September - Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos
National Shrine of
In the Redemptorist Church
of Saint Mary’s Assumption
919 Josephine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Bavarian Ambassador of Christ
Father Miller, believers in Füssen have a strong bond
with Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. But beyond his
birthplace there are still many who do not know much
about his charisma. Things seem to be different in
New Orleans, where you even have a Seelos Center and
where so many seek the intercession of Blessed Francis
Xavier Seelos. What does Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos
mean to believers in your country and what is the inner
reason for that popularity?
Francis Xavier Seelos has captivated the hearts of so many
in America. His life and example readily demonstrate how
love of God and neighbor, how compassion and goodwill, how
tolerance and adaptability, can be brought to perfection in
all of us. His remarkable willingness
to leave his beloved homeland and
come to America to minister to
German immigrants in need, and his
willingness to come to New Orleans
when he knew the dangers of yellow
fever, reveal a man who lived a rather
ordinary life, but with extraordinary
faith and trust in God. I believe
it is that ordinary/extraordinary
quality that makes Father Seelos
appealing to others. I say this in
all sincerity: In this native son,
Bavaria has produced one of the
finest examples of what it means
to be “an ambassador of Christ.”
In addition to Seelos‘ personal
charisma, there are recorded
first-hand accounts of people who
attribute healings of various kinds
through his prayers and blessings
while he was alive, and there are countless testimonials
that likewise attribute his powerful intercessory prayers
in heaven in the almost 150 years after his death.
What is the (New) Seelos Center like? How do you
preserve and treasure the memory of Blessed Francis
Xavier Seelos and spread his message in our modern time?
A Redemptorist confrere, Fr. Benedict Neithart, C.Ss.R.,
who lived with Father Seelos said, “He knew no distinction
of condition. He received [the lowly] with the same gentle
deference as the highest gentleman and lady.” The Seelos
Welcome Center aims to reflect the inviting hospitality
that Father Seelos himself provided, and the hospitality
that is identified with the southern part of the United
States. First and foremost, it is hoped that pilgrims far
and wide who visit the Seelos Shrine find an environment
that is conducive to a prayerful and meaningful experience
with God. If a relationship with God is deepened in some
way by having visited the Seelos Shrine, then our mission
in ministry is accomplished! That mission is enhanced when
visitors spend time in the presence of Father Seelos‘s
sacred remains, when they view various artifacts that
relate to him, and when we offer prayers and sacraments
to those in need.
What does Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos mean to you
personally and how does he inspire you?
Promoting the Cause of Blessed
Seelos, and my involvement in
ministry at the Seelos Shrine, has
been the most rewarding apostolic
work that I have ever done. My
family received the monthly
Father Seelos newsletter in our
home when I was a child growing
up in Louisiana. I have known
the name “Francis Xavier Seelos”
practically from the time that
I could read and write! Of course,
little did I know then that I would
be a member of the same Redemptorist
Congregation to which Father Seelos belonged,
much less be called to this special ministry at the
time of his beatification!
In so many ways, Father Seelos was ahead of his time:
He was gentle and understanding in the confessional; he
was refreshingly humorous and good-natured in the pulpit
and elsewhere; he was pious and demanding of himself in
spiritual matters, but compassionate toward those who
appeared lacking in this regard; and he was most forgiving
of others—in particular, some of his own Redemptorist
confreres—who misunderstood him and created major
challenges for him. As a priest and a Redemptorist, I derive
tremendous inspiration from Francis Xavier Seelos for
these reasons, even though I often fail where he excelled.
Edited excerpt from “Seelos-Verehrung in Amerika,”
Katholische SonntagsZeitung , the Catholic newspaper for
Augsburg, Germany, May 15, 2011. Interviewer: Susanne
Loreck. Reprinted with permission.
message from father terry m c closkey, c.ss.r.
I arrived in New Orleans in August, 2011. I was
assigned to St. Alphonsus Parish to be an Associate
Pastor and to help part-time at the Seelos Center.
I had never been to the Seelos Center before. I
had been somewhat familiar with Father Seelos,
especially after reading the biography entitled,
Cheerful Ascetic . Just the title of the book was
enough to stir up my curiosity, and the more I read,
the more I realized how that title really captured the
life and spirit of Father Seelos. Just to see the pictures or statues that
portray him today, you see a smiling figure who must have been a holy man.
What I found especially attractive was the fact that for a number
of years Father Seelos had been assigned to the formation of future
Redemptorists. The early years of my own priesthood were spent in a similar
assignment, and I can only hope that I was faithfully following the example
and dedication that Father Seelos brought to this important ministry.
It didn’t take very long, after arriving in New Orleans, to appreciate the
impact and the legacy that Father Seelos had brought to this thriving and
growing Catholic population. He only lived here for a little more than a
year, but during that time he endeared himself to so many people through
his preaching, his kindness in the confessional, and in particular to his
dedication to the sick, especially those who were infected during the
yellow fever epidemic, the same sickness that eventually took his own life.
The Seelos Center is blessed with a wonderfully dedicated staff,
and a host of very generous volunteers, many of whom have their own
personal stories of how Father Seelos has touched their lives. Every
day visitors come to pray at the Seelos Shrine, and they come from
all parts of the country. I have seen cars with license plates from
Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Colorado, Minnesota, just to name a few.
Some of these pilgrims come to ask for Father Seelos’s intercession for
healing of cancer or some other health-related illness. Many of them come
back to give thanks to Father Seelos for the help or the healing they have
received. Three times every year the Seelos Center celebrates a Mass in
St. Mary’s Assumption Church, where Father Seelos was once the Pastor, and
where he was buried. The church is usually filled to capacity at those Masses.
Yes, the miracles continue to happen here. There are as many as 50,000 people
who visit the Seelos Shrine annually. Some come out of curiosity, others
come with the hope of having their prayers answered, many come to give
thanks. While we all await the next miracle that will declare Father Seelos
a saint, for now we lovingly venerate “Blessed” Francis Seelos, and, indeed,
we too are “blessed” to have him as a friend and a powerful intercesso r.
May he enable each one of us to also be cheerful ascetics!
[In August 2012, Fr. McCloskey was transferred to the Redemptorist Community
in Denver, CO — Editor]
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED!
Seelos Memorial Mass
Sunday, October 7, 2012
St. Mary’s Assumption Church
(corner of Josephine & Constance)
Homilist & Presider:
Rev. Paul Yi
Diocese of Baton Rouge
Seelos Gala Dinner
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Audubon Tea Room
6500 Magazine Street
Gala reservations by Monday, Oct. 8
Seelos Center Services
Pilgrimages to Seelos Shrine &
Museum. Call Center: 504-525-2495,
Open Mon-Fri, 9 to 3; Sat, 10 to 3:30.
Daily Prayer Message 504-586-1803
Blessings of the Sick with a Seelos
Crucifix in designated area hospitals:
Teresa LaCour: 504-887-0214
Mark/Monica Surprenant 504-895-5371
Elmo & Gwen Miller:
Mary Grace Orsag:
Boniface ‘Boni’ Suire: 337-937-5675
Gloria Bacque: 225-753-3800
Dr. Ann Logarbo:
Dan Montz, L.P.C.:
Billy Bachemin: 985-288-7006
Lafayette/New Iberia/Morgan City
Fred Roy: 337-380-0646
David Brumfield: 985-886-9235
Lisa & Eric Johnsen
MS Gulf Coast
Gail Garay (Pearl River)985-863-7562
Rachel Gonsoulin: 337-224-7855
Cannon-Pulver Family: 601-928-9777
M/M Claude Bourgeois 225-673-6688
Tom & Marjorie Rivers: 318-797-3116
Carmelie Mancuso: 985-502-7325
Mary Jo Stewart:
Patricia Noote: 504-756-4163
DID YOU KNOW?
Seelos Center Devotionals
In 2009, a Vatican decree established
the October 5th celebration of Bl.
Seelos as an obligatory memorial in the
New Orleans Archdiocese & an optional
memorial in each of the dioceses of
the New Orleans Province. An appeal
for an optional Seelos memorial
throughout the U.S. is pending approval.
Cheerful Ascetic, 480-pg. hardbound biography by Fr. M.Curley that
captures Seelos’ piety & personality;
index/photos (Donation: $30, incl.p/h)
Garabandal Journal features cover
story by Mark Regis on “Blessed
Francis Seelos, Powerful Intercessor” in the Sept/Oct 2003 issue.
(Donation: $7, incl. p/h).
above & beYOnd
Seelos Novena: 32-page deluxe
booklet with sturdy cover; specify
English, Spanish, or Vietnamese
(Donation: $3.50, incl. p/h)
Seelos Wooden Bracelet with
Color Images is 3-1/4” wide x 3/4”
tall before expansion. Depicts various images of our Blessed Mother &
Bl. Seelos at the Shrine. (Donation:
$13, incl. p/h)
Seelos Holy Water Bottle: Empty
holy water bottle with Seelos imprint.
(Donation: $6, incl. p/h)
Seelos Ceramic Plaque: Handmade
ceramic plaque of Bl. Seelos made by
Benedictine monks at St. Andrew’s
Abbey in California. Measures approx.
10” x 4” (Donation: $40, incl. p/h)
St. Mary’s Assumption/Seelos
Shrine Ceramic Plaque: Handcrafted piece by New Orleans artist
Amanda Sierra. Measures approx.
6” x 8.5” (Donation: $45, incl. p/h)
Praying the Seven Sorrows of
Mary with St. Alphonsus CD by Fr.
Pablo Straub, Redemptorist missionary & EWTN personality. (Donation:
$22, incl. p/h)
The Way of the Cross CD: Narrated
by Liam Neeson. Prayers & Music by
St. Alphonsus Liguori. (Donation: $22,
A Seelos Vigil Candle will burn near his
sacred resting place in Seelos Shrine, New
Orleans, for an offering of $4.
2nd & 3rd-Class Relics/ Seelos
Pamphlets & Prayer Cards in English, Spanish, Vietnamese. Call Seelos Center, 504-5252495 or 2499.
Please allow up to 2 weeks for delivery.
Francis Seelos was
the sixth of twelve
children. Of the
nine who survived,
single, and three
life. Francis joined
one of his sisters
became a Sister
of Charity, and
another, a School
Sister of Notre
Dame. His younger
brother, Adam (b. 1828), had five
children. One of the descendants
from this family is Ambros Seelos
(b. 1935), a well-known German
musician, composer, and conductor. He
and his orchestra produced numerous
Big Band albums and songs from the
1960s through the 2000s. On July
16, 2012, the two sons of Ambros
and Margit Seelos—Maximilian (top
photo) & Ambros Jr. (bottom)—
visited the Seelos Shrine to pay
respects to their saintly ancestor.
Thank you very much for your kind
help during our “Tour of Five,” five
people & five Catholic churches.
The ladies at the Seelos Welcome
Center went above and beyond to
assist us. The shrine of Fr. Seelos
is amazing in its scope and it is truly
inspirational! It certainly brought a
taste of heaven to us!— Lafayette, LA
SHRINE ASHRINE AWARDS
SCHOLARSHIPS TO area STUDENTS
2012 8th Grade
EMILY T. NAUCK (Metairie, LA)
Dominican High School
TIA N. CARTER (New Orleans)
Cabrini High School
KRISTYN H. MURRAY
(Belle Chasse, LA)
Cabrini High School
KARLIE N. LEWIS (Montz, LA)
Archbishop Chapelle High School
2012 High School Senior
NICHOLAS J. SMELTZ (New Orleans)
Spring Hill College
(pictured with parents,
Jan & Victor Smeltz)
My wife was very ill with pneumonia.
Her oxygen level was at 52%. She was
very dependent on a ventilator and was
medically induced in a coma for 6 days.
She was transferred from a regional
hospital in Morgan City to one in New
Orleans via Air-Med. Returning from New
Orleans one afternoon, I went to Russo’s
Landing just outside Morgan City, for some
quiet time. From a far distance, I could
see a tugboat towing some barges. As it
came into view, with utter amazement, the
boat was named “Father Seelos.” What
peace! Upon my return to New Orleans
that afternoon, I stopped by the hospital
Adoration Chapel. There I was asked if
my wife had been blessed and was told to
contact the Seelos Center! She is doing
very well today. No doubt, Father Seelos
was with her during her recovery.
I am writing to let you know of prayers
answered through Fr. Seelos’s intercession.
My brother was diagnosed with colon
cancer in March. It was discovered that
his bladder might have been infected or
intruding the surgery area of his colon—so
the procedure was stopped at that time.
Doctors performed surgery again in June,
and to their surprise, the bladder was
disconnected from the other organ infected
with cancer, giving the surgeon direct
access to the infected area. They were
fearful that the bladder needed removal,
to leave my brother with a permanent bag
on his abdomen. During the time from
March through June, I prayed diligently
to Fr. Seelos, as did my brother himself.
I’ve always had a very special devotion
to Bl. Seelos. Two weeks ago I had major
surgery for a tumor in my large intestine.
The tumor was cancerous, but it did not
spread to the lymph nodes. Every day I pray
to him to protect my children and grandchildren. I have total faith in his prayers.
I’m ten years old. A year-and-a-half ago
I noticed several warts on my right hand.
My classmates were teasing me. After
several treatments by a dermatologist
which included acid, freezing, laser,
topical treatments, we didn’t see much
progress. My grandmother gave me a [3rd
class] relic of Father Seelos. Each night
I taped it on my hand and prayed for his
intercession. After a short time they were
much smaller. Suddenly, they disappeared
completely. My mother took me for a
check-up and the dermatologist couldn’t
believe they were gone. I told her I prayed
to Bl. Fr. Seelos and I continue to do so.
bel air, md
My wife & children gave me a gift of a
Seelos first class relic. Immediately upon
receiving it, I felt a very special kinship to
Bl. Seelos. Given my love for the saints
I figured I was blessed to have another
friend in heaven. This was different. My
relationship with Bl. Seelos became much
more intense. I found myself praying to
him not unlike one would talk to a friend
or brother! I found myself at days end
saying to him, “Bl. Seelos, I love you, be
my saint.” While holding his relic very
close to my heart, I still say these words to
this day. Three months ago, I was in the
hospital with many of my internal organs
compromised; my pancreatic enzymes
were “off the scale,” and something was
“banging on my pancreas.” Even though I
did not have the symptoms of pancreititis, I
went right away to my friend Fr. Seelos. He
did not let me down. He kept me looking to
Christ for the strength necessary to handle
a situation like this. I looked to the Cross
for strength, and to the Blessed for peace.
After blood work with my internal medicine
doctor, not only is my pancreas normal, but
so are all the organs in my abdomen! “Bl.
Seelos, I love you, be my saint!”
grand prairie, tx
Seelos Center News
A monthly newsletter for friends of
BL. FRANCIS X. SEELOS
Denver Provincial Superior:
Very Rev. Harry Grile, C.Ss.R.
Seelos Center Executive Director / Editor:
Rev. Byron Miller, C.Ss.R.
Seelos Center Administrators: Joyce Bourgeois,
Jackie Milan, Nick Punch
Vice-Postulators: Frs. John Vargas & Byron Miller
Seelos Center News (USPS 4472) published monthly
by the Redemptorists / National Shrine of Bl. F.X. Seelos
Subscription is $12 per year.
My younger son was diagnosed with
leukemia one week after we lost everything
to Hurricane Katrina. In the course of
his 3-1/2 years of chemotherapy, we
took him to the shrine to be blessed with
Fr. Seelos’s cross, while we prayed for
him. He continues to be in remission
and is currently healthy. Thanks, Fr.
Seelos, for watching over my son.
PLEASE VISIT WWW.SEELOS.ORG AS WE celebrate over 300,000 HITS!
Dear Father Byron: In my own way, I want to support the cause
of Blessed Francis Seelos in gratitude for Graces Received &
Prayers Answered. $_________ to be used for:
the ministry & maintenance at the National Seelos Shrine.
my 1-year newsletter subscription renewal ($12)
Make a Self-Guided Retreat with Bl. Seelos: All 6 for $15, incl. p/h
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