St Titus Brandsma - Carmelite and Martyr

Titus’ Education Titus was a good student who understood from early on the value of education. As a child he read widely and had a particular liking for literature and history. After entering the Carmelite Order in 1898, Titus continued to read widely and began to publish. Taking his doctorate in philosophy at Rome’s Gregorian University, he also took courses in modern sociology. Catholic Education Titus reformed the programme of studies for Carmelites in the Netherlands. Education for the laity was a priority for Titus. At Oss a library with attached reading room and lecture hall was established which was open to the general public. Through Titus’ efforts, two Carmelite schools became the very rst private schools in Holland to receive government support. He founded the Union of Secondary Schools in 1925, serving as its President. University Professor With the founding of the Catholic University at Nijmegen in 1923, Titus was nominated Professor of Philosophy and the History of Mysticism. In 1932 he became its Rector Magni cus. Titus’ courses left an ‘unforgettable’ impression; he was effectively rediscovering the spirituality of their country. Titus was kind and students at the university constantly sought him out. He sought scholarship funding for the less well off. Titus subjected National Socialism to rigorous critique as part of his university teaching. He kept his feet rmly on the ground. Titus was known to assist an old man in pushing his junk wagon up the hill between the university and the Carmel, placing his professorial briefcase on top while he did it. The Call to Mysticism Titus was always keen to educate people regarding their call to be mystics. He de ned mysticism as: ‘a special union of God with human beings, whereby they become aware of God’s presence and also become one with God.’ Titus understood mysticism as a call directed to all and spoke of an everyday mysticism, convinced that God is the ground of our being and can be encountered always and everywhere and in our neighbour. His lectures on Carmelite mysticism, delivered in the United States in 1935, are a true classic of twentieth-century spirituality. 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. 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. Titus Brandsma Carmelite and Martyr EDUCATION Titus Brandsma with journalists