Life of African-American sainthood candidate a gripping tale

(Crux) In May, a century-old body was exhumed from Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, a western suburb of Denver. This wasn’t an episode of “CSI” – for one thing, the exhumation took six days, not the five minutes generally required in TV crime dramas.

Nor was there any crime to be solved. On the contrary, the aim was to relocate the remains of an African-American Catholic woman buried in 1918 to Denver’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, as part of the long process of declaring her a saint.

Julia Greeley was born into slavery, lived a life of poverty, and is now the first person to be interred at the cathedral in her adopted city of Denver.

Ask any journalist, and they’ll tell you that details matter. But trying to piece together the details of Greeley’s life is no easy task, which is one of the reasons Denver-based Capuchin Father Blaine Burkey wrote In Secret Service of the Sacred Heart: The Life and Virtues of Julia Greeley, published by the Julia Greeley Guild. [More]