Bp. Baraga’s cause for beatification takes another step

From CNA:

Sainthood cause of ‘snowshoe priest’ heads to Vatican

Marquette, Mich., Jul 28, 2010 / 03:27 am (CNA).- Following a four-month investigation, the Diocese of Marquette has closed its inquiry into an alleged miracle attributed to its first bishop, Servant of God Frederic Baraga, who is known as the “snowshoe priest.” The inquiry now proceeds to the Vatican for further consideration.

The alleged miracle concerns a reputed tumor found on a patient’s liver in various diagnostic tests. The patient, the patient’s family and their parish priest prayed for healing through the intercession of Bishop Baraga. Bishop Baraga’s stole was also placed on the patient’s abdomen, after which the patient’s pain ceased.

An exploratory surgery by doctors found no tumor, according to the diocese.

Bishop Baraga was born in Slovenia in 1797. He came to the United States in 1830 as a missionary to the Odawa and Ojibwa tribes of the upper Great Lakes region, traveling through the vast territory by canoe, boat, horse, snowshoes and dog sled. His Ojibwa-English dictionary is still in use today.

Consecrated a bishop in 1853, he served as the Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, which would later be called the Diocese of Marquette. He died in 1868. The Bishop Baraga Association was established in 1930 to promote his cause for sainthood, which was officially opened in 1952.

The tribunal investigating the bishop’s alleged miracle collected medical documentation and interviewed witnesses, including doctors and medical personnel involved in the treatment.

The diocesan inquiry closed with a July 17 ceremony at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. Members of the canonical tribunal which examined the possible miracle signed papers attesting to their work and verifying the authenticity of the documents.

Further inquiry at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints will examine the tribunal’s work,  determine whether the event cannot be explained by science and whether it could be attributed to the intercession of Bishop Baraga. After reviewing a document detailing the bishop’s life and virtues, the congregation will then advise Pope Benedict about the cause.

The Pope will decide whether to bestow the title “Venerable” on Bishop Baraga, the Diocese of Marquette reports. If the miracle is verified and attributed to the bishop, the Pope will decide whether to beatify him. Another recognized miracle would be necessary for Bishop Baraga’s canonization.

The postulator of Bishop Baraga’s cause is Dr. Andrea Ambrosi of Rome.

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  1. teomatteo says:

    Anyone who leaves the comfort of a european village to spend a life ministering to the native people in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan is a saint in my book. That 60in. of snow in the winter and the ‘swamps of hades’ in the summer!…pray for us…

  2. Luke says:

    I have a friend who mentioned Bishop Baraga just two weeks ago. Apparently he would not only travel by canoe to minister to the Indian people but would do so in the most treacherous of conditions–never being harmed by those conditions. His life is a very interesting one. There is a priest in Sauk Rapids who wrote a book on Bishop Baraga’s first years in Michigan territory. It comes highly recommended: Frederic Baraga’s Short History of the North American Indian. It’s edited by Father Graham McDonald.

  3. Allan S. says:

    One of my current medical issues is making sure my cancer does not metastasize to the liver, so I hope it’s OK that I not wait and begin prayer for the good Bishop’s intercession now.

    This blog is always so value-added to my day!

  4. Lessee… Baraga arrived in the US in NYC, ministered in Cincinnati (and was eventually consecrated a bishop there), and worked in present day Michigan (particularly the UP, but also points south), Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the bits of Canada bordering Lake Superior. For large chunks of that time, he was the only priest for hundreds of miles — so he walked hundreds of miles to serve his flock.

    He wrote the first Chippewa (Ojibwa) dictionary, 19 other books in Chippewa or Ottawa, and a good few books in Slovenian too. I can’t imagine when he slept!

    Caritas Veritas covered the sendoff for the documentation.

    BishopBaraga.org is the folks working on his cause, along with the Marquette diocesan webpage.

    Here’s a prayer from the folks in Marquette:

    O Bishop Baraga, because of your great desire to live a life of total commitment to Jesus Christ the Lord, you dedicated yourself completely to missionary activity to make God known, loved, and served by the people whom you loved and served. Obtain for me, too, a complete dedication of myself to the Lord. Help me to be more concerned for those in need.

    As a man of peace, a man of love, you brought peace and love wherever you traveled. Teach me to share peace and love with all people. Pray for me that the spirit of prayer which was intimately part of your life may also be as deeply a part of mine. Help me to accept the hardships of life as willingly as you did, as a part of my dying to myself that I may rise with Christ in glory.

    Intercede for me with the Lord that He may grant me the graces and favors for which I pray.

  5. Eric says:

    Sorry if I missed it but was this guy a Jesuit?

  6. jaykay says:

    Eric: no, apparently he wasn’t a Jesuit according to the quick Google I just did.

    Allan S: prayers for your health on the way

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thanks to Luke for the ‘further reading’ recommendation: I clicked the ‘Comments’ hoping to ask if anyone knew any such thing!

    Dear Luke and Suburbanbanshee (or other knowledgable readers),

    Where(else)can we learn more about his books in Chippewa and Ottawa?

    I have been (ignorantly) delighted, one way and another, to run into recordings (including a filmed Smithsonian concert officially posted on You Tube) of historical devotional works written in, or translated into, various North and South American Amerind languages.

    Might Bishop Baraga have contributed something in this line, too? Or written or translated texts that might aptly be set to music?

  8. Archive.org has the following books by Baraga:

    Several editions of the Chippewa dictionary (called Ochipwe in the title).

    Gete Dibadjimowin: Bible extracts, life of Christ, epistles, Gospels, and hymns in Chippewa.

    Sermons in Chippewa

    Dushna pasha: prayerbook in Slovenian

    Slate Jebelka in Slovenian (with S that looks like f)

    Geschichte… — anthro essay for missionaries, in German.

    All Baraga books listed in Google Books

  9. ray from mn says:

    Wikipedia: ” One day in 1846, Father Baraga, learning of a possible epidemic among the Ojibwe in Grand Portage [Minnesota], set out from Madeline Island in a small boat with an Ojibwe guide. A terrible storm arose, but they were blown over a sandbar and into the quiet mouth of the Cross River, where the town of Schroeder [Minnesota] is today. In thanksgiving, they erected a small wooden cross at the site, later replaced by a granite one. . . .

    The Cross River is at Mile Marker 78, or 78 miles from Duluth’s Canal Park. It’s five miles south of Tofte.”

  10. Of course, not even a possible saint can do a good job at everything. If you scroll down, there’s a little constructive criticism from a book by a former parishioner.

    This is the sort of stuff that makes for really good history — seeing events from many different points of view.

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