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who is Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos?
Question from gail antonowicz on 8/31/2002:

Who is Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos and how can I learn more about him? Thank You, Gail Antonowicz

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 9/4/2002:

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos (1819-67) was a Redemptorist priest, a friend and protégé of St. John Neumann, and a missionary in the United States. He was born in Füssen (Bavaria, Germany) to a devout family and entered the seminary in 1842. While in the seminary, he became acquainted with the missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists, especially their work of evangelization among the immigrants in the United States of America. He sailed to the United States in 1843 and was ordained on December 22, 1844 in the Redemptorist Church of St. James in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Soon after ordination, Seelos received a posting to St. Philomena's Parish in Pittsburgh, where he remained for nine years, including serving six with St. John Neumann, who was also the superior of the Redemptorist community. His remarkable spiritual gifts made him immensely sought after for counsel and especially as a confessor, so that people traveled from many neighboring communities for his advice and direction. In 1854, he was transferred from Pittsburgh and served in a number of cities in Maryland, including Baltimore and Annapolis. During the Civil War, he journeyed to Washington in his capacity as a Redemptorist and met personally with Abraham Lincoln to ask him to exempt the Redemptorist seminarians from military service. The president agreed to the request. From 1863 to 1866, Seelos dedicated himself to the life of an itinerant preaching in both English and German throughout the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana, he continued his labors with renowned zeal. The beloved priest contracted Yellow Fever while ministering o the victims of the disease in New Orleans and died on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48. Pope John Paul II beatified Seelos on April 9, 2000. For more information on this blessed priest, you might visit www.seelos.org.

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