Pope recognizes martyrdom of priest, 15 nuns killed during World War II

Pope Francis authorizes the promulgation of several decrees recognizing the martyrdom of a priest guillotined in Nazi Germany and 15 German-born nuns killed in the Soviet Union, as well as miracles attributed to three Venerables.

Mar 15, 2024

VATICAN: Among the soon-to-be Beatified are 16 martyrs, killed out of hatred for the faith under Nazism and Soviet communism. The group includes a priest guillotined in Nazi Germany and 15 nuns of German origin killed by soldiers of the Red Army or who died in concentration camps in Soviet Russia.

On Thursday, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the promulgation of the decrees related to 25 Catholic women and men.

The decrees include recognition of the martyrdom of 15 German-born women religious who were serving in Poland during the invasion by the Red Army.

Sr. Christophora Klomfass and her 14 companions of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr (CSC) died in 1945.

The nuns were killed out of hatred for the faith by Soviet soldiers, enduring rape, torture, and death due to hardship, maltreatment, or diseases in concentration camps in Soviet Russia. As a fierce sign of contempt for the Christian faith, their tormentors often cut and tore their religious clothing.

A priest for peace and ecumenism during Hitler's time
Fr. Max Josef Metzger, a German diocesan priest and founder of the Secular Institute Societas Christi Regis, was killed on April 17, 1944, in Nazi Germany.

The priest was active in pacifist and ecumenical movements, and in 1917 he founded the Universal Peace League of the White Cross. Ten years later, he participated as a Catholic observer at the Lausanne Assembly, which gave rise to the Ecumenical Council of Churches.

Upon the rise of Nazism, he spoke out openly against Hitler. He was first arrested in 1939 and a second time in 1943.

Sentenced to death, he was guillotined on April 17, 1944, in the Brandenburg-Görden prison. He was aware that his commitment to peace and ecumenism, as well as his refusal of the Nazi regime in the name of Christ, could cost him his life.

The other future Beatified
Pope Francis also recognized miracles attributed to the intercession of three Venerables, clearing the way for their beatification.

Among the future new Beatified is also the Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Stephane Douayhy, Lebanese, who lived in the 17th century (1630-1704). He performed an intense work of assistance to the poor and in favor of ecumenical dialogue between East and West.

The Pope also cleared the way for the beatification of Venerable José Torres Padilla, a Spanish diocesan priest, co-founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross (1811-1878), and Venerable Camillo Costa de Beauregard, a French diocesan priest (1841-1910), nicknamed the "father of orphans" for founding the Le Bocage orphanage in Chambery.

Seven new Venerables

The seven new venerables are:

-  Geevarghese Thomas Panickaruveetil Mar Ivanios, Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, founder in 1919 of the Congregations of the Order of the Imitation of Christ Bethany Ashram and the Sisters of the Imitation of Christ Bethany Madhom, a pioneer of ecumenism in India and first bishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church;

-  Brazilian Fr. Liberio Rodrigues Moreira, (1884-1980) who spent his life for the sick and the poor and lived with deep Christian spirit the trials of life, tireless adorer of the Eucharist;

-  Professed layman Antonio Tomi?i?, (1901-1981) a Croatian of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, who during the years of communism, when wearing religious signs in public provoked ridicule and hostility, never took off his habit, enduring public insults and persevering, with firm trust in the Lord, in his quest for the needs of the brothers;

-  Italian laywoman and mother Maddalena Frescobaldi Capponi, (1771-1839) founder of the Congregation of the Passionist Sisters of St. Paul of the Cross;

-  Maria Alfinda Hawthorne, (1851-1926) founder of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Rose of Lima, born in the mid-19th century to a Protestant family in the US state of Massachusetts and became Catholic in Europe along with her husband, from whom she separated due to his alcoholism, then dedicating herself to the service of Christ in cancer patients;

-  Angelina Pirini, (1922-1940) lay leader of the parish Catholic Action in Celle di Sala di Cesenatico in Emilia Romagna died in 1940;

-  Elisabetta Jacobucci, (1858-1939) professed sister of the Institute of the Alcantarine Franciscan Tertiaries, lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. She was always willing to accept the most humble tasks, and managed to combine the ascetic aspect of the contemplation of the Passion with an intense charitable apostolate for orphans and the elderly.--Vatican News

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