Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 12 August – The Angel of Comfort

Thought for the Day – 12 August – The Memorial of Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr – Ordained in Dachau Concentration Camp – A VICTOR IN CHAINS! VICTOR IN VINCULIS

An unimaginable event took place that Sunday morning, 17 December 1944, in Camp 26 of the Dachau concentration camp—Karl Leisner, the prisoner who was always smiling, who for five years had been the consoling angel to his fellow sufferers, was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ. Seriously ill, he was near exhaustion.   On the cross he received priestly anointing. His beautiful eyes  —calmed, matured by suffering, consumed by fever—proclaimed the undying joy of Christ Jesus. He had but nine months to live…

The angel of comfort
The «infirmary» was a death ward, where, in indescribably cramped quarters and a poignant despair, men confronted death.   The gasping and dry coughs of the tuberculosis patients continued night and day.   Karl took refuge in the Sacred Heart of Jesus through prayer and supplication.   He drew his peace and the strength to smile from Holy Communion, which was brought to him regularly in secret.   As soon as he was able to get out of bed, he went from one bed to the next, dispensing words of encouragement and consolation, brightening hearts with his beautiful smile.   He was soon known as the angel of comfort and the sick came to confide their distress to him. Under his pillow, he always hid a box of consecrated Hosts which he distributed, as a deacon, to his brothers in the Faith.   His presence was particularly comforting to deported Russians, whom death was wiping out in great numbers.   Thanks to the rudiments he had been able to learn of their language, more than one heard for the first time of Jesus’ agony and of the Good News of the Father who loves us and waits for us. «The Lord does not demand of His disciples a compromise with the world but a profession of faith that is prepared for the sacrifice of oneself.   Karl Leisner made this profession, not only with his words but also with his life and death.   In a world which had become inhuman, he acknowledged Christ who alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life» (John Paul II, homily for Beatification).

As a sick prisoner, Karl was counted among the «useless mouths.»   In October 1942, he appeared on the list of inmates who should be exterminated in the gas chambers. Two priests succeeded in getting his name crossed off the list.   «Each day, I offer myself to the Blessed Virgin, my Mother,» he wrote.  «She has led me marvellously during three years of captivity.»   At the beginning of 1943, there was a typhus outbreak in Dachau, which claimed some 6,000 victims.   Karl escaped the epidemic, because the tuberculosis ward was isolated from the rest of the camp.   On 4 June he wrote to a friend, «Looking back, I am very thankful to the Lord and to His Blessed Mother.   If I listened to the pettiness of the human heart, I would like to hope for a speedy return to see you again.   But the Lord knows what’s best.»   In the complete distress of his situation, he expressed an heroic thought – he thanked God for having configured him to the Passion of His Son by means of these trials.

Unthinkable, but true!
On 6 September 1944, a convoy of French deportees arrived at Dachau, among whom was French Bishop Gabriel Piguet.   Soon a rumour circulated among the prisoners—«Why doesn’t the bishop ordain Karl a priest?»   On his bed of suffering, Karl protested, «Ordained at Dachau? Unthinkable!   And besides, my parish has a right to my first Mass!»   But the idea slowly gained ground and, on 23 September the sick young man asked for the necessary authorisation in a letter to his own bishop.   At the end of 1944, the Third Reich was losing ground to Allied advances. the SS’s surveillance of the mail was relaxed.   A 20-year-old woman guaranteed, at the risk of her life, the connection between the prisoners and the outside world.   At the beginning of December 1944, Karl received a letter written by one of his sisters, bearing in the middle of the text these words, in someone else’s handwriting: «I authorise the ceremonies requested provided that they are done validly and that there remain of them definite proof.» This was followed by the signature of Blessed Bishop von Galen, whom Pius XII would not delay in making a cardinal.

From that point on, the clandestine ordination was prepared under great secrecy.  Thanks to the complicity of numerous inmates, a brass episcopal ring was prepared, as were a crosier carved out of oak, a mitre made out of silk and pearls and vestments made from purple fabric.   Gaudete Sunday, 17 December finally arrived.   The bishop was dressed in pontifical vestments.   Karl, strengthened by an injection of caffeine, donned the white alb and the deacon’s stole.   He carried on his left arm the folded chasuble and in his right hand, a lit candle.   Indeed, such was the planning that nothing was left out, down to the last detail.   Red cheeks gave away the fever that was devouring the sick man.   The emotion of three hundred witnesses, with whom the 2,300 other priests at the camp were united, was indescribable.   During the ceremony, a Jewish prisoner played the violin outside, to divert the guards’ attention.   At the end of the Mass, Bishop Piguet and Karl gathered around a breakfast prepared by the group of Protestant ministers.   What complicity and ingenuity were needed to prepare this spread – white tablecloth, porcelain service, coffee and cake… «Karl Leisner’s priestly ordination was a big event for the group of Protestant ministers,» wrote their senior member, Dr Ernst Wilm.

Back among the tuberculosis patients, Karl continued his way of the cross.   On 26 December he was able to celebrate his first Mass.   He wrote, «After more than five years of prayer and waiting, days filled with very great happiness… That God could, through the intercession of Our Lady, answer our prayers in so gracious and unique a manner, I still cannot grasp.» While his tuberculosis reached its final stage, the new priest testified to total abandonment to Divine Providence.

On 29 June 1945, Karl received a visit from his father and mother.   All three were overcome: «We are together!»   On 25 July Karl was able to celebrate a second Mass. That day, he ended his spiritual journal with these words: «Also bless, O Most High, my enemies.» He had eight days to live.   He told his mother, «Mother, I have to tell you something—but don’t be sad.   I know that I am going to die soon but I am happy.» The evening of 8 August, his three sisters arrived.   What a joy to be able to chat at length with them!   Finally, on 12 August he began his death agony and expired peacefully to join the choir of holy angels in Heaven.

In proclaiming him Blessed on 23 June 1996, Pope John Paul II offered him as an example: «Karl Leisner encourages us to remain on the way that is Christ.   We must not grow weary, even if sometimes this way seems dark and demands sacrifice.   Let us beware of false prophets who want to show us other ways.   Christ is the way which leads to life.   All other ways are detours or wrong paths.»

Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr, Pray for Us!bl karl leisner pray for us no 2 ordained -12 aug 2019.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 12 August – From the Priest Ordained amidst the horrors of Dachau – A VICTOR IN CHAINS!

Quote/s of the Day – 12 August – The Memorial of Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr – Ordained in Dachau Concentration Camp

“Christ, You are my passion!”

“Christ, I give You my life
without reservation.
What You do with it,
You alone should determine.

22 November 1939christ you are my passion - bl karl leisner 12 aug 2019.jpg

“God, I thank You for the days of this
burdensome disease and yet again for
the days spent unfree and imprisoned.
Everything has its meaning.
You only want what is extremely good for me.
With my whole heart, I pray for all
who are not well disposed toward me
and ask You to forgive them.”

11 November 1939

“The days of exterior captivity are
magnificent days of becoming
interiorly free for God,
who alone is the shelter and
stronghold of freedom… “

17 November 1939

“On the feast of St Stephen,
I celebrated my First Holy Mass.
For the first time,
I offered the Holy Sacrifice for
everyone, on the altar in our Chapel here.
You were all with me in spirit…”

30 December 1944on the feat of st stephen i celebratd - bl karl leisner 12 aug 2019.jpg

His last diary entry reads:
Good night
eternal, holy God,
dear Mother
Thrice Admirable…
Bless, too, my
enemies, O Lord!!

25 July 1945 (he died on 12 August 1945)good night eternal holy god - 12 aug 2019 bl karl leisner martyr.jpg

Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr, Pray for Us!


Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 12 August – “Does not your teacher pay the tax?”

One Minute Reflection – 12 August – Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 17:22–27 and the Memorial of Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr

“Does not your teacher pay the tax?” … Matthew 17:22

REFLECTION – “Since Christ reconciled the world to God, He Himself certainly did not need reconciliation.   For what sin of His own was He to make propitiation, when He knew no sin?   When the Jews were asking for the didrachma, which according to law was given for sin, He said to Peter:  “Simon, from whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?”   Peter answered: “From others.”   Jesus said to him: “Then the sons are free.   However, not to give offence to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel, take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

He is pointing out that He is not obliged to propitiation for sins on His own behalf, because He is not a slave of sin but, as Son of God, free from all fault.   For the Son sets free, it is the slave who is guilty.   So He was free from all sin and gives no price of redemption for His own soul – the price of His blood was more than sufficient to redeem all the sins of the world.   Justly then He sets others free, owing nothing for Himself.

Furthermore, not only does Christ owe no price of redemption for Himself or propitiation for sin but, if you take the case of anyone, it can be understood that no individuals owes propitiation for themselves, since Christ is the propitiation of all and Himself the redemption of all.” …Saint Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor –  Commentary on Ps 48, 14-15 ; CSEL 64, 368-370 (trans. Breviary, Week 20, Saturday)matthew 17 22 does not your teacher pay the tax - since christ - st ambrose 12 aug 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, by Your grace, we are made one in mind and heart. Give us a love for what You command and a longing for what You promise, so that, amid this world’s changes, our hearts may be set on the world of lasting joy. Grant, we pray that by the prayers of Blessed Karl Marie Leisner, we will be made always faithful. Through Him, with Him and in Him, in the union of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, karl leisner pray for us 12 aug 2019


Our Morning Offering – 12 August – Thank You, Jesus

Our Morning Offering – 12 August – Monday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Memorial of Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr

Thank You, Jesus
By Cardinal Nicholas Cusa (1401-1464)

Thank You, Jesus,
for bringing me this far.
In Your light, I see the light of my life.
Your teaching is brief and to the point,
You persuade us to trust in God,
You command us to love one another.
You promise everything,
to those who obey Your teaching,
You ask nothing too hard for a believer,
nothing a lover can refuse.
Your promises to Your disciples are true,
nothing but the truth.
Even more, You promise us Yourself,
the perfection of all
that can be made perfect.
Amenthank you jesus by card nicholas cusa 12 aug 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 12 August – Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr – Ordained amidst the Horrors of Dachau

Saint of the Day – 12 August – Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr, Marian devotee – born on 28 February 1915 at Rees, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and died on 12 August 1945 at Planneg, Bavaria, Germany of tuberculosis.   Blessed Karl was interned in the Dachau concentration camp.   He died of tuberculosis shortly after being liberated by the Allied forces.   He has been declared a Martyr and was Beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 23 June 1996.beautiful bl karl marie leisner.jpg

There was a priest, Blessed Karl Leisner, who heard his call to the priesthood during a Schoenstatt Retreat.   The Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt is an apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church, a Marian movement founded in Germany in 1914 by a Pallottine priest, Fr Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968).   Members of the Schoenstatt were formed for a renewal in the Catholic Church.   Fr Kentenich had been assigned the pastoral care of students living in Schoenstatt.   He prepared the students to entrust their lives to Mary and to establish a chapel which would become a home where they could obtain the grace of welcome, interior transformation and a fruitful apostolate.   In 1964, the group received formal approval.

Blessed Karl Leisner is a prime example of what dedication to Mary can do.   He was the first of five children born to Wilhelm Leisner and his wife, Amalie, on 28 February 1915. Karl was born in Rees/Niederrhein, Germany, near the border with the Netherlands.   On 3 March he was baptised in Assumption Catholic Church in Rees with the name Karl Marie since his mother had a great devotion to Mary.

When Karl was six years old the family moved to Kleve — about 20 miles southwest of Rees — so that his father could take a position as a civil servant.   Karl continued attending school until he finished.   Karl’s spiritual and doctrinal formation continued in the security of his family home.   After he received the Sacrament of Confirmation on 20 July 1927, he began keeping a spiritual diary.   The entries reveal what a great love he had for Christ, how his soul yearned for Christ!

bl karl aged 17
Aged 17

At the age of 17 he wrote, “My whole life must be more deeply bound to God, connected with God, given to God it does not have to be but I want it to be so, humbly I ask, seek, make efforts and thereafter strive for it.”

As a youth he became an altar server and joined the local Catholic Youth Group.   These groups combined prayer and study with recreational activities, including cycling, hiking and camping.   Being a member of the group, his leadership skills quickly became evident.   It was not long before he became the leader  . At the time that he assumed the headship of the group, Hitler’s minions were recruiting young men to join the Nazis.   To avoid the problem with the Nazis, Karl would organise camping trips to Holland and Belgium.   During these trips, he and the boys would hike miles with camping equipment on their backs and Karl would play the bugle to keep them on schedule.

His singular devotion to Mary deepened when a friend invited Karl to attend a 5 day Easter workshop and retreat from in April 1933.   The retreat was held at the Marian Pilgrimage Place of Schoenstatt in Vallendar, Germany, about 140 miles south of Rees.
He continued his regular education and when he finished high school he immediately made plans to enter the seminary — nearly 600 miles southeast of Kleve near the Austrian border.   In 1934 Karl went to Munich where he entered the seminary.
Once again he was assigned the leadership role of the Diocesan Youth Leader by Blessed Clemens August von Galen (1878-1946), the bishop of Munster (read about Blessed von Galen “The Lion of Munster” and is fight against the Nazis here:   As his formation continued, he faced the question of his vocation – To have a family or to become a priest? He knew well the high calling of the priesthood:  “It’s beautiful to become a priest but difficult, almost too difficult and only those called by God’s great grace should become one.”   Recognising this lofty vocation and the realisation that God might be calling him, he still considered the joys of becoming a father and having a family, “The beauty of family life — of having and raising my own children, such thoughts touch me deeply during my evening reflections. . . . But also the great heroism of the priesthood sets me aglow!   I am secure in God’s hand, come what may.”   Did he know what was coming?bl karl leisner snip

As his seminary studies continued, he reached a spiritual crisis concerning his true vocation.   Quickly he returned to the Schoenstatt shrine where he had received such comfort.   For two days he prayed and meditated in silence before the image of Mother Thrice Admirable, seeking enlightenment about God’s will and strength to carry it out.
His tepidity left him as this time of prayerful surrender and once again stimulated his desire to be a holy and active priest in serving the King of Kings.   On the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 Marc 1939, Karl was ordained a deacon in the Cathedral of Muenster. Sadly, just three months later his preparation for Ordination had to be postponed because Karl had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Disappointed, Karl once again journeyed to Schoenstatt before going to the Lung Sanatorium in St Blasien in the Black Forest, near the Swiss and French borders.   Once again Karl spent time in prayer — surrendering his entire will to Mary and begging her to help him become healthy again.   If he would not be a good priest, then he asked her to let him die before being ordained.   He placed all his trust in her.

The Nazis continued their suppression of religion and arrested more and more men, women and children.   They considered them enemies of the state.   As they tightened their stranglehold, the Nazis came to the sanatorium to arrest Karl.   For three years they had been tracking his movements and activities.   Because fellow patients reported him for speaking against Hitler, the Gestapo arrested him for “protective custody.”   The Gestapo took him to Freiburg just north of the Black Forest.   Then he was transferred to Mannheim for three weeks before they shipped him to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, near Berlin.   Less than a year later on 13 December 1940 they took him to Dachau.   Here he joined many other priests.

His tuberculosis worsened in the deplorable conditions of ill-treatment and hunger.   Yet these hardships only increased his love of God and his devotion to Mary.   Karl became a source of encouragement to his fellow prisoners.   Fathers Heinz Dresback and Hermann Richarz testified that Karl had “a rock-solid trust in God.”

After persevering for four years in Dachau, Karl received a special gift.   Another prisoner, Bishop Gabriel Piguet from France, ordained Karl a priest on 17 December 1944, Gaudete Sunday. bl karl leisner 2.jpg The newly ordained priest only celebrated a single Mass and was so ill that he had to postpone his first Mass for over a week    Nine days after his Ordination he celebrated that first Mass on the Feast of St Stephen the Martyr.  bl karl first holy mass.JPGFour months later the camp was liberated by the Allies but by that time his health had been destroyed.   He died on 12 August 1945 surrounded by family and friends.   He was Beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 23 June 1996.

Blessed Karl’s body was taken to Kleve and buried in a local cemetery on 20 August 1945. His remains were exhumed and re-interred in the crypt of the Cathedral of Xanten in 1966.

Throughout his life, the few but intense times of personal encounter with Our Lady in the Original Shrine in Schoenstatt remained the decisive milestones for Karl Leisner on his path of calling. “Christ, my passion” – led by this ideal, he worked in the diocesan youth and wrestled his way to a decision for a celibate life as a priest.   In the Dachau concentration camp he founded, together with Josef Fischer, the first Schoenstatt group in Dachau, which had to end its meetings in the 1942 starvation year.   From 1943 Karl Leisner belonged to the group “Victor in vinculis Mariae” (Victor in the Shackles of Mary) and thus to the circle of Schoenstaetters around the founder Josef Kentenich.   From the ideal and the fraternity of this group, Karl Leisner drew the strength to accept his fate, which was burdened by the tuberculosis of the lung as well as the difficult conditions in the concentration camp, as the will of God and to offer his life as a martyr.

Karl Leisner, German stamp (2015)
Inscription:  Bless also, o Most High, my enemies.

Dear Blessed Fr Karl, as Europe and the world are once again besieged by evil forces, pray that we Christians will continue with confidence and surrender to God.   Amen.

beautiful final image statue bl karl leisner
Sculpture of Karl Leisner in front of the Stiftungskirche, Kleve where his remains are enshrined.
Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 12 August

St Jeanne de Chantal/Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641) (Optional Memorial)
Details of St Jane here:

St Anicetus of Marmora
St Antôn Nguyen Ðích
Bl Charles Meehan
St Discolio of Vercelli
St Euplus of Catania
St Eusebius of Milan
St Felicissima the Blind
St Giacobe do Mai Nam
St Gracilian
St Herculanus of Brescia
Bl Pope Innocent XI (1611-1689)

St Jambert of Canterbury
Bl Józef Stepniak
Bl Józef Straszewski
St Julian of Syria
Bl Karl Leisner (1915–1945) Martyr

St Macarius of Syria
St Merewenna
St Micae Nguyen Huy My
St Murtagh of Killala
St Photinus of Marmora
Bl Pierre Jarrige de la Morélie de Puyredon
St Porcarius of Lerins
St Simplicio of Vercelli
St Ust

Martyrs of Augsburg – 4 saints: The mother, Hilaria, and three friends of of Saint Afra of Augsburg. While visiting the tomb of Saint Afra who were seized by the authorities and martyred when they visited Afra’s tomb – Digna, Eunomia, Euprepia and Hilaria. They were burned alive c 304.

Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than their names – Crescentian, Juliana, Largio, Nimmia and Quiriacus.
• c.304 in Rome, Italy
• buried on the Ostian Way outside Rome.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Antoni Perulles Estivill
• Blessed Atilano Dionisio Argüeso González
• Blessed Carles Barrufet Tost
• Buenaventura García-Paredes Pallasá
• Carles Barrufet Tost
• Blessed Domingo Sánchez Lázaro
• Enrique María Gómez Jiménez
• Félix Pérez Portela
• Blessed Gabriel Albiol Plou
• Blessed José Jordán Blecua
• Blessed Josep Nadal Guiu
• Blessed Juana Pérez Abascal
• Manuel Basulto Jiménez
• Blessed Manuel Borràs Ferré
• Blessed Pau Figuerola Rovira
• Blessed Pedro José Cano Cebrían
• Perfecto Del Río Páramo
• Blessed Ramona Cao Fernández
• Blessed Vittoria Diaz y Bustos de Molina
and these below:
Martyrs of Barbastro – 6 beati: Six Claretian brothers and priests who were martyred together in the persecutions of the Spanish Civil War.
• Gregorio Chirivas Lacamba
• José Pavón Bueno
• Nicasio Sierra Ucar
• Pere Cunill Padrós
• Sebastián Calvo Martínez
• Wenceslau Clarís Vilaregut
They were martyred on 12 August 1936 in Barbastro, Huesca, Spain and Beatified on 25 October 1992 by Pope John Paul II.

Martyrs of La Torre de Fontaubella – 4 beati: Four parish priests who were murdered together in the persecutions of the Spanish Civil War.
• Antoni Nogués Martí
• Joan Rofes Sancho
• Josep Maria Sancho Toda
• Ramon Martí Amenós
They were martyred on 12 August 1936 in La Torre de Fontaubella, Tarragona, Spain and Beatified on 13 October 2013 by Pope Francis. Their beatification celebrated in Tarragona, Spain.

Martyrs of Puerta de Hierro – 5 beati: Five nun in the Archdiocese of Madrid, Spain, all members of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, and all martyred together in the Spanish Civil War.
• Estefanía Saldaña Mayoral
• María Asunción Mayoral Peña
• María Dolores Barroso Villaseñor
• María Severina Díaz-Pardo Gauna
• Melchora Adoración Cortés Bueno
They were martyred on 12 August 1936 in Puerta de Hierro, Aravaca, Madrid, Spain and Beatified on
27 October 2013 by Pope Benedict XVI.