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Thursday, 05 May 2022 12:19

Testimony of the Carmelite Nuns on Titus Brandsma

Is for me a sign that monastic life and work can reach far beyond its walls and that mysticism and knowledge (science) do not contradict each other but can cross-fertilize each other. Both are for me the basis for acting sincerely according to my conscience, following the example of Titus Brandsma.

Titus Brandsma had been active far and wide as a Carmelite, scientist, writer and journalist in the Netherlands. I see in his work a lived mysticism until his death in Dachau. We Carmelites strive to live the rich tradition and spirituality of our religious saints. The union with God and the proclamation of peace and love was realized by Fr. Titus in his life. We too can proclaim the Kingdom of God, especially through our presence here at the concentration camp memorial. We want to be open to the needs in the world and the concerns of the people. Titus Brandsma encourages us to do so.

Titus Brandsma ended his last report on the responsibility of his resistance against National Socialism with the wish for peace: "God bless the Netherlands, God bless Germany. God grant that both peoples may soon again stand side by side in full peace and freedom, in the recognition of God and for His glory, for the salvation and welfare of both so closely related peoples." That's all it takes to see how relevant Titus Brandsma is to my praying and working in this place, as brother nations are once again at war with each other.

For me, in this time of crisis, Titus Brandsma has become a patron of independent and honest journalists in Russia. Despite persecution and death threats, he stood up for the freedom of expression of the press and gave his life for it. He is a sign of hope and a role model. We will call on him for guidance for all journalists who act according to their conscience despite repression.

His courage is a question to me whether I also follow my conscience.

I see Titus Brandsma as a role model. He encourages me to speak out my requests before God and to include in my prayers precisely those people whom I most desire God's closeness and help. To accept everything unpleasant in everyday life, to deal sincerely with myself and others, to live consciously in this place of Dachau, to remember the innocently maltreated. That is important to me.

What had a lasting influence on my encounter with Titus Brandsma was his beatification in Rome on November 3, 1985. On Nov. 5, we experienced a large group of pilgrims from Holland who, on their way back, prayed and celebrated the Eucharist in Dachau at the place of his suffering and death. Among the pilgrims was also his niece, with whom I was able to speak for a longer time. Suddenly Blessed Titus was one of us, it was felt very clearly. Friendships were formed between our brothers and sisters OCarm. Since then I have read to know him more.

The friendship with and through Fr. Titus, which unites us with our sisters and brothers worldwide, makes me happy and grateful.

For all of us, the annual meetings with the Dutch Carmel Family remain in vivid memory. Besides the meetings, it was standing together in front of Block 26 that became a place of remembrance of Titus, where he was so close to us.  We heard the prayers and songs in his language, we were one in thanksgiving and in remembering him as sisters and brothers in his spirit.  Whenever there is an occasion for us to gather in front of Block 26, Titus is there.

When I re-meditate the life of Fr.Titus Brandsma, it always gathers me in my daily prayer and work.

He has united the spirituality of the Carmelite parent order with the Teresian, the confessions of the different Christian churches in ecumenism and God with the world.He has pointed out that mysticism is a viable path for all people in all places in everyday life because "the presence of God is always present within. "He has been able to respond to the hatred of his tormentors with love because he said, "They, too, are children of the kind God, and who knows if something won't stick to them?" (Sources: Titus Brandsma, O. Carm, Martyrs at Dachau, Georg Geisbauer.  Fiery Arrow, Encountering God in the Abyss).

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of Helig Blut

Dachau, Germany

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