The beatification of Brother James Miller, FSC, took place Saturday, December 7, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Thousands gathered for the beatification, which took place on the soccer fields of Colegio De La Salle de Huehuetenango, where Brother James served until his death. Brother James is the first De La Salle Christian Brother from the United States to be beatified.
Brother Superior Robert Schieler, FSC, was in attendance at the beatification, along with Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, General Councilor for the Lasallian Region of North America, Brother Michael Ferhenbach, FSC, Midwest District Visitor, Brother James’ sister Louise Shafranski, Brothers, and educators from around the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) and the wider Lasallian family.
“The life and witness of Blessed Brother James Miller was front and center in the compelling and beautiful beatification ceremonies, to be sure—it was also an occasion to remember the countless number of innocents, predominantly Mayans, who lost their lives in Guatemala’s 36-year civil war. It was for Mayan education and dignity that Brother James dedicated himself,” said Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC.
Brother Frank Carr, FSC, a classmate of Brother James said, “Jim [Miller] was such an ordinary guy that I found myself reflecting on that simplicity as I was immersed in the inspiring ceremony in Guatemala. It means all of us can be ‘Blessed’ if we live simply AND for others. I look at the official portrait of him and see the almost imperceptible smile on his face and admire him for sacrificing himself for those kids. I was with him for four years, but who would have thought we would witness his beatification?”
Following the beatification and luncheon, the Signum Fidei Award was presented to the Midwest District and the Central America-Panama District in honor of both ministries where Brother James Miller served. The Signum Fidei award is the most prestigious award given by Saint Mary University’s. Read more >
The Midwest District received four reliquaries containing relics of Brother James Miller. A relic consists of physical remains or person effects of the saint as a tangible memorial. Cretin-Derham Hall, where Brother James Miller taught, and Saint Mary’s University, Brother James’ alma mater, Brother James’ family and the Midwest District office each received a relic.
To watch a recording of the Brother James Miller beatification ceremony, visit Colegio De La Salle Huehuetenango on Facebook. Search #BlessedBrotherJames on social media for highlights from the beatification.
Brother James, a native of Wisconsin, died a martyr on February 13, 1982, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. On November 8, 2018, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing that Brother James died as a martyr, an important step in his cause for beatification. The process to declare him a martyr began in 2009. Brother James was repairing a school wall when he was approached by three men, who shot and killed him. As a martyr, Brother James must have one miracle posthumously attributed to him to reach canonization.
More from the Midwest District >
Read the Catholic News Service story on the beatification, which appeared in multiple publications >
A Message from Brother Superior Robert Schieler, FSC >
De La Salle Today: Brother James Miller Extended Interview >
Saint Mary’s presents Signum Fidei Awards to De La Salle Christian Brother Districts >
$5,000 raised through No Cell Phone Day at Saint Mary’s University>
Top photo: De La Salle Christian Brothers at the beatification of Brother James Miller, FSC.