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Seelos, Francis Xavier, Bl.


Redemptorist missionary priest; b. Jan. 11, 1819, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany; d. Oct. 4, 1867, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

The sixth of the twelve children of Mang Seelos, weaver and parish sacristan, and his wife Frances Schwarzenbach, Seelos spent six years at St. Stephen's Gymnasium, Augsburg, and three more at the University of Munich, Germany.

Having immigrated to America to join the Redemptorists in April 1843, he was professed May 10, 1844, ordained Dec. 22, 1844, and he served at St. James, in Baltimore, MD, until August 1845. He was transferred then to St. Philomena's, in Pittsburgh, PA, where he shared the rectory with St. John neumann, his spiritual director, whom he succeeded as pastor (1851). During nine years there, as subject, master of novices, and rector, he won the highest praise from people, priests, and bishop.

After three years as rector of St. Alphonsus, Baltimore, he became prefect of students and rector of the Redemptorist seminary at Cumberland, MD. (1857). When Bp. Michael O'Connor of Pittsburgh sought to have him named as his successor (1860), Seelos himself wrote to pius ix to discourage the appointment.

In 1862 the Civil War forced the seminary to move to Annapolis, MD, where Seelos cared for military and civilian victims of the conflict. From 1863 to 1865 he was superior of the Redemptorist missionary band, laboring with them from New England to Illinois.

In September 1866, after nine months as an assistant at Old St. Mary's in Detroit, MI, he went to New Orleans, where he died a year later of yellow fever contracted while making sick calls.

He was enshrined in the sanctuary of St. Mary's Assumption, New Orleans, next to Brother Wenceslaus Neumann, St. John Neumann's brother. He was beatified by John Paul II, Apr. 9, 2000, in St. Peter's Square, Rome.

Feast: Oct. 5 (Redemptorists).

Bibliography: b. beck, Goldenes Jubiläum des Wirkens der Redemptoristenväter an der St. Philomena Kirche in Pittsburg und Umgegend (Ilchester, MD 1889): 158159, 192211. m. j. curley, Cheerful Ascetic: The Life of Francis Xavier Seelos, C.SS.R (New Orleans 1969); "The Nomination of Francis X. Seelos for the See of Pittsburgh," Spicilegium Historicum Congregationis SSmi Redemptoris 11 (1963): 166181. w. grangell, Seelos and Sanctity. The 12 Monthly Virtues (New Orleans 196869). c. w. hoegerl and a. von stamwitz, A Life of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Redemptorist (Liguori, MO 2000). j. schleinkofer, Leben des ehrw. Dieners Gottes P. Franz Seelos aus der Congregation des allerheiligsten Erlösers (Innsbruck 1901). a. von stamwitz and c. w. hoegerl, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Redemptorist (Liguori, MO 2000). p. zimmer, Leben und Wirken des HochwürdigenP. Franz Xaver Seelos (New York 1887).

[m. j. curley/eds.]

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