Dear members of the Whitefriars Family,
Last week at Whitefriars we celebrated the inaugural feast day of St. Titus Brandsma. This was followed on Sunday with a mass at the Spiritual home of the Carmelites here in Melbourne, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Middle Park. It was wonderful to see members of the Whitefriars community there on the day including some of our great boys, many of whom were from the House of Brandsma, and who helped to lead this significant celebration.
Our wonderful Provincial Fr Paul Cahill led us in the celebration of the Eucharist and presented a thought provoking and inspiring homily on aspects of the life of St Titus. Fr Paul spoke to us of a strong, charismatic, and highly intelligent man who spent his life using his God given gifts to support the people of his homeland of The Netherlands. St. Titus did much to reform Catholic Education in that part of the world. He also was an accomplished journalist who become the editor in chief of all Catholic newspapers in The Netherlands.
It was through this work that he came to the attention of the Nazi’s, who after invading his home country in May 1940, pressured Titus to publish Nazi Propaganda in his newspapers. Titus refused and was eventually imprisoned in various jails before being sent to Dachau Concentration camp where his life was ended by lethal Injection.
Often when we think of saints we think of people of deep, abiding, and steadfast faith who devote their lives who, unwaveringly dedicate their lives to God. Titus was one such person. However, even he had moments of doubt and despair. Even he felt, at times, tested, confused, and even abandoned by God. During the homily presented by Fr Paul on Sunday the spoke of the dark night of the soul that St. Titus experienced prior to being sent to Dachau, a place he knew he would never return from.
Fr Paul drew on a biographer of St. Titus who suggests us that while in the Kleve transit camp, before being sent to Dachau, after several months in other prisons, “The specter of exhaustion and a lonely death drew threateningly closer. He was now crossing a dark threshold … (with) the injustice of his situation (was) more striking. He lost his deep inner peace. Fear attacked him; fear that rendered him powerless. The protective power of a well-ordered inner life no longer functioned. The spring within no longer produced living water.”
In this moment Titus demonstrated his humanity. Who among us would not have felt the same? Who among us has not experienced this same doubt and despair at different moments in our own lives? There are times in all our lives where circumstances test our belief in God and each other. Just like Titus and even Jesus himself in the garden of Gethsemane, we can feel alone and abandoned. We have a choice, we can give into these feeling or like Jesus and Titus, we can surrender ourselves to our fate with faith and trust in God. As Fr Paul tells us… Titus drew on his deeply contemplative spirit, cultivated over a lifetime, and although weak and racked with pain, he faced his final days with deep peace and love.
Thank God for people like St. Titus Brandsma who show us that at our darkest moments we all have doubts, even saints! It is how we respond in these moments, putting our trust in God and those around us we can be saved.
Herald Sun Shield Final
Following the success of our First XVIII footballers in lifting the Premiership Cup, our incredibly talented team, led by Captain Lochie Ready and coach Kristan Height, earned the right to represent the ACC in the Herald Sun Shield finals. After victory in the semi final Whitefriars faced football powerhouse St. Patrick’s College Ballarat at Box Hill Oval. Following a tight contact played in very windy conditions, Whitefriars came away with the win – Whitefriars 4 – 4 – 28 v St. Patricks Ballarat 2 – 9 – 21. Lochie Reidy was judged best player on the ground.
This is an historic win for our College, as the last time we held this significant shield a loft was 2004. Congratulations to our dedicated and skilled coach Kristan Height along with football staff, Jarrad Ward and Tom Goldsmith. Congratulations particularly to our incredibly talented and hardworking First XVIII footballers who have committed themselves to play, wearing their Whitefriars jumper with passion and pride.
Mr Mark Murphy