The grand old Denver neighborhoods where Julia Greeley walked 100 years ago came alive Sunday, Feb. 21, during a packed bus tour led by Julia’s biographer, Fr. Blaine Burkey O.F.M.Cap.
The tour visited Sacred Heart Church, where Julia worshiped, and passed by the grand old homes where Julia worked. (The accompanying photo is Fr Blaine addressing the crowd at Julia's old rooming house -- now a modern office building.) Her grave at Mount Olivet Cemetery is on the tour list of prominent people who are buried there, including socialite Baby Doe Tabor, Astronaut Jack Swigert and Julia’s mean spirited former boss -- William Gilpin, territorial governor. (Good-natured Julia would have gotten a kick out of the “company” she would keep at her final resting place.)
The tour began on a high note and the bus crowd broke out in applause to learn that one of their fellow riders was Virginia Haddad, who traveled from her home in southern California just to be on the tour. Virginia has a unique connection to Julia --- in the one and only photo we have of Julia Greeley, the toddler whom Julia is cradling is none other than ....... Virginia’s Aunt Marjorie! (See the accompanying post for the photo of Virginia holding the iconic photo of Julia who is holding her aunt.)
Clearly, a century after her death, Julia Greeley’s popularity is building momentum. The interest over her life is intense, and more and more people are voicing the hope that someday, perhaps, Julia’s “cause for sainthood” will be introduced in Rome. Even now, before that happens, people are responding to Julia’s struggles as a lame and half-blind former slave who triumphed over the evil done to her, and who turned around to create a life of heroic goodness and compassion toward others.
For details on how to buy Fr Blaine’s absorbing and meticulously researched biography of Julia, “In Secret Service of the Sacred Heart,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org