We celebrate the memorial of Blessed Titus Zeman, the first Slovakian Salesian to be beatified, on 8th January.
In the early 1950s, when religious orders were banned by the Communist government of Czechoslovakia, and many religious were being sent to concentration camps, Blessed Titus organised the escape of young Salesians to Turin, where they could continue their formation. Aware that he risked the death penalty for his actions, he said, “Even if I lose my life I do not consider it a waste, knowing that at least one of those whom I have saved has become a priest to take my place”.
Following his arrest in 1952, he was beaten and tortured, before being tried for treason. He was sentenced to 25 years of hard labour in the harshest of prisons. On his release after 13 years, his health was broken but his spirit was not. He died five years later, on 8th January 1969.
Blessed Titus, pray for us!