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Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich (1923): The First Alumna To Be Considered for Beatification

Sister Miriam TeresaSister Miriam Teresa (Teresa Demjanovich) was born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1901. After graduating from Bayonne High School as salutatorian, she entered the College of Saint Elizabeth. She received the degree of Bachelor of Letters with highest honor in 1923. She seemed to her classmates to be a person of sterling character but not extraordinary holiness. However, after her death her closest friend testified that Teresa had had a vision of the Blessed Virgin during her student days in Santa Rita Hall. After a year of teaching at St. Aloysius Academy in Jersey City she entered the Sisters of Charity in 1925. Here the spiritual director of the novices, a Benedictine priest, discovered that she was a chosen soul to whom God had entrusted a special mission. The mission was to remind everyone that each of us is called to holiness of life according to the words of Jesus, "If any man love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him." She died in 1927, having professed her vows on her deathbed. In 1945, after the Sisters of Charity had received many letters attesting to favors that had been received through her intercession with God, the Diocese of Paterson inaugurated the Cause for Canonization. In 1980 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints accepted documents describing her life and virtues and she was given the title of Servant of God. At present two sets of documents have been sent to Rome, the Position super Virtutibs, which gave evidence of her heroic virtue, and the Position super Miro, evidence that a blind child's sight had been restored through her intercession with God. When these documents have been read and accepted by special committees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation will recommend to the Holy Father that he declare her "Blessed." >> Read more


A recent graduate with a B.S. in Biology and a Chemistry Minor, Melanie is now currently pursuing her dream to become a physician at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She received the Sister Hildegarde Marie Mahoney Award for General Excellence, highest award conferred by the College to a graduating senior, and also the Sister Anna Catherine Lawlor Biology, an award presented to a graduating senior who has majored in Biology, has maintained an exceptional academic record and has demonstrated service and leadership to the College and to the Biology department. In her junior year, Melanie undertook a summer internship at the National Institute of Health, in cancer research.


Nancy received her degree in Chemistry, which enabled her to begin a long career as a chemist, going from a staff analyst to the Director of Scientific Affairs at Pfizer, Inc., where she was employed from 1954-98.

Nancy has been actively involved in a variety of important groups, including the Academy of Women Achievers, the American Chemical Society, National Management Association, and Junior Achievement. Nancy also taught C.C.D. (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes. She has 45 great-nieces and great-nephews, which keeps her ever learning. Nancy recalls that the College gave her the "basic skills in chemistry' that she needed to launch her career, and she is grateful, too, for the 'values of integrity, competitiveness and respect for others' that she acquired during her years at CSE.


Blandina, who majored in English at CSE, is one of ten Regional Directors of Education in her native country of Ghana. When she received this impressive appointment from the Ministry Of Education, she was one of three women on this panel, and its youngest member.

She credits much of her success to the solid academic, social, and moral foundation she obtained as a student at the College. "My four years at CSE were the greatest, most enjoy- able years of my life! As such, I have a special place in my heart for Saint Elizabeth's."


A Chemistry major, Pamela applied, with the encouragement of her professors, to the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. She received her M.D. from this institution in 1970. She served her internship in Saint Vincent's Hospital, New York City, and had a three-year residency in neurology at the Neurological Institute of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Chavis was the first woman to be certified in both neurology and ophthalmology, and she is one of only a handful of physicians in the country who are so double-certified.

Neuro-ophthalmology is the study of visual disorders caused by underlying neurological problems such as strokes, multiple sclerosis, and nutritional deficiencies. Dr. Chavis is affiliated with the United Hospitals'


Louise, a History major, spent thirty years in the United States Navy. When she retired in 1994 as a Rear Admiral, she was the highest-ranking woman and the highest-decorated woman in the Navy.

Louise received the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with three gold stars), the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Joint Service Commendations Medal. Her assignments included Commander of the U.S. Naval Base in Philadelphia; Vice Chief of Naval Education and Training in Pensacola; Commander of the Naval Training Center in Orlando; Executive Assistant and Naval Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; and Commander of the Navy Recruiting Area Five in Great Lakes, Michigan.


After graduating with a Major in Latin, Shirley taught this subject for two years at Henry Hudson Regional High School, in the Highlands. Later she worked in CSE's Admissions Office, where she was the Assistant Project Director of Upward Bound. Concurrently, she attended Seton Hall Law School in the evenings, receiving her law degree in 1971.

Shirley joined Prentice Hall and worked in the labor law section, and a little less than a year later, she obtained a job in the State Attorney General's office. From 1976-1984 Shirley was a Municipal Court judge in Jersey City. She became a Superior Court judge in 1984. Shirley received an honorary degree from CSE in 1980. In 1981, she received the Whitney Young Award from the Hudson County Urban League. In 1996 Shirley became President of the National Association of Women judges.

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