March 22nd: Blessed Clemens August Cardinal von Galen
Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of Malta
Clemens August, Count von Galen, was born in 1878 in Oldenburg, Germany the eleventh of thirteen children in a deeply religious aristocratic family. He was ordained in 1904 and did pastoral work in Münster and Berlin, where he lived through the difficult times of the First World War, the troubled post-war period, and a great part of the Weimar Republic. In 1929 he was called back to Münster and in 1933 made Bishop there. Already in his first Lenten pastoral letter in 1934 he exposed the neo-heathen ideology of the Nazis (National Socialists) who had taken power.
He was one of the bishops whom Pope Pius XI in 1937 called to help prepare the encyclical “With Burning Anxiety” against the racial doctrine of the Nazis. In 1941 the Nazi leadership advised Hitler to assassinate Bishop Galen. They feared doing so, but in his place 37 priests were sent to concentration camps, of whom 10 lost their lives. In the troubled post-war period he instilled
new courage into many.
In February 1946, Pope Pius XII elevated him to Cardinal for his fearless resistance against Nazism. He died on March 22, 1946, known by all as “The Lion of Münster”. He chose as his episcopal motto: “Nec laudibus nec timore” Often translated as: “Unconcerned about praise, unaffected by fear”.
Blessed Clemens August, we pray your intercession that in these troubled times all members of our Order may find inspiration in your motto.
Almighty and everlasting God, as Bishop your servant Clemens August fearlessly defended your honor, the faith of the Church and the life of the weak; by his intercession grant that we will serve you always with all our heart and love all mankind as you love them. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
This information was provided by Fra’ James-Michael von Stroebel. Click here to view the complete Calendar of Liturgical Celebrations Proper to the Order.
Pictured above is The Official Portrait Of Blessed Clemens August Graf Von Galen.