Father Matthew Miller, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1862-1955)

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Born Arnold Miller on August 4, 1862 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Joseph and Emilia Fox Miller. He was baptized at St. Michael’s Church. His father was a dealer of church goods in Pittsburgh and served with the Union Forces in Pittsburgh during the Civil War. He died in 1868. This necessitated that he lived with relatives in Wooster, Ohio from 1868 until 1873. He then returned to Pittsburgh and went to school at St. Michael’s. He also was an apprentice to a blacksmith for a short time but left that trade so as to attend St. Vincent’s in Latrobe, Pennsylvania where he studied for two years. He was known to be a good student, in particular in languages. Like his brother two years his junior, Father Henry Miller, C.P., Arnold also decided to enter the Passionist novitiate. At twenty he did so in Pittsburgh. He professed his vows on September 8, 1883. His religious name was Matthew. He was ordained on May 26, 1888 at St. Michael’s Monastery, West Hoboken, New Jersey. He was a personal secretary to Father General Francis Xavier. This was his first assignment. He went to Rome and served in this capacity for two years. He gained an insight into Passionist directives and spirituality of the day and an increased skill in European languages. In 1884 he was made a member of the first community of St. Paul, Kansas which at that time was known as the Osage Mission. There he served as director of students and professor of theology. It was he who detected the fire that destroyed St. Ann’s Loretto Academy. He then succeeded Father Anselm Clemens, C.P. as assistant pastor at St. Michael’s Church, Pittsburgh. Later he was transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio where he was pastor of Immaculata Church on Mount Adams. He was there for eleven years. He then was appointed as a preacher of parish missions for sixteen years and paid particular attention to vocations. Many young men and women were attracted to religious life through his efforts. In 1932 at seventy years of age he was a member of the Passionist mission to Austria and Germany. His ability to speak German was a great asset. He was there for five years and spent most of his time caring for the parish church at Semmering, Austria. He returned to St. Paul, Kansas in 1946 where he was an example of constant prayer to the novices. Rarely, would he allowed himself to be dispensed from the religious observances. In his retirement years he would help out on occasion at St. Mary’s College, Xavier, Kansas. The final two years of his life was a test for his health. After several injuries from falls he was taken to Mercy Hospital, Parsons, Kansas where it was discovered that he had a broken hip. He stayed in the hospital for months and was finally able to return to the monastery at St. Paul, Kansas on July 24, 1955. But the next day he fell again and returned to the hospital. Subsequently a blood clot developed and he died.