Category Archives: Blessed maria Restituta

Reality Check: Does Having Judeo-Christian Values Make You a Candidate for Genocide?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The words–annihilation, extermination, carnage, and slaughter, to name a few, are synonyms for the word “Holocaust”. The word “genocide”not invented until 1941, fits right in there. But none of those words bring us to the core of what those words truly represent. They are the by-product of the malevolent, hideous, and hate filled evil that consumes and takes control of certain human beings.

During the 20th century, seven periods of genocide  took place. Beginning with the  Armenian Genocide of  1915-1918, moving  to the Holocaust of 1938 -1945, seeing the horrors of Rwanda in 1995 and jumping forward to today’s worldwide daily carnage, what has changed? Not a damn thing.

The pages of history are filled with countless numbers of people who have seen fit to perform evil, vicious acts against those of their own kind. It defies logic, common sense, and so many other traits that are part of the human condition. Supposedly “good” people, upstanding citizens, if empowered and able to hide behind a mantra of legality, turn on their own kind and subject them to the most incredulous pain and suffering they can conjure up. How many Nazi war criminals used the excuse of “just following orders” to justify their actions?

But we lose a sense of the horror when we talk about the “millions” of innocents annihilated. We somehow need to look at individual people to grasp a sense of what did  happen and is happening up and including this very day. In fact, history proves that the our humanity is tied together with our ancestors, those part of our present and those that will follow us in the future.

In early April I wrote about the only nun ever sentenced to death by a Nazi court. Her name was Sister Maria Restituta (now Blessed Maria). Blessed Maria’s “crime” was  that she refused to remove Crucifixes from hospital bedrooms. I would now like to mention the very first priest to die in a Nazi concentration camp. Just like Blessed Maria he was also born in Austria. His name was Otto Neururer.

Father Neururer was a parish priest and a young woman came to him seeking advice. She wanted to know whether or not she should marry a divorced man. The man had a shady past and Father Otto advised her against the marriage. She told this man what Father had told her and he promptly went to his friend who was a high ranking Nazi official in the area. Father Neururer was arrested for “slander to the detriment of German marriage” and sent to Dachau Concentration Camp. From Dachau he was sent to  Buchenwald which was under the command of Martin Sommer aka “The Hangman of Buchenwald”.

While at Buchenwald, Father Neururer performed a “forbidden” Baptism. He was caught, sent to the punishment block and Martin Sommer decided to have him hung upside down. Father Neururer was left that way until he died 36 hours later. He was 58 years old and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

Demonstrating the connection from yesterday to today and onward to tomorrow let us jump ahead to  April 7, 2014. The place is Homs, Syria. Creatures of habit, most of us more than likely went through our usual daily routine of showering, brushing our teeth, having coffee, getting dressed and doing the things we usually do in whatever order we do them which is unique to each of us as individuals.

And then there were those that did not have an ordinary kind of day. One of them was Father Frans Van der Lugt a 75 year old Jesuit who had spent 50 years in Syria helping the poor and needy. This day would be his last.    

On Monday morning, April 7, masked assailants stormed into the monastery where Father Frans was tending to the remaining few dozen Christians left in Homs, (down from the 60,000 a few years earlier). These ISIS cowards dragged the 75 year old priest from the church, beat him mercilessly and then shot him in the head, killing him.

Father Fran’s crime was for being a Catholic priest and serving Jesus and loving his neighbor. What was Father Otto’s crime 70 years earlier? He was a Catholic priest serving Jesus and loving his neighbors. And dear Blessed Maria, she was just a Catholic nun and a nurse who loved Jesus and was beheaded for refusing to remove a Crucifix from a hospital wall.

To tie the entire century together lets not forget the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 thru 1918. Being part of the Judeo-Christian world means we must always be prepared and always be ready to stand up for God and Jesus and Goodness. Not one of those mentioned and the millions of their  murdered brethren ever thought  a day like that would come their way. Were they all ready to die for their faith? Would you or I be ready? Maybe it is time for ALL of us to think about that.

                                 ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

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.
                                                                               

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.