July 26th, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881-1942). Dutch priest, educator, journalist and modern mystic, Brandsma’s life demonstrated a very close relationship between mysticism and a firm commitment in the world to the dignity of the human person. He was noted for his readiness to receive anyone in difficulty and to help in whatever way he could.
In the period leading up to and during the Nazi occupation in Holland, he argued passionately against the National Socialist ideology, basing his stand on the Gospels and defending the right to freedom in education and for the Catholic Press. This stance led to his imprisonment. So began his Calvary, which brought him great personal suffering and degradation even as Titus himself brought solace and comfort to the other prisoners and begged God’s blessing on his jailers. In the midst of such inhuman suffering, he possessed the precious ability to bring an awareness of goodness, love and peace. His love for Mary, Splendor of Carmel, was a reflection of his deep, intimate relationship with her, whom Carmelites call Mother and Sister. During his incarceration, he passed from one prison or camp to another until finally he arrived in Dachau where he was killed on 26th July 1942. He was beatified as a martyr by Pope John Paul II on the 3rd of November, 1985.
To commemorate this 75th Anniversary of Blessed Titus Bransdma’s martyrdom, over the course of the next year we will intensify our efforts for his canonization with prayer as well as selections of his writings and reflections from others on his life and witness. It is our sincere hope that the frail, bookish clergyman with the big cigar, labeled “that dangerous little friar” by his enemies will become more widely known and loved as the friar, preacher, mystic, professor, journalist and Carmelite he was.