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Ven. John Nepomucene Neumann
Indefatigable in the cause of education, both ecclesiastical and secular, he raised the standard of study and discipline at the diocesan seminary of St. Charles Borromeo, and founded (1859) an ecclesiastical preparatory college, to this day a credit and a blessing to the great diocese of Philadelphia. One of his first acts was to provide Catholic schools. At his consecration (1852) there were but two parochial schools in Philadelphia; at his death eight years later, their number was nearly one hundred. The boys he entrusted to the Christian Brothers, and the girls to different sisterhoods: St. Joseph, Charity, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Notre Dame of Namur and Notre Dame of Munich. These last he helped to establish firmly in the United States, and befriended in many ways. He introduced the Sisters of the Holy Cross from France to take charge of an industrial school. At the advice of Pius IX he founded the Philadelphia branch of the Sisters of St. Francis, and he was also the staunch friend of the Colored Oblate Sisters in Baltimore, whom by his tact and charity he saved from dissolution. In five years he erected fifty churches and completed the exterior of the cathedral. Conspicuous at the First Plenary Council of Baltimore (1852), he was one of the American bishops invited by Pius IX to Rome in 1854 for the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Noted for his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, Neumann was the first American bishop to introduce the Forty Hours devotion into his diocese in 1853; he also inaugurated the practice now in vogue in many places of reciting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin and the Rosary before High Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. His remains lie interred in a vault before the altar in the lower chapel of St. Peter's Redemptorist church, Philadelphia. Neumann left no published works except two catechisms of Christian Doctrine, which received the approbation of the First Plenary Council of Baltimore, a Bible history, confraternity manuals, a Latin pamphlet on the Forty Hours, and Acts of the synods held by him every two years. His pastoral letters are remarkable for their solidity, beauty, and unction. On December 15, 1896, he received the title of Venerable and the authorities of Rome have under consideration the acts of the Process of Beatification.
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