Category Archives: Adolf Hitler

Meet the Only Nun Sentenced to Death by a Nazi Court: Her Crime? "Hanging" Crucifixes*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

*An edited version of this article appeared in Aleteia on April 12, 2016.

Just imagine being arrested on Ash Wednesday for the crime of “hanging Crucifixes”. I cannot imagine how I would handle it. Maybe I would have taken the Crucifixes down. Honestly, I do not know. Helena Kafka, who became known as Sister Maria Restituta, refused. She was sentenced to death. The following year, on Tuesday of Holy Week, she was executed .
May 1, 1894, was  a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth to her sixth child and mom and her daughter were both doing fine. The proud parents named their new baby girl, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had Helena baptized into the faith only thirteen days after her birth.
The ceremony took place in The Church of the Assumption, in the town of Husovice, located in Austria.  Before Helena reached her second birthday, the family had to move and settled in the city of Vienna.  This is where Helena and her siblings would remain and grow up.
Helena was a good student and worked hard. She received her First Holy Communion in St. Brigitta Church during May of 1905 and was confirmed in the same church a year later. After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping school and, by the age of 15, was working as a servant, a cook and being trained as a nurse.
In 1913, she became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital. This was Helena’s first contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and she was immediately moved to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka  joined the Franciscan sisters and on October 23, 1915, became Sister Maria Restituta. She made her final vows one year later and began working solely as a nurse.

When World War I ended Sister Maria was the lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined that one day, because of this man, their beloved nation would be annexed into the German Republic.
Blessed Maria Restituta

On  March 12, 1938, the Austrian Nazi Party pulled off a successful coup d’etat taking control of the government. These unforeseen and unimagined things had come to pass. The Nazis, under Hitler, now controlled the once proud Austrian nation.
Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built she hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms. The Nazis demanded that they be removed. Sister Restituta was told she would be dismissed if she did not comply. She refused and the crucifixes remained hanging on the walls. 
One of the doctors on staff, a fanatical Nazi, would have none of it. He denounced her to the Nazi Party and on Ash Wednesday, 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo after coming out of the operating room. The “charges” against her included, “hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.
Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than serve the sick. The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by the guillotine for “favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason”.  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She adamantly refused. She would be the only Catholic nun ever sentenced to death by the Nazis.
An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Hitler’s personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor, Martin Bormann. His response was that her execution “would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis”.  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick. Because of her love for the Crucifix and the Person who was nailed to it and died on it, she was beheaded on March 30, 1943 which also happened to be Tuesday of Holy Week. She was 48 years old.
                                                   
Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21,1998.  That was the day Helena Kafka, the girl who originally went to housekeeping school to learn how to be a servant, was beatified by the Pope and declared Blessed Maria Restituta.  She had learned how to serve extremely well. But the one she served best of all was her Savior. She gave Him her life.
Blessed Marie Restituta, please pray for us.
    

          ©LarryPeterson  2016

On Her Feast Day: Meet Blessed Maria Restituta; Holocaust Victim

IT MAKES  SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

May 1, 1894,  was  a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth  to her sixth child, a girl, and mom and her daughter were both doing fine. The proud parents named their new baby, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had  Helena baptized into the faith  thirteen days after her birth. The ceremony took place in The Church of the Assumption, in the town of Husovice located in Austria.  Before Helena reached her second birthday and due to financial circumstances, the family had to move and settled in the city of Vienna.  This is where Helena and her siblings would remain and grow up.

Helena was a good student and worked hard. She received her First Holy Communion in May of 1905 in St. Brigitta Church and was confirmed in the same church a year later. After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping school and by the age of 15 was working as a servant, a cook and learning nursing.

Shortly thereafter, she became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital in 1913. This was Helena’s first contact with the Franciscan Sisters of  Christian Charity and she was immediately moved to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka  joined the Franciscan sisters and on October 23, 1915, became Sister Maria Restituta. She made her final vows one year later and began working solely as a nurse.

SisterRestituta.jpg
Blessed Maria Restituta

When World War I ended Sister Maria was the lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined  that one day,  because of this man, their beloved nation would  be annexed into the German Republic.

 After a successful coup d’etat by the Austrian Nazi Party on  March 12, 1938, these unforeseen  and unimagined things came to pass. The Nazis, under Hitler, now controlled the once proud Austrian nation.

Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built she hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms. The Nazis demanded that they be removed telling Sister Restituta that she would be dismissed if she did not comply. She refused and the crucifixes remained  hanging on the walls  

One of the doctors on staff, a fanatical Nazi, would have none of it. He denounced her to the Nazi Party and on Ash Wednesday, 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo after coming out of the operating room. The “charges” against her included  “hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.

Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than serve the sick. The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by the guillotine for “favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason”.  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She adamantly refused.

An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor. His response was that her execution “would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis”.  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick. Because of her love for the Crucifix and the Person who was nailed to it and died on it, she was beheaded on March 30, 1943.  She was 48 years old.
                                                   
 Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21,1998.  That was the day  Helena Kafka, the girl who originally went to housekeeping school to learn how to be a servant, was beatified by the Pope and declared Blessed Maria Restituta.  She had learned how to serve extremely well  always serving others before herself.

Blessed Marie Restituta, please pray for us.
                                                                               

Evil Infects All of History: James Foley was Murdered because He Represented Goodness

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The brutal murder of journalist, James Foley, had nothing to do with James Foley.  It had to do with the fact that the man represented Goodness.  Satan, in complete charge of his conquered souls, has had them inflicting horror and terror and barbaric acts of murder and cruelty on, not only men, but on women and children as well.  This evil has been with us since time immemorial.  Let us travel back a mere 71 years and meet a sweet and kindly lady by the name of Sister Maria Restituta.

May 1, 1894, was a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth to her sixth child and mom and her daughter were doing fine.  The proud parents named their new baby, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had Helena baptized  into the faith thirteen days later at the parish of The Church of the Assumption, in the town oh Husovice in Austria.   Due to financial circumstances, Anton was forced to move his family to the big city of Vienna.  Helena was barely two and she and her siblings would remain in Vienna where they would all grow up.

Helena was a good student and worked hard.  She received her First Holy Communion in May of 1905 in St. Brigitta Church and was confirmed in the same church one year later.  After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping  school and by the age of 15 was working as a servant, a cook and learning to be a nurse.  She became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital in 1913.  This was when Helena  first had contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.  She immediately felt the call to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka, joined the Franciscan Sisters and on October 23, 1915, she became Sister Maria Restituta.  One year later she made her final vows and began working solely as a nurse.

SisterRestituta.jpg
Blessed Maria Restituta

When World War I  ended, Sister Maria  was lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined that one day their beloved nation would be annexed into the German Republic because of this man.  On March 12, 1938, a successful coup d’etat by the Austrian Nazi party took place and the Nazis, under the now feared, Adolf Hitler, took control of the once proud Austrian nation.  Things would never be the same.

Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built Sister hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms.  The Nazis demanded that they be removed telling Sister Maria that she would be dismissed if she did not comply.  She adamantly refused and the Crucifixes remained on the walls.  One of the doctors on staff, himself a fanatical Nazi, would have  none of it.  He denounced her to the Nazi Party and, on Ash Wednesday,  1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo as she exited the operating room.  The “charges” against her included   “hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.

Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Holy Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than to serve the sick.  The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by guillotine for “favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason”.  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She refused.

An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor.  His response was that her execution “would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis”.  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick.  Because of her love of the Crucifix and for the Person who was nailed to it and died hanging on it,  Sister Maria was sent to the guillotine and was beheaded on March 30, 1943.  She was 48 years old.

Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21, 1998.  That was the day that Helena Kafka, the girl who started off in housekeeping school and became a servant and then went on to be a nurse in the Franciscan Sisters of Charity, was beatified by the Pope and became Blessed Maria Restituta. She had learned how to serve extremely well, always serving others before herself.

Let us ask Blessed Maria that she pray for the repose of the soul of James Foley who was murdered by the forces of evil because he, too, represented Goodness.  We ask her to remember his family and friends as they deal with this terrible abomination done to their loved one.  We also ask Blessed Maria and all the saints to pray for us all.
                                                                                                             

"The Scandal that is a "Shameful Silence"


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson                                                         

“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”   Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler.  His book, “The Cost of Discipleship”, has become a classic.  Focusing on the “Sermon on the Mount”, the book more or less spelled out what  Bonhoeffer thought was the true way to follow Christ.  In addition to his theological writings and teaching, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a staunch, anti Nazi dissident.  He spoke out vigorously against Hitler’s euthanasia and genocidal persecution of the Jews and, in so doing,  became a hated enemy of the Third Reich. As such, he was arrested in April 1943 and on April 9, 1945 was hanged, accused of  the ambiguous crime of “plotting against the Nazis”.

We move ahead 69 years to 2014.  The following is a statement from His Grace, Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Diocese of  Melbourne:
“The world watches in silence as the last Christians are expelled from Mosul, Iraq, in one of the most merciless and barbaric acts of genocide we have seen in the 21st  Century.”

We are absolutely fascinating creatures, we humans are.  Many of our species can be so kind and compassionate, loving and gentle, sweet and understanding.  Many people will save a tiny bird with an injured wing or a cat stuck up in a tree.  They will send money to perfect strangers to help them through a crisis.  They will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and give drink to the thirsty.

Then you flip the coin over and you have many of the very same species who are filled with a self-gratification which culminates in a hate and disdain for others of their own kind.  These include those who will torture and kill their fellow humans  for the most obtuse reasons such as:  religion, skin color, birthplace,  political beliefs or whatever other self-serving reason a murderer may come up with.  Many kill and torture saying they were “only following orders” and had no choice. Others kill because of pride fueled by envy and greed.

So I ask why?  Why are we, all of the same species, so different in our hearts?  How can some of us kill and others forgive them for doing so?   Why do some of us willingly and joyfully give of ourselves for people we may not even know?  Why do some of us  hate others they may not even know?  Why are there those that love their fellow human being unconditionally?  The answer has to be because of the very existence of “good vs evil”.  What is “Good vs Evil”?  I can tell you what it is and I do not care if you disagree. It  is the war waged by Satan and those that follow him against  the God of Love that created him and all of his followers.  If you take a breath and look at the world of today and then glance back at yesterday and the centuries before, what has changed in the hearts of man?

Mosul,  the very cradle of Christianity, can trace the followers of Jesus back to the first century.  As of today it seems that the entire Christian population of Mosul has been purged from this ancient and historic city.  Murder, including beheading of  civilians and the wanton murder of women and children has virtually eradicated the city’s Christians.  And what do we see and hear from the print and broadcast media?  We hear the sound of nothing. We hear the sound of a “Shameful  Silence” that reverberates throughout the very souls of all the people vanquished because they were Christians.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”  He was hanged by the Nazis for his “crimes” over 70 years ago.  What has changed? The press was quiet then as the Nazis purged the world of the “hated Jew”.  Most of the main stream media (print and broadcast) is quiet now as the Islamists purge the world of the “hated Christian”.  The Shameful Silence is a disgrace.  Nothing has changed, nothing at all.

The Genocide Continues–but Without the Music

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The pages of history are littered with the evil purveyors of death by genocide.  But the Nazis have to be awarded Satan’s Black Medal of Evil.  They managed to accomplish the three Ps all at the same time: proficiency, productivity and performance.  Yup, no one has ever killed so many innocents with the efficiency of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

These disciples of all that is evil, even fine-tuned the process to a point where they had orchestras playing music as the doomed were “merrily” paraded to their deaths.   The irony was that the Nazis had silenced Jewish musicians throughout Germany and their occupied countries.  Then some of the upper echelon “death designers”,  in their ongoing quest to speed up and expedite the extermination process, decided to add beautiful music to the blood curdling screams coming from those about to die.  So they began rounding up the silenced musicians, gathered up confiscated instruments (including many grand pianos) and distributed them to death camps.  The orders were for the commanders of these camps to put together an orchestra and have them play music for the prisoners as they departed the death trains and as they were marched to their deaths.

Imagine the utter callousness of the conquerors.  They decided to use orchestras to drown out the anguished cries coming from the camps.  The prisoners dubbed this practice, “Symphonia Diabolica” or the “Devil’s Symphony”.  At the Janowska concentration camp located near Ukraine, SS officer Wilhelm Rokita, a former violinist, ordered the inmate orchestra to compose something a bit more “lively” than the standard classical fare. They came up with a little ditty called, “Tango fun toyt” or “Tango of  Death”.  This piece had some ‘bounce” to it and it encouraged the condemned to “move more quickly” as they were herded to their executions.  This is hard to even imagine but it happened and was orchestrated by folks who not long before were, for the most part,  regular, hardworking, family types who seemingly would not hurt anyone or anything.  It is proof that we must never, ever underestimate the power and influence of evil.

That was then and this is now.  What has changed?  The genocide continues—but without the music.  As we sit and move through our day Christians and Jews are the targets of the the forces of the Evil One.  I do not mean to minimize what is happening in Gaza but there is an  intentional massacre and elimination of Christians and Christianity taking place in Iraq and other places.  One third of Iraq has already been conquered by Islamist radicals who have declared the territory a new Caliphate.  This means that this is now a Muslim nation under Sharia Law and the Constitution of Medina.  There is NO place for Christianity in this place.  The entire nation of Iraq is targeted for complete  takeover.

There are no up to date numbers as to how many Catholics and non-Catholic Christians have been executed.  All Christians have been ordered to convert to Islam or leave the city immediately, leaving their belongings behind.  Penalty for non-compliance is  immediate death.  The Islamist maniacs and butchers have no concentration camps and there is definitely no music being played.  These evil-doers simply kill you and they actually seem to get “joy” from lopping off the head of an “infidel”.  Where is the world’s outrage?

There were supposedly one million plus Christians in Iraq before 2003.  The last number (before the US completely pulled out) was 400, 000.  There are unconfirmed reports from Mosul that all women between the ages of 11 and 46 will have to go for immediate “circumcision”.  What kind of medieval, barbaric behavior is this.  Why aren’t the women’s organizations screaming about this?   Why isn’t our mainstream media reporting it?  Why hasn’t our administration  engaged with this?  American dead from the Iraq war comes to 4800.  Almost 32,000 Americans were wounded.  We stabilized that nation and now it is being stolen away by lunatics.  Doesn’t anyone give a damn?  We are not only watching the annihilation of Christianity in the mid-east but Christianity is under attack all over the world.

Violence against Christians has become a global epidemic.  From North Korea, to Syria, to Iraq, and Libya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan,  Iran, and most of  sub-Saharan Africa, Christians are being tortured and killed.  In Europe they are being slowly but surely minimized on their way to the secular and Islamist goal of eradication.

Right here, in the United States of America, the land of the “free”, Christianity is being portrayed as indifferent and intolerant because it stands its ground against the forces of secularism.  There are Americans who want to purge it from the public square, this in a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles.   We have those who are offended by a cross and go to court to have it removed.  They must not have a clue as to how they are chipping away at the very foundation of the greatest nation ever to exist.

They might want to consider that the Islamist radicals want them dead too.  They hate them as much as they hate any Christian simply because they are American.  They hate anyone that doesn’t defer to their religious fanaticism.  If they ever manage to come here they will not be playing music.  It is time for everyone to pray.

                                                                                             

70 years Later: Remembering D-Day: What Price Freedom? It is Always "Blood & Treasure".

by Larry Peterson

LCVP Landing Craft at Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944

June 6, 1944: It was 6:30 a.m. in France.  In America it was 12:30 a.m. on the East Coast and still June 5 on the West Coast.  Most Americans at home were sleeping not having the slightest inkling that many of the best and the bravest of the American future were beginning their day by dying  for the most noble of reasons; to save the world from the maniacal Adolf  Hitler and his Nazi hordes. What price freedom?

Look at the photo to the right. Those young men in that LCVP were about to land on the beach. They were probably so frightened as those sand dunes got closer and closer.  The fear was normal and justified. Fifteen (15) minutes after that picture was taken many of them were dead. Just like that. Sons, brothers, husbands, gone. Shredded by the relentless machine gun fire coming from the German bunkers.  Many killed were still teenagers. What price freedom?  The price never changes. It is always “blood and treasure”, isn’t it?

Word of the invasion quickly reached the Jewish ghetto in  Lodz, Poland.  German authorities, hearing these “rumors”, quickly began searching the ghetto for illegal radios. Six Jews were promptly arrested and just as promptly executed.  On the island of Corfu, located west of Greece, 1800 Jews were arrested by the Gestapo and summarily deported to Auschwitz. Upon detraining the transports, 1600 were immediately murdered in the gas chambers and the remaining 200 were sent off to forced labor. As word of the invasion began to take hold the Nazis took a ship with 260 Canean Jewish “passengers” aboard plus an untold number of corpses of Jews already murdered by the Nazis and sank it to destroy the evidence. The noose around the neck of the Third Reich was beginning to tighten. Another ship, bound for the trains to Auschwitz, was sunk by torpedoes from a British submarine. Besides all the Jewish people on board there were also 300 Italian POWs and 400 Greek civilians.  It was still June 6 and, as young men were dying by the thousands on the beaches of France, an uptick in the extermination of the Jewish people began to take hold.

We know that Operation Overlord turned the tide of WWII in favor of the allies. It was the beginning of the end of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler and his evil henchmen. Casualty numbers for the Normandy Invasion still stagger the mind. 29,000 Americans were killed and 106, 000 were wounded.  The British suffered 11,000  killed and 54,000 wounded. The Canadians lost 5,000 killed and 13,000 wounded.  The French, fighting as partisans, lost 12,200 killed and missing. The casualties were mind boggling. The allies lost 57,000 killed and more than 175,000 wounded. Factor in the 30,000 Germans killed and 80,000 wounded and it is simply hard to comprehend how one man, filled with an ego so massive it knew no bounds, could somehow influence such evil and destruction. But Adolf Hitler managed to do just that.  As always, evil could not and did not prevail.  But the cost to defend the freedoms threatened were profound. What price freedom?  It is always, just as it is to this very day, “blood and treasure”.  It is always mostly taken from the young

It would be almost another year before the war in Europe ended. On April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler committed suicide in a bunker as the Battle of Berlin raged above.  On May 8, 1945, the war in Europe came to its official end with the German surrender.  It was President Harry Truman’s 61st birthday.  He dedicated the victory to his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died only a month before.

Operation Overlord, aka D-Day, was the largest undertaking of its kind in the history of mankind. Thousands upon thousands of  soldiers: American, British, Canadian, French and others too, died that day. Many more were wounded.  An evil had taken root and festered and exploded like an unstoppable virus infecting  and killing millions.  But honor and integrity and justice coupled with a permeating belief in an almighty God saw victory come to those who respected GOODNESS.  What price freedom?  The price is always “blood and treasure”. The alternative is bondage and tyranny.
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fast forward 70 years:

 On June 3, 2014,  Boko-Haram Islamist Militants (modern day, 21st Century cowardly and evil storm-troopers) entered the town of Gwoza in Nigeria. They were wanting to kill Christians. And kill they did. After they finished their “mission” of killing they had left behind at least 168 people dead, mostly women and children. An elderly Christian man faced the Boko-Haram and yelled, “IF YOU DO NOT REPENT OF KILLING INNOCENT CHRISTIANS THAT BELIEVE IN JESUS, THEIR BLOOD WILL JUDGE YOU.”

This statement enraged the insurgents and they slashed the man’s body apart with their swords. Then they beheaded him.  He was 80 years old.  He died defending Jesus.  Whether it is a Jew or a Christian, not much has changed in 70 years.  Persecution of Christians and Jews continues.  The Nazis were ultimately crushed by GOODNESS.  Boko-Haram will be crushed the same way.  Make no mistake, the Battle for Goodness will require much blood and treasure but the battle will eventually be won.  For those yesterday, today and tomorrow who have fought, fight and will fight the evil in this world, God bless you all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Meet Blessed Maria Restituta; Holocaust Victim: Executed for Hanging A Crucifix in a Hospital Room

by Larry Peterson

May 1, 1894,  was  a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth  to her sixth child, a girl, and mom and her daughter were both doing fine. The proud parents named their new baby, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had  Helena  baptized into the faith thirteen days after her birth in their parish church, The Church of the Assumption, in the town of Husovice located in Austria.  Before Helena reached her second birthday and due to financial circumstances, the family had to move and settled in the city of Vienna.  This is where Helena and her siblings would remain and grow up.

Helena was a good student and worked hard. She received her First Holy Communion in May of 1905 in St. Brigitta Church and was confirmed in the same church a year later. After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping school and by the age of 15 was working as a servant, a cook and learning nursing. She became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital in 1913. This was Helena’s first contact with the Franciscan Sisters of  Christian Charity and she was immediately moved to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka  joined the Franciscan sisters and on October 23, 1915, became Sister Maria Restituta. She made her final vows one year later and began working solely as a nurse.

When World War I ended Sister Maria was the lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined  that one day their beloved nation would  be annexed into the German Republic because of this man.  After a successful coup d’etat by the Austrian Nazi Party on  March 12, 1938, these unforeseen  and unimagined things came to pass. The Nazis, under Hitler, now controlled the once proud Austrian nation.

Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built she hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms. The Nazis demanded that they be removed telling Sister Restituta that she would be dismissed if she did not comply. She refused and the crucifixes remained  hanging on the walls   One of the doctors on staff, a fanatical Nazi, would have none of it. He denounced her to the Nazi Party and on Ash Wednesday, 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo after coming out of the operating room. The “charges” against her included  “hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.

Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her catholic faith and filled with the Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than serve the sick. The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by the guillotine for “favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason”.  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She adamantly refused.  An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor. His response was that her execution “would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis”.  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick. Because of her love for the Crucifix and the Person who was nailed to it and died on it, she was beheaded on March 30, 1943.  She was 48 years old.                                                      

SisterRestituta.jpg
Blessed Maria Restituta

 Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21,1998.  That was the day  Helena Kafka, the girl who originally went to housekeeping school to learn how to be a servant, was beatified by the Pope and declared Blessed Maria Restituta.  She had learned how to serve extremely well  always serving others before herself.

Blessed Marie Restituta, please pray for us.