Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

May 16, 2013

Community turns to Franciscan decades after death


But Father Marquard reports that the young brother continued to work hard at the seminary until the TB spread throughout his body. He died May 10, 1938, in the old St. Anthony Hospital.

Father Marquard wrote that Brother Simon’s superiors recognized early on that his spirit was unusual. Still, 75 years after his death, no formal application for beatification or canonization has been made.

Sister-in-law Mary Jo Van Ackeren, who married Lawrence’s late brother Francis, said Brother Simon would probably tell anybody seeking to gain him formal recognition to forget about it.

“I don’t know whether he would want it,” said Mrs. Van Ackeren. “He was very humble.”

While young Mary Jo didn’t become acquainted with the Van Ackeren family until after Brother Simon’s death, she remembers that family members characterized young Lawrence as someone who preferred helping his mother in the house than working out on the farm.

“Lawrence was very tight with his mother,” she said. “He wasn’t one to play with his brothers. He wanted badly to belong to the Franciscans.”

While the 84-year-old said she probably won’t live to see Brother Simon receive formal recognition for his spiritual feats, she believes more can be done in the young man’s memory.

“He was such a good example for today’s youth,” she said. “I do think more should be done. Brother Simon is definitely worthy of a little recognition.”

While Brother Simon is well-known as an intercessor in financial matters, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes that miracles associated with most modern-day saints are health-related. Those promoting sainthood for a servant of the church must be able to document one miracle for beatification, or blessing, and a second miracle for canonization, or sainthood. However, no one can currently document a specific occurrence of one related to Brother Simon.

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