St. John Neumann was born in 1811 in Bohemia to Philip, who was German and owned a stocking factory, and Agnes Neumann who was Czech. John was a small and quiet boy with four sisters and a brother, and was named after Saint John Nepomucene. An excellent student, John early felt drawn to religious life. As a seminarian at Budweis, Bohemia, he studied astronomy and botany in addition to theological topics. He studied theology at Charles Ferdinand University at Prague in 1833.
John Neumann’s ordination was delayed by the Austrian government so he began work with the North American mission in New York in 1836. After being ordained he was sent to minister to the German speaking immigrants who were clearing the forests by Niagara Falls. John was a traveling missionary on the East Coast, then a parish priest in Baltimore. He was consecrated Bishop of Philadelphia in 1852 and was responsible for the building of 100 churches and 80 schools. He also wrote two catechisms and many newspaper articles. He prescribed Forty Hour devotions (Eucharistic Adoration).
John Neumann died in Philadelphia at the age of 49 in 1860. He was declared a Saint in 1977.
O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times, painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.May death still find us on the sure road to our Father’s House with the light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.