St Titus Brandsma - Carmelite and Martyr

SAINT TITUS BRANDSMA At each step of his truth-telling, Titus was recorded by meticulous agents of the Security Service of Hitler’s SS. Even before the outbreak of war or the invasion of the Netherlands, Titus was well known to agents who added their reports to a thickening dossier of his activity. Titus told his friends that there were 2 young men who attended his classes at the University, but were not registered as students. They took detailed notes on whatever he said, but never asked questions or took exams. After Holland was invaded in May 1940, Nazi administrators took over the civil government and slowly moulded the details of Dutch life to refect Nazi ideology. The points of confict between Titus and the occupation forces became clear. As the NSB worked to tighten their hold on ordinary life, Titus laid plans to protect Jewish students, maintain the freedom of Catholic schools, and strengthen the Catholic press. It was his tireless work on behalf of the bishops to defend the Catholic journalists that finally got him into confict with the Nazis. His ironclad refusal to allow “fake news” to contaminate the integrity of Catholic newspapers marked a point of no return. His fate had already been decided in Berlin. Titus was too intelligent and methodical to be convinced to accept propaganda. He was too courageous and stubborn to be swayed by threats and intimidation. Nothing remained to the authorities except his arrest and ultimate death. Painting at the Titus Brandsma Memorial, Centro Internazionale Sant’Alberto, Rome, where Titus studied 1906-1909 Prayer God of peace and justice, you open our hearts to love and to the joy of the Gospel even in the midst of countless forms of violence that take away the dignity of our brothers and sisters. Fill us with your grace, so that like Saint Titus Brandsma, we may in tenderness see beyond the horrors of inhumanity and contemplate your glory that shines forth through the martyrs of every age, and so become your authentic witnesses in the world of today. Amen. Titus Brandsma Chapel, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Zenderen, Netherlands 27