NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A ceremony held at Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart has put a New Jersey nun one step closer to sainthood.

Hundreds of clergy and believers were drawn from across the country to attend the beatification of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, who is credited with curing a boy’s eye disease, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

“Excited — I was up at 5 o’clock this morning and I went to pick (my friend) up and I said ‘come on, we’re going.’ So it is beautiful and exciting,” said one attendee.

Demjanovich was beatified during a Mass led by Cardinal Angelo Amato. This was the first time a ceremony of this kind has been held in the United States, Burrell reported.

Demjanovich, of Bayonne, died in 1926. Years later, the mother of a boy who was going blind said he had prayed to Demjanovich and soon after his vision completely returned, Burrell reported.

That boy, Michael Mencer, is now 58 years old and took part in Saturday’s Mass, Burrell reported.

Mencer said he remembers the day in September of 1964 when his sight began to return, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

“Didn’t really catch on at that moment that it’s a cure,” he said.

Mencer said he was given a prayer card, a memento of Demjanovich from his Catholic school teacher in Teaneck, and after 15 minutes there was light, Smith reported.

“I looked up and I said, ‘Oh boy, I can look at the sun for ten seconds,'” Mencer said.

Pope Francis has pronounced Mencer’s recovery a miracle.

“They actually have proof. The doctors, one of which is from Saint Joe’s in Patterson, know that this is not medical science. This is a miracle,” Dr. Elizabeth Boyle of Clifton, N.J., said.

As part of the Catholic tradition, Sister Miriam Teresa will not officially be referred to as “blessed” as part of  her title.

“Saints are model and inspirations so it’s just great to have someone right from New Jersey, right from Bayonne, N.J., so that’s exciting,” Father Nick Bozza said.

Peg Suchy-Barrie is Demjanovich’s second cousin.

“Our family has prayed for so many years; our grandmother and mother before me, who are both deceased. We finally came to the realization in my lifetime that she would be called a blessed for the first time,” Suchy-Barrie said.

Beatification is the third of four steps toward sainthood.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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