In Germany, the Discalced Carmelite family observes the memorial of Blessed Georg Häfner, priest of the Würzburg diocese who was martyred at Dachau on this date in 1942. His most famous quote, "We do not want to curse anyone..." comes from a letter to his parents three days before his transfer from Nazi detention in Würzburg to the concentration camp at Dachau. We have a translation of that tender letter in our quote of the day.
From the time he was an altar boy, Georg Häfner was very close to the Carmelite nuns in Würzburg, where he joined the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), taking the name of Aloysius of the Most Blessed Sacrament. He sang his first Mass on 21st April 1924, having been ordained on 13th April of the same year. After having carried out pastoral work in various parishes, on 12th November 1934 he was appointed Pastor of the Oberschwarzach parish; during this period Hitler was coming to power. Häfner soon came into conflict with Hitler’s agents, since he would never use the typical Hitler salute, and always defended the doctrine and rights of the Church. He was arrested on 31st October 1941 and taken to the Dachau concentration camp on 12th December the same year. His letters from Dachau show his deep faith and his capacity to pardon his executioners. Finally, exhausted by illness and, above all, by hunger, he died on 20th August 1942.
As we remember Blessed Isidore Bakanja on his feast day, this "martyr of the Scapular" calls us to follow his example of fidelity to the Blessed Virgin. We share excerpts from the homily of St. John Paul II and a brief biography from the Carmelite Order's website.
Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy, she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne, where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, during the Nazi persecution, and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Saint John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987 and canonized in Rome on October 11, 1998; the following year he proclaimed St. Teresa Benedicta a Co-Patroness of Europe.
Born in Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, Saint Titus Brandsma joined the Carmelite Order as a young man. Ordained a priest in 1905, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in Rome. He then taught in various schools in Holland and was named professor of philosophy as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to everyone. He was a professional journalist, and in 1935 he was appointed the ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists. Both before and during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands he fought, faithful to the Gospel, against the spread of Nazi ideology and for the freedom of Catholic education and of the Catholic press. For this, he was arrested and sent to a succession of prisons and concentration camps where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners and did good even to his tormentors. In 1942, after much suffering and humiliation, he was killed at Dachau. He was beatified in 1985 and canonized by Pope Francis on 15 May 2022.
On 21 June 1897, two great events occurred in the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux: she offered a photo album to Mother Marie de Gonzague for her feast day, which contains some of the most memorable photos of Thérèse and the community. And, on the same day she wrote the landmark Letter 247 to seminarian Maurice Bellière, encouraging him in his desire to become a saint. We offer our translation of a key paragraph and explain why our translation varies from others.
Joseph Mazurek was born in 1891 at Baranowka, near Lubartow, Poland. He entered the Discalced Carmelite Order in 1908, taking the religious name Alphonsus Mary of the Holy Spirit. He was ordained a priest and appointed as a professor while dedicating himself to the education of youth. Afterward, he served in his Order as prior and bursar. In 1944, after having been arrested by the troops that had invaded his country, he was shot on 28 August at Nawojowa Gora, near Krzeszowice.
From the Scheveningen prison, Titus Brandsma writes: "There was no holy card of the Virgin Mary in my breviary, yet her image is obligatory in the cell of every Carmelite; I had to find a solution for this..."
St. Oscar Arnulfo Romero was martyred on 24 March 1980 as he celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Divina Providencia cancer hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador. We have the English translation of his homily from 16 July 1977, which he preached in the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Santa Tecla El Salvador.
The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out? Contemplate the cross: from his open heart, the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell.
He proclaimed human dignity and the freedom of the Church, even in the throes of degrading persecution and death
At the end of January we had to go to Maastricht about our affairs and to Amsterdam at the end of March
May the prayers of your martyrs Blessed Alphonsus Mary and companions, prevail with you, Lord, on our behalf
She found the strength not to betray priests and friends of the community, facing death with integrity
On 22 April 1909, the agent tore the scapular from Blessed Isidore’s neck, had him pinned to the ground, and then beaten
Let Carmel echo joyfully the dying hymns that soared above when Compiègne so gladly gave its greatest witness to God’s love