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 - September 1, 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 Peter Henry Lemcke’s book Life and Work of Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin is the source of much valuable testimony about the life and heroic virtues of the Prince-Priest.  Lemcke’s information, like that of the other priests and bishops who knew and worked with Gallitzin, is “primary source material”.  Father Lemcke shared many of Gallitzin’s views and dreams and so he became a worthy and capable friend and disciple.  

Father Lemcke wrote his book as a biography of Gallitzin and also to see that, “the significance of Gallitzin’s work be placed in proper light”.  Lemcke’s job, as Gallitzin’s assistant, was to visit all the settlements around Loretto, established in the thirty years prior, which were partly inhabited by Catholics.  Some settlements were fifty, even seventy miles apart.  “Thus, said Lemcke, “I was always on the road, but my work was easy, for wherever I came, Gallitzin had already been there in advance and had prepared the ground well”.  

“Gallitzin was a man of great charity and sympathy, “ said Lemcke, “ I believe that not once did any person in distress or need turn to him in vain.  Even though he himself suffered want, he always found a solution, for charity is resourceful…And in this he had a nicety of always dispatching such matters on the quiet and in secret.  I was often deeply touched to observe to what artifices he resorted and how innocent he could look to conceal his kindness…From the beginning when he settled at Loretto, Gallitzin took in poor, homeless people, usually widows and orphans.  There are still a number of aged persons in the vicinity who were brought up under the shelter of Gallitzin’s house and afterward established and equipped by him for life.”  

After his Father’s death in 1803, Fr. Gallitzin was called to Baltimore and advised by Bishop Carroll to follow his Mother’s advice and return to Europe to claim his inheritance.  He decided to remain with his people and he left Baltimore , heading toward his mountain settlement leaving behind most of his potential inheritance plus his opportunity to see his Mother and Sister one last time.

 Of this decision Lemcke wrote, “Who does not recognize in him the true ambassador of the faith pervaded and guided by the spirit of Christ and the Church, requiring little time for reflection when it is for him to decide between this life’s pleasures and goods, and the call of duty he had understood and followed?...If Gallitzin had gone to Europe, he certainly would have been received with affection everywhere, and testimonials of respect would have been showered on him…Instead, he returned with true Christian heroism to a place where the exact antithesis of all these things awaited him: poverty, exhausting spiritual administrations and missionary labors, and many difficult situations inevitably brought on by the peculiar nature of his position and undertaking.  Nor was he spared the most bitter trials, though these contribute most to a Christian’s salvation; for nothing in the world can more rapidly and more expressively reproduce in him the likeness of Our Lord and Master than misjudgment, defamation, and persecution by those whom he would benefit and for whom he sacrifices himself.”