Tuesday, February 07, 2012

St. Alexander (Schmorell) of Munich.

Via Orthocath and St. Elias Today come reports of the elevation to sainthood of Alexander Schmorell, a leading member of the Weiße Rose movement who was executed at age 25 on July 13, 1943 for his opposition to the Nazi regime. I visited Alexander Schmorell's grave last July as part of my St. Ignatius' Day pilgrimage in Munich, and I am pleased that he is now recognized as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. To learn more about Schmorell's life, read this article by Jim Forest.

To commemorate the glorification of St. Alexander of Munich, I would like to share one of the letters that 'Schurik' wrote to his father and stepmother from prison before his death. Provided to me by a brother Jesuit with a great devotion to the members of Weiße Rose, this letter was translated from the original German by Cathy Constable and may be found online with translations of other letters by Schmorell; the original German texts may also be found on the same site. I hope that this letter written on May 30, 1943 conveys something of the luminous spirit of the saint who was glorified this weekend:
My dear parents,

I can't report anything new here, everything's just the same as always. There is one thing, however, that I want to tell you, so that your pain may be a little bit easier to bear. Should a pardon be rejected, please believe that 'death' does not mean the end of every life, but in fact, the opposite - birth, a transition to a new life, one which is wonderful and will last forever. Death is really nothing terrible. The separation is quite hard. But it will be less so if you think of it this way, that we won't be separated forever, but just for a time - like for a trip - in order for us to meet again forever and in all eternity in a life that is infinitely more beautiful than the present one, and that there will be no end to us being together. Believe this, and then the burden will undoubtedly become easier for you. Hugs and kisses,

Your Schurik
Holy Passion-bearer Alexander, pray to God for us! AMDG.


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