Born 1881 Anno Brandsma to Titus and Tjitsje Brandsma, small dairy farmers in Friesland, Holland. Five of their six children entered religious life. Titus began his studies with the Franciscans, and entered the Carmelite novitiate in Boxmeer in 1898, taking his father's name Titus for his religious name. He was ordained in 1905, studied at the Roman Gregorian University, and graduated in 1909 with a doctorate in philosophy.
Titus dedicated his life to education, particularly to Carmelite mysticism, philosophy, and journalism. In 1923 he helped found the Catholic University of Nijmegen in Holland, where he taught and served as rector. In 1935, he completed a lecture tour in the United States at various Carmelite institutions, and in the same year he was appointed by his archbishop to serve as advisor to Catholic journalists in Holland.
In January of 1942, the Third Reich had invaded Holland and ordered Catholic newspapers to print Nazi propaganda. Titus hand-delivered a letter written by the Dutch bishops to the editors of 14 newspapers asking them not to obey before he was arrested on the 19th of January. By the 19th of June, he was in Dachau concentration camp, where he was hospitalized. On the 26th of July he was killed by a lethal injection administered by a nurse as part of their medical experimentation on prisoners.
Blessed Titus Brandsma was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1985.
From his writings: "We do not accept the idea of emanation from the divine; we do not divinize ourselves. .... We admit descendence in dependence. We do not want a relapse into the sin of the earthly paradise, into the sin of making ourselves equal to God. We do not wish to begin a cult of heroes based on the divinization of human nature. We acknowledge the law of God and we submit to it. We do not wish to frustrate -- through an unhealthy and heady knowledge of ourselves -- our dependence on the supreme Being Who gives us existence."
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