​​​​​After being ordained, he worked for nine years in the parish of St. Philomena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first as assistant pastor with St. John Neumann, the superior of the Religious Community, and later as Superior himself and for the last three years as pastor. During this time, he was also the Redemptorist Novice Master. With Neumann he also dedicated himself to preaching missions. Regarding their relationship, Seelos said: “He has introduced me to the active life” and, “he has guided me as a spiritual director and confessor.” His availability and innate kindness in understanding and responding to the needs of the faithful, quickly made him well known as an expert confessor and spiritual director, so much so that people came to him even from neighboring towns. Faithful to the Redemptorist charism, he practiced a simple lifestyle and a simple manner of expressing himself. The themes of his preaching, rich in biblical content, were always heard and understood even by everyone, regardless of education, culture, or background. A constant endeavor in this pastoral activity was instructing the little children in the faith. He not only favored this ministry, he held it as fundamental for the growth of the Christian community in the parish.(2)

His reputation for sanctity increased as talk of miracles was circulating. One story involved a man who needed crutches to walk. Hearing of the priest’s sanctity, he met with him and asked for a cure. When Father Seelos told the crippled man that he had no such power, the man threw his crutches out the window and said he would not leave until he received a cure. Seelos blessed the man, and he walked away from the rectory unaided. Another miracle did leave us with the record of a conversion. It is the case of the husband of a Catholic woman to whom Father Seelos brought Holy Communion. The wretch was a non-Catholic who mocked the pious faith of his wife. He had been suffering for more than a year from a suppurating ulcer on his face when Father Seelos came on the sick call. The priest put his hand on the man’s face and prayed. A few days later the ulcer totally disappeared and the man subsequently ceased his mockery and became a Catholic.(3)

He was named pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he died of the yellow fever epidemic caring for the sick and the poor of New Orleans on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and nine months.(1)His Holiness Pope John Paul II, proclaimed Father Seelos Blessed in St. Peter's Square on April 9th of the Solemn Jubilee Year 2000.  His Feast Day is October 5.(2) 

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“To the abandoned and the lost he preached the message of Jesus Christ, ‘the source of eternal salvation’ (Hebrews 5:9), and in the hours spent in the confessional he convinced many to return to God. Today, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos invites the members of the Church to deepen their union with Christ in the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist”

(John Paul II, beatification homily).

Reference: (1) Catholic Online, Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2532 (2) The life of Francis Xavier Seelos: http://www.seelos.org/lifeBiography.html.; (3) Catholicism.org, American Wonderworker, the life and miracles of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos: http://catholicism.org/blessed-seelos.html

Church of St. Alphonsus, Singapore

Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos

 (1819 - 1867; Feast Day: October 5)

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​​​Francis Xavier Seelos was born in Germany’s Bavaria in the beautiful and Catholic town of Füssen, in 1819. Expressing his desire for the priesthood since an early age, he entered the diocesan seminary of Augsburg after completing his studies in philosophy. Upon learning of the charism and missionary activity of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he decided to join and go to North America. He arrived in the United States on April 20, 1843, entered the Redemptorist novitiate and completed his theological studies, being ordained a priest on December 22, 1844.(1)​​