January 01, 2019

⛪ Blessed Lojze Grozde - Martyr

Blessed Lojze Grozde,
Intercede for us !
⛪ Saint of the Day : January 1

 Feast : 1 January • 27 May on some calendars

 Other Names : Alojzij Grozde

 Born : 27 May 1923, Zgornje Vodale, Slovenia

 Died : 1 January 1943 (aged 19), Mirna, Slovenia

 Major shrine : Sanctuary of Our Lady at Zaplaz in Slovenia

 Attributes : Book • Palm •  Snowdrop

 Patronage : Pupils • Catholic Action • Poets • Students • Slovenia

Lojze Grozde (27 May 1923 – 1 January 1943) was a Slovenian student who was murdered by Partisans during World War II. His death is recognised as martyrdom by the Catholic Church. He was beatified on 13 June 2010.

Grozde was born on 27 May 1923 in the village of Zgornje Vodale near Mokronog in Lower Carniola, Slovenia. He was an illegitimate child. When he was four years old, his mother married France Kovač. His stepfather chased Grozde away whenever he wanted to see his mother. Later, because Grozde was a good pupil, the step father became friendlier towards him, and so he remained at the house and his aunt took care of him. She saw to his schooling and sent him to a school in Ljubljana, where she was working as a servant. Some benefactors helped her support her nephew. He stayed at the Marijanišče boarding school and attended the Classical Secondary School (Klasična gimnazija) in Ljubljana. There he was a good student, and he also found time to write poetry and prose. He was a member of the Catholic Action religious movement and a member of the Marian Congregation. The end of his high school years coincided with the early years of World War II. Under these strained circumstances, Grozde became increasingly religious and oriented himself toward the study of theology.

During his summer vacation of 1942 he did not go home because there was a lot of violence and it was not easy to travel. It was only for New Year 1943 that he decided to visit his relatives. He asked for a permit to travel home. First he visited a friend of his at the village of Struge. On January 1, 1943, the first Friday, he attended mass at the monastery at Stična, where he received the last communion of his life; then he travelled by train from Ivančna Gorica to Trebnje, where he found he could not travel further because the rails had been destroyed. He decided to continue to Mirna on foot, and on the way he rode in a cart. By the time the cart had reached Mirna, it was pulled over by the Slovenian partisans and he was seized and interrogated. On him they found a devotional book, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis and a booklet on Our Lady of Fatima. He was taken to a nearby inn and interrogated, tortured, and killed. Three hours earlier the seminarian Janez Hočevar, who wanted to visit his relatives in nearby Šentrupert, had been also shot. Lojze Grozde was suspected of being an informant; the communists saw in him the mentality that they deprecated and persecuted.

Soon, rumors of Grozde's grisly death spread. It is spoken, that the Tone Tomšič Partisan Brigade, which had conquered Mirna, on so cruel way celebrated the New Year. Some others maintain today, that Grozde was not tortured. Partisan General Lado Kocijan stated that

"for the partisan tribunal, Grozde was a White Guard courier, and so he was condemned to death. It is not true that they tortured him, that they cut the skin from the soles of his feet, cut out his tongue and cut off his fingers. Because the Partisans buried his body in a shallow grave, these injuries were caused by the animals in the woods, which gnawed on the body. There was no torture ...", this veteran of the Gubec Brigade stated.

Other sources state that he was tortured:
During the Christmas holidays of 1942 Grozde was traveling in Lower Carniola to visit his mother and relatives, but did not come home. In the village of Mirna he was seized by the communists, fearfully tortured for two hours, and then killed. It is said that he patiently endured this torment.

On February 23, 1943 the fate of Lojze Grozde was partly revealed, indicating that he had been tortured. Schoolchildren picking snowdrops found his corpse. Although there were traces of torture on his body, the corpse itself was uncorrupted. His body was taken to nearby Šentrupert, where a committee made a report. The body of Lojze Grozde was buried at the cemetery in Šentrupert because it was impossible to take it to his home parish of Tržišče under the difficult circumstances of those days. The news of the violent torture and death of this innocent student struck fear among people and shocked the students in Ljubljana.

On the 50th anniversary of the Grozde's death, the Archdiocese of Ljubljana started a process to recognize his martyrdom and also his beatification and canonization. When Pope John Paul II visited Slovenia for the first time in 1996, he mentioned Grozde twice. He said, "The servant of God Lojze Grozde is just one of innumerable innocent victims of Communism that raise the palm of martyrdom as an indelible memory and admonition. He was a disciple of Christ."

On 27 March 2010 it was announced from Rome that Pope Benedict XVI had affirmed the martyrdom of Lojze Grozde. Beatification took place at the First Slovenian Eucharistic congress in Celje on 13 June 2010, celebrated by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in the presence of about 40,000 pilgrims.

Grozde's remains were translated in 2011 to the sanctuary at Zaplaz, where a special side altar was created on the right side of the church, decorated with a mosaic by Marko Ivan Rupnik.

Relics of Lojze Grozde have been placed in the altar at St. Joseph's Church in Celje and in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at Alojzij Šuštar Elementary School in Ljubljana.

Source: Wikipedia

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