Sunday, June 12, 2005

12 June -- If it weren't Sunday. . .

. . .Carmelites would be celebrating the feast either of St Alphonsus Mary Mazurek or of Bl Hilarion Januszewski. St Alphonsus was of the Discalced branch of the Order and Bl Hilarion of the Ancient Observance.

A little page on St Alphonsus Mary can be found here. It includes a small "life" of this martyr of the Nazis and some of the texts for his feast day in the new Liturgy of the Hours.

Bl Hilarion (or Hilary) was another martyr of the Nazis, dying in Dachau in 1945 a few days before the liberation of the camp. I haven't found a website giving his story, but this precis is from a Carmelite source:

Hilary Januszewski was born on 11 June 1907 in Krajenki (Poland) and was
given the name of Pawel. He received a Christian education from his
parents, Martin and Marianne. He attended the college in Greblin (where his
family lived from 1915), and then continued his studies at the Institute of
Suchary, but had to abandon these due to economic difficulties of the
family. He took up other studies and in 1927 entered the Order of Carmel.
He was ordained priest on 15 July 1934. He obtained his lectorate in
theology and the prize for the best students of the Roman Academy of St.
Thomas and in 1935 returned to Poland to the monastery in Cracow. On his
return to Poland he was appointed professor of Dogmatic Theology and Church
History at the institute of the Polish Province in Cracow. On 1 November
1939, Fr. Eliseus Sánchez-Paredes, Provincial, appointed him prior of the
community. At that time, Poland had already been occupied by the Germans a
few weeks earlier. One year later, the invaders decreed the arrest of many
religious and priests. On 18 September 1940 the Gestapo deported four
friars from the Carmel in Cracow. In December, when other friars were
arrested, Fr. Hilary decided to present himself in exchange for an older
and sick friar. In April 1941 to the concentration camp of Dachau. There he
was a model of prayer life, encouraging others and giving hope for a better
tomorrow. Together with the other Carmelites, among whom was Blessed Titus
Brandsma, they often joined in prayer. To help the sick, 32 priests
presented themselves to the authorities. A couple of days later, Fr. Hilary
Januszewski spontaneously joined the group. His apostolate lasted 21 days
because, infected by typhus, he died on 25 March 1945, a few days before
the liberation of the concentration camp. His body was cremated in the
crematorium of Dachau. Fr. Hilary Januszewski was beatified by John Paul II
on 13 June 1999, during his apostolic visit to Warsaw (Poland). On this
occasion the Pope beatified 108 Polish martyrs of the Second World War,
victims of Nazi persecution.

The collect for his feast day can be found here.

[Addendum: The same vita reprinted above can be found here. There is also this letter of Fr Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm. written on the occasion of the beatification which provides more detail and insight.]

Both these memorials are obligatory in the Pauline rite. And it seems to me we are in especial need of the prayers and examples of these martyrs. Although, the Nazi party and its official machinery lost the second world war, its eugenic theories and anti-life creed seem very close to a complete victory throughout the western world. St Alphonsus and Bl Hilary, for us.