English translation. They include letters and personal accounts from Isaac Jogues and the other North American Martyrs, from Pere Marquette, and others.

    Of course it doesn’t cover the missionaries of other orders or those from other countries such as Spain — and it wouldn’t include Bp. Baraga — but it’s probably the closest publication there is to what Justin is looking for.

  9. relee54 says:

    You can read Bishop Baraga’s story in his own words, thanks to a reprint of his personal diary, published by Wayne State University Press:


    As noted above, the Jesuit Relations are a great read of the stories of the saints and martyrs who displayed extraordinary faith and courage as they brought Catholicism to our continent.

    You can find a the entire text of the Jesuit relations online at:

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