Saint Mary’s Celebrates the Beatification of Blessed Brother James Miller

On Thursday, February 13, the Mission and Ministry Center invited all members of our Saint Mary’s community to gather in honor of the first American De La Salle Brother beatified within the Catholic Church. (Beatification is the step in the canonization process of the Catholic Church immediately prior to being named a saint.) This event inaugurated the celebration of Brother James Miller’s liturgical feast day in the official calendar of the Church and among the international Lasallian Family.

Pope Francis beatified Brother James Miller, FSC, known by his students in Nicaragua and Guatemala as “Hermano Santiago,” on December 7, 2019, recognizing him for his martyrdom and commitment to the Lasallian Mission. The new feast day was set on the date of his death. Along with members of the Lasallian Family around the world, SMC marked the 38th anniversary of his death with this liturgical celebration.

The celebration began with a prayer service, led by Lasallian Peer Minister Genesis Contreras and other Brothers, staff members, and students, that shared the story of Brother James’ life. Afterwards, De La Salle Brothers from both the Saint Mary’s College Community and the Joseph Alemany Community gathered with Saint Mary’s administration, staff, and students for the feast day mass, presided and celebrated by Father John Morris, OP, chaplain to the Alemany Brothers Community, and concelebrated by Father Tom McElligott, chaplain to the SMC Brothers’ Community. Brother Mark McVann, FSC, one of two Brothers on campus who knew Brother James, offered a homily reflection on Brother James’ legacy. Brother Bernard “Bernie” LoCoco, FSC, also knew Brother James, and was his Brother Visitor (Provincial) at the time of Brother James’ martyrdom. hermano

Brother James is the first American De La Salle Brother to be beatified in the Church. This is not only a great honor for the Institute of the Brothers, but for the entire worldwide Lasallian Family. Like many Brothers of his time, Brother James first came to know the Brothers in his school, and he was inspired by their lives to enter their faith community. He later pursued degrees in Spanish and English from Saint Mary’s University in Winona, MN. This readied “Hermano Santiago” to serve alongside other American Brothers who founded missionary schools for indigenous people experiencing great poverty in Latin America.  Brother James was murdered on February 13, 1982, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, a direct result of those in power becoming upset with the Brothers’ mission to provide education to those who did not have access, a mission the Brothers and their Lasallian partners continue today at Saint Mary’s College and in Lasallian Catholic schools around the world.

Read More About Blessed Brother James