Lojze Grozde

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'Blessed Lojze Grozde'
Lojze-Grozde MK.jpg

Lojze Grozde as a pupil
Martyr
Born May 27, 1923, Zgornje Vodale Slovenia
Died January 1, 1943, Mirna, Slovenia
Venerated in Catholic Church
Beatified June 13, 2010, Celje Slovenia by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Major shrine Shrine of Holy Mary at Zaplaz in Slovenia
Feast May 27
Attributes book, palm-leaf, snowdrop
Patronage pupils, Catholic Action, poets, students, Slovenia

Lojze Grozde was a Slovenian student who was killed by partisans during World War II. His death is recognised as martyrdom by the Catholic Church. He was beatified on June 13, 2010.

Early life[change | change source]

Grozde was born on May 27, 1923 in the village of Gorenje Vodale, Tržišče near Mokronog in Lower Carniola, Slovenia. He was an illegitimate child. When he was four years old, his mother married. His stepfather chased him away each time he wanted to see his mother. Later, because Lojze was a good pupil, the stepfather 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 Classical Secondary School (Klasična gimnazija) in Ljubljana. There he was an outstanding student; but found time for literary creativity too and so became poet and writer. He was a member of Catholic Action [1] and a member of the Marian Congregation. Towards the end of his high schooling World War II was approaching. Circumstances were becoming increasingly strained. This was also the time when Lojze had to make a decision about his vocation. He sought his path in life through meditation and learning, in deep prayer, and in apostolic work for others.

Death[change | change source]

Grave of Lojze Grozde in Šentrupert

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 1 January 1943, the first Friday, he attended mass at the monastery at Stična, where he received communion for the last time in his young life; then 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 first house at Mirna he had to get out of the cart because a partisan guard seized and interrogated him. 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 spread about cruel way the Tone Tomšič Partisan Brigade, which had conquered Mirna, celebrated the New Year. Some others maintain that Grozde was not tortured.[2] Other sources state that he was tortured.[3]

On 23 February 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.

Beatification[change | change source]

On the 50th anniversary of the death of Lojze Grozde, the Archdiocese of Ljubljana started a process to recognize his martyrdom and also his beatification and canonization.[4] When Pope John Paul II visited Slovenia for the first time in 1996, he mentioned Lojze 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." Pope Benedict XVI said that "saints are not the past, but they represent the present and the future of the Church and society. They fully realized love in truth, which is the highest value in Christian life; their figures are like prisms that in various casts reflect the unique light of Christ."[5]

On March 27, 2010 the news came from Rome that Pope Benedict XVI had affirmed the martyrdom of Lojze Grozde. Thus a solemn beatification is allowed that took place at the Slovenian eucharistic congress in Celje on June 13, 2010. In his introduction to the biography of Lojze Grozde by Anton Strle, who is also a candidate for sainthood, Taras Kermauner wrote: "Grozde combines the ardour and apostolate of Friderik Baraga, the asceticism and suffering of Janez Frančišek Gnidovec, a gift for organization, and the Slovenian national consciousness of Blessed Anton Martin Slomšek ... He symbolizes the entire martyrdom suffered by Christians and Catholic Slovenians during World War II and afterwards for their affiliation to their faith ... His personality should be returned to the common Slovenian consciousness of heroes that have been praised and elevated to the first plane as the only models. Today a man like Grozde is needed as our model – a martyr, a saint. Not a man of aggressive military action thinking he will put forward God with arms and the blood of other or foreign people ... I do not fear to write that Grozde belongs among the greatest young Slovenians; that his attitude is fitting and most precious."

Film and TV[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Catholic Action (Slovenian: katoliška akcija) religious movement, which was founded by Pope Pius XI for Christian apostolic work in the world and society
  2. 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. (MLADINA.si internet Guardian, no. 13, Suturday, 22 May 2010, "(Ne)preverjeni mučenik" [(Un)verified martyr] - web site: http://www.mladina.si/tednik/201013/(ne)preverjeni_mucenik
  3. "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 stoically endured this torment.” (Duhovni koledarček 1944, written by Gregor Mali, Ljubljana, Knjižice no. 239/240 1 December 1943, page 13).
  4. Anton Pust, Zdravko Reven, Božidar Slapšak, Palme mučeništva: Ubiti in pomorjeni slovenski duhovniki, redovniki in bogoslovci in nekateri verni laiki, Celje 1995, str. 367 - 368. (Palms of Martyrdom: Killed and Murdered Slovenian Priests, Members of Religious Orders, Seminarians, and Some Catholic Laity.)
  5. http://www.druzina.si/icd/spletnastran.nsf/all/9C3A87B5604A239DC1257731002B435C?OpenDocument Igor Luzar: Celjski sad Grozdetovega zrna, Celje's fruit of Grozde's grain, Družina, Slovenian Catholic Newsweek, Ljubljana 30. V. 2010, Nr. 22)

Literature[change | change source]

  • Duhovni koledarček 1944, Sestavil župnik Gregor Mali, Ljubljana, Knjižice Nr. 239/240 from 1 December 1943.
  • Narte Velikonja, Malikovanje zločina, in: Wikivir.
  • Anton Strle, Slovenski mučenec Lojze Grozde, Založba Knjižice, Ljubljana 1991.
  • Milanka Dragar: ZVEST KRIŽANEMU, Knjiga o Grozdetu, Ljubljana 2010, Založba Dragar, 518 pages, ISBN 978-961-92879-0-3.
  • Anton Strle: Un martyr des temps modernes. Aloïs Grozdé, 1923-1943, Paris 1957
  • Miroslav Slana:Slovenski sij svetosti. Mladi mučenec Lojze Grozde, Maribor 2001 ISBN 961-6227-59-9.
  • Anton Pust, Zdravko Reven, Božidar Slapšak, Palme mučeništva: Ubiti in pomorjeni slovenski duhovniki, redovniki in bogoslovci in nekateri verni laiki, Celje 1995. 447 sites. - ISBN 961-218-043-1
  • Papež Janez Pavel II. v Sloveniji, Bog blagoslovi predrago Slovenijo, Edition Družina, 160 pages, Ljubljana 1996, ISBN 961-222-079-4

Other websites[change | change source]

Gallery[change | change source]