World War II Martyr Titus Brandsma to Be Canonized With Charles de Foucauld

The May 15 Mass at the Vatican will now celebrate a total of 10 people the Catholic Church has recognized as saints, after miracles were confirmed to have taken place through their intercession.

L to R: Titus Brandsma and Charles de Foucauld
L to R: Titus Brandsma and Charles de Foucauld (photo: GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL)/Public domain. / GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL)/Public domain; via CNA)

The World War II martyr Titus Brandsma and two other blesseds will be declared saints at a canonization Mass on May 15, Pope Francis indicated on Friday.

The decision was made through a vote of cardinals during an ordinary consistory at the Vatican on March 4.

A consistory, which is attended by all the cardinals present in Rome, is the final step in the canonization process and allows a date to be set for a canonization Mass. The consistory took place after the praying of Terce, or mid-morning prayer, from the Liturgy of the Hours.

Two religious women will also be declared saints on May 15: Blessed Carolina Santocanale (1852-1923), known as Maria of Jesus, the Italian founder of the Capuchin Sisters of Immaculate Mary of Lourdes; and Blessed Marie Rivier (1768–1838), a nun who founded a religious congregation amid the French Revolution.

The May 15 Mass at the Vatican was already scheduled for the canonization of Blessed Charles de Foucauld and six other blesseds.

The Mass will now celebrate a total of 10 people the Catholic Church has recognized as saints, after miracles were confirmed to have taken place through their intercession.

The May 15 ceremony will be the Catholic Church’s first canonization Mass since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. It will take place two years and seven months after the most recent canonization, that of St. John Henry Newman and four others in October 2019.

Titus Brandsma, a priest, professor and journalist, was born Anno Sjoerd Brandsma in Oegeklooster, in the province of Friesland, on Feb. 23, 1881. He entered the Carmelite novitiate in 1898, taking the religious name Titus. He was ordained a priest in 1905.

Following Germany’s invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, Brandsma defended the freedom of Catholic education and the Catholic press against Nazi pressures.

After he firmly opposed mandatory Nazi propaganda in Catholic newspapers, he was arrested in January 1942.

He was transferred to Dachau, once described as “the largest priest cemetery in the world,” on June 19 that year. He died on July 26, following a lethal injection.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 3, 1985, as a martyr for the faith.

The first major biography of his life and witness was recently published.

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