Julia Greeley – Servant of God

Hundreds of people were drawn to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado on June 7, 2017 for the transfer of Julia Greeley’s remains, which were exhumed as part of her canonization process.


During the Transfer of Remains ceremony, Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriquez said that “It was not a bishop or priest who was the first to be interred in the Cathedral, it was Servant of God Julia Greeley.”  Julia was a black laywomen, a former slave, who earned a modest living via odd jobs and who devoted much of her time to serving the poor.  Julia drew strength from daily Communion and her love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


During the early 1900’s, her devotion to the Sacred Heart led Julia to walk to each of Denver’s 20 fire stations on foot every First Friday of the month to distribute Sacred Heart material.  Her remains indicate that she did this even though she suffered from arthritis in her feet, hands and back.


Julia Greeley had additional problems that would have probably prevented many people from bringing God’s message and the Sacred Heart devotion to others.  She was blind in her right eye, the result of a slave master’s whip in her youth.  In addition, she was an African American who was only five feet tall, and she could not read or write.  But all of these problems did not stop Julia.  She responded to Jesus’ call to tell others about his love, especially through promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart.  She did all this with humility, simplicity and a sense of humor.