The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Bruce Fin­ley

The Catholic arch­dio­cese in Den­ver on Sun­day launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of a for­mer slave who worked as a house­keeper for Colorado’s first ter­ri­to­rial gov­er­nor for pos­si­ble can­on­iza­tion as a saint.

Over the next year, arch­dio­cese of­fi­cials plan to gather in­for­ma­tion about Ju­lia Greeley, who was born into slav­ery in Han­ni­bal, Mo., be­tween 1835 and 1855. Eman­ci­pated in 1863, Greeley worked as a house­keeper in St. Louis and, in 1879 and 1880, worked in Den­ver for Gov­er­nor Wil­liam Gilpin.

This is the first cause for can­on­iza­tion that the arch­dio­cese of Den­ver has in­ves­ti­gated, spokes­woman Karna Swan­son said. Known in her time as Den­ver’s “An­gel of Char­ity,” Greeley was not part of a re­li­gious or­der and doesn’t have a con­gre­ga­tion to pro­mote her cause, Swan­son said. Arch­bishop Sa­muel Aquila opened the cause dur­ing a mass Sun­day at the Cathe­dral Basilica of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion.

In Den­ver, Greeley con­verted to Catholi­cism and lived an ex­em­plary life of prayer in­clud­ing ser­vice to her neigh­bors in the Five Points neigh­bor­hood and be­yond.

The arch­dio­cese has a book by Fa­ther Blaine Burkey about Greeley’s deeds, in­clud­ing pray­ing for a friend who could not con­ceive a child, Swan­son said. Greeley ap­par­ently prayed for the woman, she said. And a photo in the book shows Greeley hold­ing a blond girl, the daugh­ter of the friend, Swan­son said.

Greeley died in 1918 around age 80.

Aquila pre­sented the case for Greeley’s po­ten­tial saint­hood at a con­fer­ence of U.S. bish­ops in Novem­ber. The bish­ops voted unan­i­mously to al­low the arch­dio­cese to pro­ceed with the ini­tial phase of the can­on­iza­tion process — gath­er­ing tes­ti­mony and doc­u­men­ta­tion of Greeley’s life and virtues. She’s one of four peo­ple bish­ops voted to in­ves­ti­gate for pos­si­ble saint­hood.

A re­port will be sent to the Vat­i­can, where of­fi­cials will de­cide whether to pro­ceed to fur­ther stages. If Greeley makes it to the stage of be­ing called “a ven­er­a­ble,” Catholic of­fi­cials would be­gin to in­ves­ti­gate pos­si­ble mir­a­cles. She would need to have per­formed two to be con­sid­ered for can­on­iza­tion as a saint.

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