Tuesday, July 26, 2011
July 26 -- Feast of Saint Shorty
Okay, his real name was Titus Brandsma, and he's a beatus, not a saint. Actually, his name was Anno, but he took the name Titus when he received holy orders. However, Shorty was his nickname.
In spite of the heavy Calvinism in his homeland (Friesland, in the Netherlands), his family were devout Catholics. All three of his sisters became nuns and his brother became a Franciscan priest. He too was on track to be a Franciscan but intestinal difficulties made that impossible, so he became a Carmelite instead. [I have no good idea what the dietary differences in the two orders are, but I guess one must have more fiber in the diet.]
In addition to being a priest and a translator, he was a newspaper editor, a university president, and a popular lecturer. I like the image of a cigar-smoking (a frequent habit of his, though the only tobacco-related photo I can find shows a pipe) news editor who speaks five languages and wear's a priest's cassock. This guy could be the heart of a really cool TV series.
He wrote very critically about the Nazis from 1935 on. As the official ecclesiastical adviser to journalists, he declared that no Catholic publication could print Nazi propaganda and still call itself Catholic. He wrote against the anti-Jewish marriage laws.
The denouement is predictable. The Nazis invaded the Netherlands and he was arrested by the Gestapo. After a few weeks of abuse in a local prison, he was deported to Dachau for the heavy abuse and exploitation. He urged his fellow prisoners to pray for the souls of the guards, which frankly, is asking a hell of a lot. If that alone doesn't get him sainthood, there's not much justice in the canon. Eventually he was transferred to the medical unit for experiments; when his experiment was complete, he was executed and cremated.
Posted by Tom Major at 4:00 AM