Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka

From the EWTN website:
BL. MARIA RESTITUTA KAFKA was born in Brno (in what is now the Czech Republic) on 10 May 1894, the sixth daughter of a shoemaker, and was given the name Helena at Baptism. She grew up with her family in Vienna and was employed as a salesgirl and later as a nurse. As a nurse she came into contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (known as the "Hartmannschwestern") and entered their congregation in 1914, taking the name of an ancient martyr, Restituta.
From 1919 she worked for 20 years as a surgical nurse and soon gained the reputation not only of a devoted and capable nurse but one who was particularly close to the poor, the persecuted and the oppressed. She even protected a Nazi doctor from arrest which she thought was unjustified.

When Hitler took over Austria, Sr Restituta made her total rejection of Nazism quite clear. She called Hitler "a madman" and said of herself: "A Viennese cannot keep her mouth shut". Her reputation spread rapidly when she hung a crucifix in every room of a new hospital wing. The Nazis demanded that the crosses be removed, threatening Sr Restituta's dismissal. The crucifixes were not removed, nor was Sr Restituta, since her community said they could not replace her. Sr Restituta was arrested and accused not only of hanging the crosses but also of having written a poem mocking Hitler.

On 28 October 1942 she was sentenced to death for "aiding and abetting the enemy in the betrayal of the fatherland and for plotting high treason". She was later offered her freedom if she would leave her religious congregation, but she refused. When asked to commute her sentence, Martin Bormann expressly rejected the request, saying: "I think the execution of the death penalty is necessary for effective intimidation.

While in prison she cared for the other prisoners, as even communist prisoners later attested. After various requests for clemency were rejected by the authorities, Sr Restituta was decapitated on 30 March 1943.


Enbrethiliel said...


Her fiesty brand of courage is inspiring!

tubbs said...

What I enjoy about my Catholic culture - HEROES called saints.

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