“Following orders, today I was forced to declare that I am not a member of the Jewish race. Obviously, I am pure Frisian. But this is very painful for the Jews. I must stand alongside them.”St. Titus Brandsma
27 October 1941
The fire never died out in Oegeklooster on the frigid night between 21-22 February 1881. The Brandsmas were impatiently awaiting the birth of a new shoot. It would be their fifth.
The newcomer was born in the early hours of 23 February, and his arrival filled the entire family of hardworking farmers with joy. It was a boy, another pair of hands to work their enormous farm.
Overcome with gratitude the father fell to his knees, thanking God because at last his four daughters had been joined by the hoped-for male heir. Following this newborn son, there was to be another brother.
Everyone who saw the infant praised his delicate complexion and agreed that he looked like his mother.
In accord with the old ways, that same afternoon the entire family hurried to the parish church to baptize the newcomer. He was given typically Frisian names: Anno Sjoerd. St. Anno had been a famous Bishop of Cologne who had founded monasteries in the northern part of Europe around 1056.
Miguel Arribas, O.Carm.
Chapter 1, A shoot from good stock (excerpt)
Arribas O.Carm., M 2021, The Price of Truth: Titus Brandsma, Carmelite, Carmelite Media, Darien, Illinois.
Featured image: Titus Brandsma at approximately 15 or 16 years of age, before he entered the Carmelites. Image credit: Nederlands Carmelitaans Instituut / Carmelite General Curia (used by permission)
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