St Titus Brandsma - Carmelite and Martyr

Early Studies Fr Titus Brandsma did his doctorate in philosophy in Rome in 1909. He also used his “Roman years” to study sociology and make contact with the new currents of Christian social thought and with the social doctrine of the Church. Following this, throughout his academic life, many of his studies and courses were centered on topics of spirituality and mysticism. Since becoming part of the cluster of professors at the recently created Catholic University of Nijmegen in 1923, our Carmelite was a professor of “History of Mysticism” and, in addition, taught various courses on the stages and authors of that history. A POET OF THE CROSS Young Titus with the Blessed Virgin Mary Areas of Research There are three speci c areas in which Fr Titus developed his research work. The rst was the translation and dissemination of the work of Saint Teresa of Jesus. For him, the fact that there was no full translation of the works of the saint, done according to scienti c criteria, presented a grave lacuna for the religious culture of the Netherlands. A group of Carmelite enthusiasts, together with Fr Titus, was able to translate several volumes, but were unable to nish the project. While in prison in Scheveningen, Fr Titus continued working on a spiritual biography of the Saint, and although he did not complete it, it would be completed and published in 1946, at the end of the war. In the second place, Professor Brandsma studied much of the thought and doctrine of the authors typical of the so-called devotio moderna - the rhenish-flemish mysticism including that of the beguines - that is, the spiritual literature of central and northern Europe (fundamentally the Netherlands) toward the end of the Middle Ages. Among the authors whom our Carmelite studied, were Jan Van Ruusbroec, Gerard (Geert) Groote, and Hadewijch of Antwerp. Finally, one should note his interest in the gures of Saint Willibrord and Saint Boniface, the evangelizers of Friesland, his region of origin. He highlighted, in many articles and sermons, their apostolic life and missionary generosity, something that Fr Titus called attention to because he himself wanted to go to the missions in Java in the 1920s, but was not given permission by his superiors. Illustration by Fr Emanuel Franco Gómez O.Carm @manuocarm 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