tomy)—were encased in mementos and
distributed to believers, who also came
to the cemetery in Convent Station to
chip away nuggets of her gravestone.
Sister Miriam Teresa has been venerated especially by the ethnic Slovaks
of North Jersey—her parents were
immigrants from what is now Eastern
Slovakia—and by Byzantine-Ruthenian
Rite Catholics, the church in which she
Sister Miriam Teresa’s remains
were exhumed in 1979 and buried in a
crypt in the Holy Family Chapel at the
motherhouse, where the petition box is
filled with prayer requests. Her portrait
gazes down from beside the altar. Two
nuns spent 10 years writing a mammoth
manuscript, the 500-page positio that
chronicled Sister Miriam Teresa’s life
and enumerated her virtues. Tribunals
were convened. Finally, all the documents were placed in a wooden box that
was sealed with wax and delivered to
Rome in the diplomatic pouch.
But what the advocates still needed
was a miracle—literally.
MICHAEL MENCER WAS a first grader
at St. Anastasia School in Teaneck
in 1963 when he first realized that
something was wrong with his eyes.
“Playing catch with my older brother I
noticed that I couldn’t see balls thrown
straight at me,” he says.
It gradually became even harder
for him to see straight ahead. Glasses
didn’t help. He had to turn his head
to use his peripheral vision to read or
watch television. “The angle got more
severe as it progressed,” says Mencer,
now 58. He began to get muscle
spasms in his neck. “It went from
turning the head to almost turning
He told the doctor who examined
him in the fall of 1964, that he wanted
to be a fighter pilot and then an astro-
naut. “He didn’t say much at first, but
then he said, ‘ Well, you might want
to think about a new line,’” Mencer
recalls. He was diagnosed with juvenile
macular degeneration, which would
only get worse, and for which there was
no cure. The doctor told his mother,
Barbara Mencer, to contact the state
Commission for the Blind. Her son, he
said, would need its services.
The family was scheduled to move
to Cinnaminson in South Jersey on the
Teresa is revered
for her otherworldly piety.
GLADSTONE COUNTRY HOUSE
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