Who was Titus Brandsma?


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Titus Brandsma as rector magnificus of the Catholic University of Nijmegen in 1932. / Public area. Vatican City, Mar 8, 2022 / 02:05 am (CNA). The primary canonization ceremony for more than two and a half years will happen on Might 15. Among the many 10 candidates who will probably be proclaimed saints by Pope Francis that day is Titus Brandsma. Many Catholics are accustomed to Brandsma’s portrait: his pale, steady eyes, outstanding ears, and buoyant hair. However who was the man behind the steel-rimmed glasses?The two vocations of Titus BrandsmaTitus Brandsma was born in the Netherlands, a country bordering Belgium and Germany, on Feb. 23, 1881. His mother and father named him Anno Sjoerd Brandsma and he grew up within the rural setting of Oegeklooster within the province of Friesland. His household lived on the proceeds of the milk and cheese produced by their dairy cattle. Brandsma felt a calling to the spiritual life and joined the Carmelite monastery in Boxmeer, southeastern Netherlands, in 1898, taking his father’s identify, Titus, as his spiritual identify.Although the Carmelites are recognized for separating themselves from worldly affairs and interesting in contemplative prayer, Brandsma felt referred to as to a second vocation — journalism — that may draw him into the drama of interwar Europe. Within the years forward, he would efficiently combine the two seemingly contrasting vocations.Blessed Titus Brandsma, O.Carm. . public domainA globetrotter with a robust head for whiskeyBrandsma was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1905. After learning in Rome, he returned residence to work within the subject of Catholic schooling. When the Catholic College of Nijmegen was based in 1923, he joined the school, rising to grow to be the establishment’s rector magnificus, or head, in 1932. With fears of a second world struggle rising in Europe, Brandsma was asked by his superiors in Rome to undertake a lecture tour of Carmelite foundations in the USA in 1935. To improve his English, he visited Eire, staying with Carmelite communities in Dublin and the picturesque coastal town of Kinsale. Through the journey, he met with Éamon de Valera, the then head of presidency of the Irish Free State. The Irish Carmelites have been reportedly impressed by Brandsma’s potential to eat whiskey without unwell effects.Shortly earlier than he crossed the Atlantic, Brandsma was appointed religious adviser to the employees of greater than 30 Catholic newspapers in the Netherlands by the longer term Cardinal Johannes de Jong of Utrecht. Upon arrival in the U.S., Brandsma traveled in the East and Midwest. He was struck with marvel at Niagara Falls, writing in his journal: “I see God in the work of his palms and the marks of his love in every visible thing. I'm seized by a supreme joy which is above all different joys.”Cardinal Johannes de Jong of Utrecht. Ben Merk/Anefo by way of Wikimedia (CC0).A dangerous missionThroughout the 1930s, Brandsma watched aghast as Adolf Hitler strengthened his grip on neighboring Germany. The friar sharply criticized Nazi insurance policies in newspaper articles and lectures. “The Nazi movement is a black lie,” he stated. “It is pagan.”After Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands on Might 10, 1940, the authorities imposed extreme restrictions on the Church. They ordered Catholic faculties to expel Jewish students, barred clergymen and non secular from serving as high school principals, restricted charitable collections, and censored the Catholic press. The Dutch bishops requested Brandsma to plead their trigger, however with out success. In 1941, the bishops spoke out boldly towards the Nazis. Their interventions infuriated Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the Reich commissioner of the German-occupied Netherlands, who sought methods of hanging back. When Dutch newspapers have been informed to simply accept ads and press releases from their Nazi overlords, the archbishop of Utrecht asked Brandsma to tell the nation’s Catholic editors that they need to refuse the order.In response to an account within the 1983 guide “No Strangers to Violence, No Strangers to Love,” by Father Boniface Hanley, O.F.M., Archbishop de Jong underlined that the mission was harmful and the Carmelite was not obliged to simply accept it.“Father Titus knew precisely what I stated, and he freely and willingly accepted the obligation,” de Jong recalled. Brandsma traveled around the Netherlands delivering letters to the editors explaining the rationale for the bishops’ determination. He was trailed by the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s political police. A statue of Titus Brandsma in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Havang(nl) by way of Wikimedia (CC0 1.0).‘Whether it is crucial, we'll give our lives’Brandsma managed to visit 14 editors earlier than he was arrested on Jan. 19, 1942, at the monastery in Boxmeer. As the Gestapo ready to take him away, he knelt earlier than his superior and acquired his blessing. “Imagine my going to jail on the age of 60,” Brandsma stated to the person arresting him. The friar was taken to a prison in the seaside town of Scheveningen, the place the interrogating officer demanded to know why he had disobey