A Julia Greeley Renaissance
Julia Greeley, who lived in obscurity for most of her earthly life, today is on drawing attention from Denver to Rome as she is considered for canonization as a saint in the Catholic Church. Here’s what’s been happening “in Julia’s world” just since the first days of summer 2017.
'JULIA GREELEY'S LIFE IS AMAZING" -- AUXILIARY BISHOP JORGE RODRIGUEZ
On June 2, 2017, a Mass was held in Julia's honor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Denver, where she worshiped until her death on June 7, 1918.
As a prelude to the next step in her canonization, on June 7, 2017, Julia's mortal remains will be transferred and placed in a marble tomb in the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.
During the Mass in her honor on June 2 -- attended by a filled church of laity, celebrated by clergy and presided over by Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez of Denver -- the bishop spoke eloquently about Julia's life. Here are excerpts of his remarks:
"One hundred thirty seven years ago Julia Greeley joined the Catholic Church. Some of you are sitting in the pews she sat in ... after Mass, she walked out the same doors we will walk out of tonight. Let us also ask God, as Julia Greeley did, how, when we walk out these doors, we can show Him our love, and how we can serve Him."
"Julia Greeley's life is amazing because her life shines in the middle of a sad cage in human history; she knew the tragedy of slavery, the pain and hurt, yet her whole life was one of service, filled with love. This is in itself a miracle, -- that a woman surrounded by hate did not hate!"
"The universal Church is recognizing that Julia Greeley led a holy life that blossomed in the deep life of Jesus, in her love for the poor and her desire to open all people to Jesus and His love."
"She was holiness shining in the darkness. Miracles are performed by God, but she showed His transfiguring power at work; she is the fruit of Jesus's love. She cooperated with grace and embraced the marvelous work that God was doing in her life."
In the midst of suffering and humiliation she kept herself unstained from hatred. Holiness happens in humble souls, and in doing simple things, as Julia Greeley did: helping the poor in silence, sharing their poverty in the streets of Denver ... and sharing her love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus."
This is what saints do -- they awaken in us the desire to be holy too! Let us ask our sister Julia Greeley, who is in Heaven with the Lord, to inspire us to answer the Lord as she did, so that we also can say, as Peter did, "Lord, you know that I love you!'"
Process begun to exhume Servant of God Julia Greeley's body and transfer to Cathedral
On Friday, May 26, the exhumation of Julia Greeley’s body began at Mt Olivet Cemetery, where she had been laid to rest 99 years ago this June.
The rare event brought a gathering of church leaders, including Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, canon lawyers, medical examiners, and officials sent from Rome to the graveside of Julia Greeley, who was buried there following her death on June 7, 1918.
The exhumation, a delicate procedure which extended over the Memorial Day weekend, is part of the discovery process in the cause to declare Julia a saint in the Catholic Church.
Last December, Rome declared, in effect, that Julia had passed the first “test,” which was that, upon investigation of her life, she was found to be so heroic in her goodness that she is worthy to be emulated by others, and therefore the Church conferred upon her the official name, “Servant of God Julia Greeley.”
Her exhumation marked another unique honor: Julia is entitled to be re-interred in the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver. In fact, Julia is believed to be the first person interred at the Cathedral (even past bishops aren’t buried there, they are buried at Mt Olivet).
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What is Julia's?
Who was Julia?
Julia Greeley was a courageous, faith-filled, single woman who overcame slavery and poverty to become a source of hope to others even less fortunate than she.
“Thank you Julia Greeley, you were a light for me when I could not see the way!’
The words are like Sylvia Bailey herself -- spontaneous, spirited, luminous. Sylvia graduated from the Julia Greeley Home program in 2014, and shortly afterwards spoke at a workshop about her success. The Julia Greeley program had helped her achieve independence. She was in her own apartment and managing her own life.
Now Sylvia had a plan. She wanted to share the light that she had found at Julia's: “I want to volunteer,” she said. “When can I start?”
We were thrilled. Who better to explain Julia’s program than Sylvia? She was charismatic, eloquent and eager. She could explain Julia’s program “from the inside out,” because she believed that her time at Julia’s had revitalized her life journey.
A few weeks after that workshop came devastating news. Sylvia had died suddenly from a burst aneurysm suffered at her home. This vital woman, sparkling as a firecracker, had suddenly been called to eternal life.
Yet Sylvia's story continues to inspire us. She is every woman who is alone, suffering, and without a home, who finally triumphed over her circumstances. More ›
Life didn’t spare Vicki from hardship and homelessness, even though she’s held good jobs, been to college, and stayed free of the addiction trap.
The shattering blow for Vicki was the death of her fiance in the summer of 2012. Suddenly, the sensitive, soft-spoken 54-year-old found herself in a bewildering spiral. The couple had planned to let Vicki finish her college degree while her fiance supported them. But after his death, Vicki was forced to drop out of her adult education classes and abandon plans for a business degree. More ›