Seelos in Füssen

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Seelos News Archive 2


Thanks to our reporter and photographer Michelle Storey based in St Alphonsus Parish,Grand Rapids,Michigan we have the 1st photos of the new Seelos Statue which will be blessed and dedicated Sunday.

The following will be in St Alphonsus Parish Newsletter this week.



            Today, at the 11:00 Mass, we will bless and dedicate the statue of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R.  Fr. Byron Miller, C.Ss.R., the Executive Director of the Seelos shrine, will be the principal celebrant for this Liturgy.


            Fr. Seelos was born on January 11, 1819 in Füssen, Bavaria, Germany.  After studying for the Priesthood in Germany, he asked to be admitted to the Congregation of the most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) for ministry to German-speaking immigrants in the United States.  In 1844, he was ordained a priest at the Redemptorist Church of Saint James in Baltimore.  His availability and innate kindness in understanding and responding to the needs of the faithful made him so renowned as an expert confessor and spiritual director that people came to him even from neighboring towns.  Seelos ministered for a time in Pittsburgh, Cumberland, and Annapolis.  From 1863 -1866  Seelos dedicated himself to the life of an itinerant missionary preacher in English and German in the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.


            After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Fr. Seelos was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist Church of St. Mary’s Assumption in New Orleans.  He was known to be joyfully available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and most abandoned.  In God’s plan, however, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief.   By September 1867, exhausted from visiting and caring for the victims of yellow fever, Seelos contracted the dreaded disease and entered into eternal life on October 4, 1867, at the age of forty-eight years and nine months.


            The enduring renown for his holiness occasioned his Cause for Canonization to be introduced in 1900.  A century later, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II beatified Father Seelos on April 9th of the Solemn Jubilee Year 2000.  He awaits one more miracle for canonization!


Fr. Bernie Carlin, C.Ss.R.

We have our reporter,Michelle Storey, based in Grand Rapids Michigan covering an up and coming event in St Alphonsus Parish.On 28th February 2010,Father Byron Miller,C.Ss.R., Executive Director of the National Seelos Shrine in New Orleans,U.S.A. will be blessing a new statue of Blessed Seelos at the 1100hrs Mass in the Parish.We hope to have photos of the new statue within the next 48 hours.  Michelle runs the excellant website of St Alphonsus Parish,which has been run by the Redemptorist Order since 1888.We thank her for her help in covering this story.

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Parish in Biloxi is sponsoring a trip to the Blessed Seelos Shrine in New Orleans. The next trip to the shrine will be Saturday, February 27th. The bus will leave Blessed Seelos Parish at 8 a.m. sharp, so participants are urged to be at the church, which is located 356 Lameuse Street, by 7:40 am. Lunch will be included in the trip. Estimated return time is prior to the 4 p.m. Vigil Mass at Blessed Seelos Parish. The cost is $40 per person and everyone is welcome to come (both parish members and non-members). For more information, call the parish office at 228-435-0007.


Joey’s fight: Family attributes to clean scan to faith

September 25, 2009 - 8:30am.

By Keighla Schmidt, Staff Writer

It might sound like a plot line from a movie, but after his family visited a Catholic shrine in New Orleans, Joey Schwartz’s latest CT scan showed he’s cancer free just two months after being told terminal cancer had returned.

Joey was first diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer, midline carcinoma, in March 2008 when he was 13. After 10 months of highly-toxic chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiation, he was told he was in remission. But, during a follow-up PET scan in July, the 14-year-old from Savage was told he had to continue his fight the aggressive cancer.   

“When Joey was re-diagnosed, the reoccurrence on the chest wall and in his lungs was devastating news,” Paul said. “The doctor told us, ‘I can’t offer hope at this point.’”

Doctors identified two large masses on his chest wall and dozens of small tumors in his lungs.

Joey Schwartz: Joey Schwartz wears a relic, a piece
of the Blessed Father Seelos’ body, around his neck

Deciding to fight anyway, Joey started chemotherapy again and with the support of his parents, Paul and Melinda, along with his twin brother Derek, the family turned to their Catholic faith.

They had been following a story about a 71-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer that had spread throughout her body, but the malignant tumors disappeared after prayers to Blessed Father Seelos, who died in 1867 in New Orleans. Seelos has been beatified by the Vatican and is believed to have successful intercessions for ill people. The woman, Mary Ellen Heibel, has been cancer free since 2005.

Paul ordered a first-class relic, a small piece Seelos’s body, for Joey to wear in a pendant as a point of focus for prayers, as Heibel has done.

“Obviously not everyone who prays to Seelos is healed,” Paul said.

But, he added, prayers couldn’t do any harm.

After one round of the toxic drugs and getting an affirmative nod from their doctor, the Schwartz family made a pilgrimage to New Orleans to visit a shrine to Seelos.

“It may have been New Orleans, but it wasn’t voodoo,” Melinda said with a laugh.

The family attended a Sunday mass and a woman in charge of the administration of the Seelos shrine, Joyce Bourgeois, took special care of the family.

“Just talking to her on the phone is a spiritual experience,” Melinda said.

Joey said throughout the mass Bourgeois had her hands on his shoulders to bless him.

Along with Bourgeois and other shrine officials, Paul said many parishioners offered up their anecdotal stories about the intercessions Seelos had done for them and expressed hope for Joey.

“You take some of it with a grain of salt,” Paul said. “But, really, you’re going there looking for some hope … it was a very uplifting, spiritual day.”

With Joey still wearing the relic, the Schwartz family headed home.

“When we got home and started telling people about our trip, we got the typical ‘pat on the head,’” Paul said. “A very small amount of people actually understood what we did and why.”

After one more round of chemo and one CT scan on Sept. 3, the family thought their prayers were answered.

“We were hoping the scans would show the tumors had either stayed the same size or shrunken a little,” Paul said of their feelings going into the appointment.

“It’s scary before going in,” Joey said. “I really didn’t know what to think, I was hoping for something good.”

When Dr. Jawhar Rawwas, Joey’s oncology doctor at Children’s Hospital, read the scans initially, he told the family the tumors had shrunk.

“We thought that was our miracle,” Melinda said. “We were thrilled with that.”

After bringing Joey back to the Academy of Holy Angels where he and Derek are freshman, Paul and Melinda got a call from the doctor.

“He said the radiologist had looked at Joey’s scans and that’s when I thought he was going to say the initial scan missed something and prepared for the worst,” Paul said. “He said he couldn’t detect any traces of cancer … and on top of that, the two initial large masses were now thought to be scar tissue.”

Immediately, they turned to their faith.

“Instinctively we were making the sign of the cross,” Paul recalled.

Next they called Bourgeois to tell her the good news and she told them that meant “God had a plan for Joey.”

“I already knew that,” Joey said.

Back at the high school, Derek received the good news first.

“I almost dropped my football helmet,” he said.

As for Joey – “he kept stepping back away from us and saying ‘you’re kidding, you’re kidding.’” Melinda recalled.

While they all place a lot of faith in the miracle, Joey will continue with the rounds of chemo, as planned.

“Right now they don’t know that God didn’t heal me through the work of the chemo,” Joey said.

“We’re not getting the sense that it’s something we should stop,” Paul added.

Joey’s hopeful the original plan of nine months of chemo will be abbreviated soon.

For as large of a role as each family member’s faith has played in Joey’s journey, their familial steadfast devotion is fairly new.

Paul, who said he had been largely atheist and agnostic since he was 15, came back to his childhood faith when Joey was first diagnosed with midline carcinoma in 2008.

“I’ve definitely put all my faith in God now and it’s paid off,” he said. “It’s been quite a turn about for me.”

Melinda, who grew up in a Baptist church and converted to Catholicism when she was a teenager, said she wasn’t totally sold on the religion, but now feels strongly connected.

“I’ve been a Christian since I was 15 and my faith has never been as powerful as it is now,” she said.

Even after Joey’s short-lived remission and it looked like his cancer was back, they stayed faithful.

“We stayed strong spiritually throughout everything,” Joey said.

Now there are daily prayers as a family, something they’d never done before.

Joey’s faith is one he wears not on his sleeve, but around his neck. Along with the Seelos relic there are other chains with medals and pendants of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Peregrine –the patron saint of cancer and a cross that he wears every day.

When kids at school ask him about them, Joey tells them to consider his position: “If you had cancer, you’d do it to.”


Keighla Schmidt can be reached at


Füssen born, Pralate Karlheinz Knebel,Vicar General of the Diocese of Augsburg is a very busy man.However he not not forgotten another son of Füssen.The Vicar General has been working quietly behind the scenes to promote the cause of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos.He is striving to make Blessed Seelos more known within the Diocese,especially amongst those responsible for running the Diocese.
He eventually hopes to organise a day of prayer & meditation about Blessed Seelos for the Priests and Deacons of the Diocese.Your prayers will help!


The Greyhound is the student newspaper of Loyola College in Maryland.On Tuesday September 1st it printed a news article about Blessed Seelos.The article is extremely well written and immiediatly attracts the reader to the life od Blessed Seelos.It is written from a Maryland perspective as Father Seelos was Rector at St Mary's,Annapolis,Maryland.The article is about the Baltimore Diocesan investigation of the alleged miraculous healing of Mary Ellen Heibal.It is youthful and full of vitality.May it bring more people to know of Blessed Seelos and through him to Our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


A youth orientated Mass in Acht Seligkeiten Church,west Füssen will be the hilight of Füssen's celebrations,the hometown of Blessed Seelos.It will be at 1900hrs on Sunday 11th October 2009.


Russian Wikipedia page about Francis Xavier Seelos(22 August 2009)