On the occasion of the canonisation of the Dutch Carmelite priest Blessed Titus Brandsma on May 15, the Carmelites at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Fleur-de-Lys are inaugurating an oil painting of Blessed Titus Brandsma, painted by Mario Baldacchino of Qormi.

Looking closely at the painting, one sees tulips at the foot of Titus Brandsma, representing his country, Holland. 

Blessed Titus is wearing the habit of the Carmelite Order and on the habit he is wearing a red stole, with the symbols of the Passion of Christ ‒ he was martyred and he wrote a meditation of the Passion of Christ (Via Crucis). This meditation was published again in Maltese recently. 

Next to him there is the striped uniform of the concentration camp with the number 58.

In his right hand, he holds a palm frond, another symbol of the martyr, and a sunflower. He wrote and preached that as the sunflower turns facing the sun, Our Lady turns to face God.

In his left hand, he has a newspaper of which he was an editor.

Titus was sent to Dachau concentration camp because he opposed the Nazis. He was killed on July 26, 1942, by a lethal injection administered by a nurse of the Allgemeine SS, as part of their programme of medical experimentation on prisoners.

Titus gave his rosary bead to his nurse before he was administered the injection and promised her that he will pray for her from heaven. After killing him, she became a Christian.

Fr Martin D. Schembri is parish priest of Fleur-de-Lys.

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