Carmelite Students gather in The Netherlands

More than 30 Carmelite student friars from six continents have gathered in the historical city of Nijmegen in The Netherlands for an international course for Carmelite students that will tackle the life, works, and martyrdom of the Dutch Carmelite, Bl. Titus Brandsma.

Anchored on the theme: Bl. Titus Brandsma: Carmelite, Professor, Journalist, and Martyr – Contemplation, the dynamic element that unifies them, the gathering aims to give the brothers an experience on the life of Bl. Titus Brandsma.

General Councilor for Asia, Oceania, and Australia and for Formation, Fr. Benny Phang, in his homily during the opening mass related the sign of Jonah to that of the life of Titus, which he said also reflects the experience of the prophet Jonah.

“We learn of his suffering and of his resurrection, which until today we are experiencing,” he said.

The prior provincial of the Dutch Province, Fr. Jan Brouns, in welcoming the students said, that Titus’ being a contemplative Carmelite is the reason why he has become “a beacon that focus us.”

For his part, Fr. Benny related what one of the priests who received the papers of the cause for the canonisation of the blessed Carmelite, who said that these (the saints) people are a reminder that our vocation is to be holy.

“This gathering is a precious occasion for us to be refreshed, that we understand our vocation,” he said.

“We will explore the works, the life and even the death of Blessed Titus as a martyr,” he said, “(and) draw inspiration to be holy.”

As related by Fr. Benny, the participants will not only learn about Titus through lectures and talks, but would also appreciate the life of the blessed brother by experiencing the places where he was born, raised, and suffered as a prisoner in the various concentration camps and prison cells of the Nazis, culminating the experience in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, where the brothers would also witness the placing of a Memorial Plaque in the camp area.


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