Cause for the Canonization of 

Servant of God 

Demetrius Gallitzin

"Apostle of the Alleghenies"




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A Prince In the Service of The Great King

The Catholic Register - August 18, 2008

    In a new series of articles, Betty Seymour, serving with her husband, Frank, as postular of the Cause for the Canonization of the Servant of God Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, explains the evidence for the "heroic virtues" of the Prince-Priest.

Father Thomas Heyden of Bedford remains one of the most important witnessess to the heroic virtues and holy life of the Prince-Priest Father Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin.  In his writings about his mentor, Father Hayden noted these insights into the motivations that inspired the life and ministry of Father Gallitzin:

bulletFather Gallitzin was deeply impressed with the conviction that it was by Colonization- by forming Catholic settlements, that the Church was best propagated and rooted in this country.
bullet A spiritual empire- a Catholic colony of vast dimensions was the bright vision that dazzled his ardent imagination and filled his whole soul.
bulletHis was not a spirit that buckled at opposition to what he perceived to be heaven’s design.
bulletThe report of his extraordinary sacrifices for consciences’ sake, soon awakened public attention and numbers flocked from all parts to place themselves under his spiritual standard.  They were generally penniless, friendless, houseless, but they ever found in the expansive charity of the generous Gallitzin, a welcome and a home.
bulletHis saint models were Charles Borromeo, Francis de Sales, Vincent de Paul and Mary.  Gallitzin was distinguished for his lively and tender devotion to Mary.
bullet All in Father Gallitzin's  congregation were equal in God – no rich or poor, no distinctions; he promoted the spiritual and temporal welfare of his flock and guarded them from contagion of the world (vain fashions, customs that spread in towns and cities).
bulletHe was noble, majestic and reverential at Mass.   His flock loved him.
bulletDuring his entire life, he condemned riches and all goods of this earth, and employed them only for purposes of God’s glory and his neighbor’s good, so in death did he prove himself a most consistent follower of Him, “who became poor that we might be rich”.
bulletGallitzin’s life was an example of transcendent triumph of divine grace… The life of the departed righteous is the perpetual and priceless legacy they bequeath to us.

Second only to Father Hayden as a witness to Father Gallitzin's heroic virtues is the testimony of the priest who was associated with the Prince-Priest in the closing years of his ministry, Father Peter Henry Lemcke.

Father Lemcke was born at Rhena in the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany , July 27, 1796 and died at Carrolltown , PA , November 28, 1882 . His father was a magistrate and his mother was the daughter of the Lutheran school teacher. He ran away from home at the age of 14 and enrolled at a school in Schwerin .  At a young age he became a volunteer in the War of Liberation, serving against Napoleon from 1813 to 1815; he was at the battle of Waterloo . Leaving the army, he became a Lutheran preacher in 1819.  By 1824, upon the influence of a few Catholics, he converted to Catholicism and was received into the Church with Baptism and Confirmation.  He was ordained April 11, 1825 at the age of 30.

In 1834, after reading a letter from Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick, then coadjutor of Philadelphia , asking for German priests for his diocese Lemcke decided to go to America .  After a few months in Philadelphia as an assistant at Holy Trinity, Lemcke gained permission to go to the mission country in western Pennsylvania .  His restlessness and impulsiveness remained throughout his long, eventful and fruitful life.  Aside from his work as assistant to Father Gallitzin and the writing of a biography of his mentor in 1861, Lemcke was instrumental in developing a “sister-mission” to Loretto at Carrolltown.. In addition, he was singularly responsible for bringing the Benedictines to this country…first to Carrolltown and Westmoreland County ( St. Vincent ’s) and later to Kansas .