Murdered Titus Brandsma a saint for many, now he becomes so in earnest

Titus Brandsma, the father who largely served his traces in Brabant, will be canonized on Sunday 15 May by Pope Francis in Rome. The Catholic priest who was murdered by the Nazis at the age of 61 in Dachau was already a saint while he was alive, many believed. His Brabantian footprints are still easy to find in Den Bosch, Megen, Oss and Boxmeer.

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Agnes van der Straaten

In the square in the middle of the town of Megen (by the Meuse) stands the school that Titus attended when he was twelve, still, followed a year later by his brother. They were born in Friesland, but had to be in the south to get a good Catholic education. In the beautiful square, between the school and the Franciscan monastery, Titus Brandsma must have taken many steps.

Brother Hendrik, who also went to school in Megen, went to the convent across the street after high school and became a Franciscan. Titus chose another route and traveled at the age of 17 to the Carmelite monastery in Boxmeer. The monastery still stands in the middle of this village and houses the extensive Titus Brandsma archive.

Professor Peter Nissen is a theologian and has written a lot about Titus Brandsma: “Titus was someone who had an enormous entrepreneurial spirit from a very young age. He should know things and therefore suited the Carmelites, a monastic order that saw God in everyday life. God sat also between the pots and pans, they said. Titus felt at home there. ”

“John and everyone knew where to find Titus for a good conversation.”

And that was clearly noticeable in Titus’ life. He was by no means a monk isolating himself. He often went out, preferably by train and always talked to everyone. Jan and everyone knew where to find him for a good conversation. Santa Claus: “In the Brabant years he was enormously helpful to the people. No matter how busy he was, he was there when people needed him. There are many stories about that.”

Because there was almost no Catholic education in the early years of the twentieth century, Titus co-founded with others a Catholic school board: Carmel College. Titus Brandsma Højskolen i Oss is still a part of this. The school turns 100 next year. At that time, Brandsma himself also taught young monks philosophy in the Carmelite monastery in Us. He eventually became professor and rector magnificus at the Catholic University of Nijmegen.

“Titus was also very involved in journalism at the time. He seems to have written at least 500 articles.”

But education was not the only thing that put Titus Brandsma at the center of society. Peter Nissen: “Titus was also very involved in journalism at the time. He seems to have written at least 500 articles, mainly for Catholic newspapers. He was also involved as editor-in-chief of Nieuwsblad De Stad Oss, which eventually appeared daily. I think , That it has been published in Brabants Dagblad. ”

According to Nissen, the way Titus Brandsma thought about the media would also fit in well with this time: “Journalists should serve the truth. He was not for uniformity. He was very much for pluralism in the media.”

His involvement in journalism ultimately heralds the end of the Catholic priest’s life. Santa Claus: “In December 1941, Titus goes out with a letter from Archbishop De Jong to visit all Catholic newspaper editors and ask not to place ads from NSB. The campaign is successful, but Titus is betrayed. He is betrayed by the Nazis. Arrested and goes via the prisons in Scheveningen and Amersfoort via Kleef to Dachau. ”

At the age of 61, already severely debilitated, he is killed by the Nazis, probably by lethal injection. It happened in Dachau concentration camp.

The sanctity of Titus Brandsma is evident from his hard life in prisons and in the Dachau concentration camp. After the war, survivors said that despite his failing health, Titus has been a great support to many in both prison and camp. He even understood the German prison guards.

The honesty of the Catholic priest began shortly after the war. He was beatified in 1985, but to become a saint required another miracle. It came from an American father who was supposed to have been cured of cancer in 2004 after touching a piece of Brandsma’s clothes and praying to father Titus. The Pope has had enough and makes Titus Brandsma the weekend of Sunday 15 May in St. Peter’s Church in Rome.

ALSO READ: Titus Brandsma canonized on 15 May: ‘Special and great moment’

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