Vatican-certified miracle at St. Louis church will be remembered by family members, community


ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The Shrine of St. Joseph still stands proudly on 11th street in St. Louis, just a few blocks north of the Edward Jones Dome. Built in 1844, the church was once at the center of a bustling neighborhood with a big German population. The times and buildings around the Shrine of St. Joseph have changed a lot since the 19th century, but the miracle that happened here keeps people coming back.

This weekend, a large crowd is expected to attend Sunday mass to remember the first Vatican-authenticated miracle west of the Mississippi.

In March of 1864, German immigrant Ignatius Strecker suffered an injury at a St. Louis soap factory. A piece of equipment gouged a hole in Strecker's chest and he eventually contracted tuberculosis.

Strecker's health deteriorated quickly and doctors believed he was on death's door.

Carried into St. Joseph's on a stretcher, Strecker kissed a bone fragment of Jesuit missionary Peter Claver.

Within minutes, Strecker's strength and vitality returned. According to records, Strecker than walked out of the church on his own power and went on to live a productive life for many years.

This cure was researched and proclaimed by the Vatican as an authentic miracle. It was one of the two required miracles to proclaim Blessed Peter Claver to sainthood.

Today, many believe it's a miracle that the Shrine of St. Joseph is still standing.

In recent years, the church has been restored and renovated by the dedicated group Friends of St. Joseph's Inc.

Several other miracles have also been reported at the church but the Ignatius Strecker episode is the only miracle certified by the Vatican.

The March 16 commemoration Mass will be celebrated by Father Dale Wunderlich, the Shrine's rector, along with invited guest presider and homilist, Father Dan White, a Jesuit, pastor of St. Louis University's St. Francis Xavier College Church.

Everyone is invited to attend—among several special groups invited will be the Sisters of Peter Claver, Sisters of Notre Dame, Sicilian Cultural Society, Knights of Peter Claver, members of the St. Louis Labor Council, as well as the descendants and relatives of Ignatius Strecker.

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