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Thursday, 27 July 2023 11:16

Celebrating St Titus Brandsma

Today Carmelites celebrate the memory of St Titus Brandsma, Carmelite, academic, mystic, journalist and martyr.

Anno Brandsma was born in the Dutch province of Friesland in 1881. He joined the Carmelite Order in 1898 taking his father’s name, Titus, as his religious name. He made his First Profession in October 1899 and was ordained priest on 17 June 1905. As an academic Titus specialised in philosophy and mysticism. He helped to found the Catholic University of Nijmegen in 1923 and later served as Rector Magnificus.

In the years before the Second World War Titus was openly critical of the Nazi ideology. During the occupation of Holland, he defended the freedom of the Press and of the Catholic Press in particular. He opposed discrimination against Jewish people. He was regarded as, 'a dangerous little friar' by the Gestapo. Titus was arrested in January 1942 and sent to Dachau Concentration Camp where he was killed by lethal injection on 26 July 1942. He was beatified as a martyr in 1985 and canonised on 15 May 2022.

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Carmelite Rule

A rule of life was given to the early Carmelites by St Albert Avogadro, Patriach of Jerusalem between the years 1206 - 1214. It was finally approved by Pope Innocent in 1247 and later underwent mitigations which were not in the original text.

The Carmelite Rule states that is basic for a Carmelite to "live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ - how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master" [no.2].

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