October 21st: Blessed Karl, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, Head of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen
Knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem
Born the grand nephew of Emperor Franz-Josef, he was far down the line of succession to the throne. Due to a series of tragedies, in 1916 in the middle of the The Great War (World War I), he succeeded to the imperial and royal crowns. He very strongly opposed the war and attempted through secret negotiations to bring about a fair and lasting peace. As a result he was known as “The Peace Emperor”. In 1919 the socialist government forced him into exile where he and his family lived a quiet, humble, deeply religious Catholic life. His attempt in 1921 to return to Hungary failed. Emperor Karl and his family were exiled to the island of Madeira where they lived in poverty, and where he bore a serious illness with great trust in God. He died in Funchal on April 1, 1922. The date for his memorial was set as October 21st, the day on which he had married Zita, Princess of the House of Bourbon-Parma.
Blessed Karl, at great danger to yourself and your family, you worked diligently to end the incredible destruction and bloodshed of The Great War. In spite of losing your crowns, your power, your country, your wealth, and your health, you never lost your profound trust in God. Pray for us and for peace in our world torn by war, strive and terrorism.
O God, through the diversities of this world you led Blessed Karl from this earthly realm to the crown reserved for him in heaven. Grant through his intercession that we may so serve your Son and our brothers and sisters that we may become worthy of eternal life. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. 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 Blessed Karl.