Holy Woman

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Thanks for your coverage of the recently beatified Brother James Miller and other exemplary Catholic Americans (“Sanctity in the USA: Holy Americans,” Jan. 5-18 issue).

Also worthy of their distinguished company is a lady who died heroically in St. Louis just over a year ago. She could eventually be canonized as the first American woman martyr.
On Nov. 19, 2018, a middle-aged man walked into a Catholic religious goods store and noted that only three people were there — all women. He herded them at gunpoint back into a secluded corner of the store and insisted that they submit to acts of sexual abuse. Two of the distraught women complied with this brute’s demands. Then he came to his third intended victim, who, according to friends, had probably come to purchase some materials for her rosary-making apostolate.
This was Jamie Schmidt, 53, a quiet housewife and mother.
There was nothing obviously extraordinary about this lady, but now she did something very extraordinary.
She, too, was ordered to submit to sexual abuse. But Mrs. Schmidt, with the barrel of a loaded gun pointed at her head, quietly refused to allow her purity, her personal dignity and her marriage covenant to be outraged.
She looked the man straight in the eye and said, “In the name of God, I will not!” Enraged by this unexpected point-blank refusal, her assailant responded with a point-blank shot that felled her on the spot.

I had the privilege of concelebrating Jamie’s funeral Mass and spoke afterward to friends who testified to the quiet holiness of her life.
Survived by her husband, Greg (a Knight of Columbus), and three children, she was loved by all as modest, calm, cheerful, devoted to Our Lady, active in organizing retreats in her parish (St. Anthony of Padua in High Ridge, Missouri), and blessed with musical and artistic talents that she used to beautify her church and its worship.

The similarities between Jamie Schmidts death and that of St. Maria Goretti, who was canonized for sacrificing her life rather than commit a sin of impurity, are clear.

         Father Brian W. Harrison, OS
         St. Louis, Missouri


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