Titus Brandsma

Titus_Brandsma-221x300 Feast Day: July 27
Beatified: November 3, 1985
Venerated: November 9, 1984

Titus came from a Catholic family in the Netherlands that actively encouraged the children to serve the Lord. Three of Titus’ sisters became nuns, and a brother became a Franciscan priest. Titus was ordained a Carmelite priest in 1905, when he was 24 years old.

Titus taught theology at the Catholic University in the Netherlands for nearly 20 years. He was also a newspaper journalist, author, and popular speaker. He was greatly respected for his holiness and his gift for giving spiritual advice.

He saw the Nazi party in Germany as a growing threat, even in Holland, where he lived. Titus warned Catholic newspapers not to print the lies the Nazis were spreading about the Jewish people and other groups. He spoke out against the anti-Jewish laws the Nazis passed in Germany. The Nazis knew about Titus’ actions. They called him that “dangerous little friar.” When Catholic newspapers refused to print Nazi propaganda, the Nazis realized Titus was a true threat.

Titus was arrested when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. He was questioned by the Nazi secret police. They offered Titus a deal: they would allow him to live a quiet life in a monastery if he would announce that Catholic newspapers should publish Nazi teachings. Titus refused.

The Nazis sent Titus to Dachau, a German concentration camp, in 1942. He was forced to do hard labor and was starved. He was beaten almost every day. He urged his fellow prisoners to pray for their guards. When he grew too weak to work, he was poisoned. At his death on July 26, he gave the doctor who administered the lethal injection his rosary.

When Pope John Paul II declared Titus “Blessed” in 1985, he said that Titus answered hate with love. Blessed Titus lived Jesus’ words: “Love your enemies and do good to them” (Luke 6:35).

Connecting with Blest Are We® Parish and School
The Story of Our Church, chapter 12