05/21/2022 – Blessed Franz Jaggerstatter

Today is the feast of Blessed Franz Jaggerstatter who was martyred by the Nazis because he refused to take the Nazi oath on religious grounds – that is the oath that made Hitler not God, Supreme. It pledged those that took the oath to put Hitler and his Reich before and above everything else. Franz refused to supplant God even though it meant suffering and death.

Franz was wild in his youth but a deep surrender to God, transformed his life. To all it seemed the ordinary life of an Austrian farmer, but it was a life sanctified by prayer.

“On his return (from his honeymoon in Rome), Franz settled down to a typical peasant life. He rose very early and worked on the farm, often being heard singing to the cows as he milked them and saying the rosary as he ploughed.

Often he would forgo even his breakfast in order to be able to receive Holy Communion, the regular reception of which was not a practice at this time. In addition to his farm and household duties he became sexton of the local parish church and became known for his diligent service.

Several years later when he was remanded in prison for refusing the oath that declared Hilter supreme, the rosary and the gospel passages that he had memorised became the anchors that helped Franz to remain in complete surrender to God, a surrender that resulted in martyrdom.