Special from Midwest District. Pope Francis has decreed that De La Salle Christian Brother, Brother James Miller, FSC, was killed out of hatred for the Catholic faith during Guatemala’s civil war and can be beatified.
The Vatican said on November 8 that the Pope approved a decree recognizing that Brother James Miller, a Christian Brother from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, died as a martyr February 13, 1982, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. While repairing a wall for the De La Salle Indian School, Brother James was approached by three men, who shot and killed him. It is thought that this occurred because the Brothers were relentless in their efforts to keep the Indian boys from being conscripted into the military.
Brother James is an alumnus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1966 and his graduate degree in 1974. After graduating from Saint Mary’s, Brother James taught at Cretin High School, now Cretin-Derham Hall, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, for several years before going to Nicaragua, and eventually Guatemala.
Brother James will be the first De La Salle Christian Brothers from the United States to be beatified. The cause of beautification was undertaken by the Diocese of Huehuetenango, Guatemala in 2009 and received the Decree of Validity in Rome in 2010 when Brother James was designated a Servant of God and a martyr for the faith. As a martyr, Brother James must have one miracle posthumously attributed to him to reach the next level toward official sainthood, which is canonization.