Sunday, March 27, 2011
March 30 -- Feast of Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka
Sister Maria Restituta was born Helen Kafka, the sixth daughter of a shoemaker. She grew up in a working class, immigrant neighborhood of Vienna, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Empire was a tossed salad of ethnicities, but eventually they'd all be sorted back into their own nations following the catastrophe that was World War I.
Helen became a nun, renaming herself after a fourth century martyr. I'd like to think if she'd picked another name, she'd have lived longer, but the truth is that Nazi-occupied Austria was no safe haven for nuns (among other undesirables).
She was working as a surgical nurse at the Modling Hospital when they came for her. She had written a couple of articles criticizing the Anschluss, the German annexation of Austria. She also refused to take down the crucifixes she had hung in every room of a new wing in the hospital. Some rat-bastard Nazi doctor reported her, and she was arrested on Ash Wednesday, 1942, just as she was coming out of the operating room.
She was sentenced to death by the guillotine for "favoring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason." None other than Martin Borman upheld the sentence, contending that it would prove effective deterrence for other would-be critics. She lost her head on March 30, 1943 after declining an offer of freedom if she would ditch the Church.
The sculpture depicted in the photo above is somewhat controversial. It is described at this site.
Posted by Tom Major at 11:57 AM