Monday 6 May 2019

Edith Stein, Marcel Callo, Titus Brandsma: Victims of the Nazis - Catholic Truth Society - CTS 20th Century Martyrs

Edith Stein, Marcel Callo, Titus Brandsma:
Victims of the Nazis
CTS 20th Century Martyrs
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860820151
eISBN 9781784694883
ASIN B075P338D3

In just over a year I have read 70 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I have been asked by more that one friend why these books and booklets have taken such a precedence in my reading, especially when I have a university degree in Religious Studies and focused on Roman Catholic Thought. First there is such a wide range of topics and so many great series. Second there have been books that have served as introduction to new topics or so focused they provide great information in such small concise volumes. And, finally, as with the case of this one, over half of the books I have read are about people, Saints, Martyrs, and other people of faith. This is the third book that I have read that is about Victims of the Nazis. And with each one I have a greater understanding of the holocaust, and those who lived their faith in those terrible situations.

This volume is different than the others I have read in this series. This is actually three separate biographies by three separate authors.

Edith Stein by Monk Matthew
Marcel Callo by M.N.L. Couve de Murville
Titus Brandsma by Hugh Clark

The chapters in the volume are:

Edith Stein
Early Life
Atheism and Philosophy
Approaching conversion
Deeper stirrings
Teaching at a Convent
The Maturing of her Faith
A Discalced Carmelite
The Nazis close in

Marcel Callo
Early Life
Young Christian Worker
Letters From Prison
“The Church”
Concentration Camp
Marcel’s Death
A Healer Of Memories

Titus Brandsma
Early Years
Novice and Student
Professor and Journalist
Apostle for Christ
The Carmelite
Last Days of Freedom
A ‘hotel’ in Scheveningen
Number 58 in Amersfoot
Towards Dachau

I was very familiar with the story of Edith, but do not recall encountering Marco or Titus previously. This booklet was first published in 1997, and the eBook edition was published in 2017. In the preface it is stated by M.N.L. Couve de Murville:

“That is why the CTS is republishing the lives of seven victims of the Nazi regime in Germany. As recorded in the two booklets Victims of the Nazis, these are the stories of one German Jewess, two German priests, two laymen (one Austrian the other French) and two friars (one a Pole and the other a Dutchman). They all chose to lay down their lives rather than accept an evil political system based on totalitarianism and racism. They died because of their fidelity to Christ and his Church. Their witness must not be forgotten.”

And earlier in the preface:

“The redemptive work of Christ is manifested in the lives of men and women who are his followers. The Church has always been careful to preserve the records of those who were outstanding in the service of God and their fellow human beings. As the Pope says, “the martyrologium of the first centuries was the basis of the veneration of the Saints. By proclaiming and venerating the holiness of her sons and daughters, the Church gave the supreme honour to God himself; in the martyrs she venerated Christ, who was the origin of their martyrdom and their holiness.” (Tertio Millennio Adveniente.)”

Following the news from around the world, especially in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific the church is again at a time where there are many dying for the faith. Reading this book will help to fortify our faith and provides examples of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. But this volume not only provides three succinct biographies and stories of martyrdom, it also speaks to the lasting impact of their lives, and the impact on those who have a devotion to them. For example:

“But it is necessary to go beyond commemoration. The cult of Marcel Callo is strong in Germany where he is seen as one who intercedes for the land where he suffered martyrdom. As such he is no longer only a memory, but a healer of memories. He can help the German people to come to terms with their past. The innumerable sufferers of the Nazi regime are represented in Marcel and in the other victims who accepted to die in union with Christ, the pure victim. As victims who do not victimise they are no longer merely a terrible reproach. They can reconcile others to God. To be such a victim it is necessary not only to be killed but to forgive one’s killers; that is the price of redemption.”

This is a an excellent read. It is not an easy read, but most books about the Holocaust are not. But they are important reads. They are books that we need to read and need to remember. Especially as anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism are on the rise, in Europe and around the world. Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society. I encourage you to give it a read and track down others in the 20th Century Martyrs Series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the 20th Century Martyrs Series:
Sophie Scholl and the White Rose: Resistance to the Nazis - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Johann Gruber & Jacques Bunel Victims of the Nazis - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Maximilian Kolbe, F. Jagerstatter, K. Leisner, R. Mayer: Victims of the Nazis - Franz Jagerstatter
Edith Stein, Marcel Callo, Titus Brandsma: Victims of the Nazis – Matthew Monk
Saint Maria Goretti: Teenage Martyr for Chastity - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
The Atlas Martyrs – Jean Olwen Maynard

Jerzy Popieluszko Victim of Communism - Grazyna Sikorski
Isidore Bankanja - Jean Maynard

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