A strong impetus for Vatican II

Franz Jägerstätter message

Jägerstätter Grab

Tomb of Jägerstätter

This years commemorating day of the death of blessed Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943) was strongly connected to Vatican IInd constitution about church and world „Gaudium et Spes“. To this meeting Pax Christi Austria and the Parish of St. Radegund invited like every year on August 9th to assemble for sharing, walking and praying. Friends of Franz from Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the USA gathered in the parish hall of Tarsdorf to listen to a fascinating speech by Hildegard Goss-Mayr about her husband Jean Goss (1912-1991) and Franz Jägerstätter. It was Jean and Hildegard who did the important lobbying during Vatican II together with Archbishop Roberts SJ (India) for accepting important aspects of non-violent peace work in the above mentioned constitution.

The most important demands to the Council where:

  • to condemn the modern war and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction and their use to deterrence;
  • to reaffirm the right to conscientious objection and disobeying immoral laws and orders;
  • the recognition of non-violence of Jesus as a guideline for teaching peace and the peace efforts of the church.

For this Franz’s strong testimonial of his life and death for Non-violence and against „just war“ was very important! Hildegard also pointed out the importance of living in a sustainable relationship for Franz and Jean. „It was a grace for Franz to live with Franziska!“ Hildegard witnessed towards the three daughters of Franziska Jägerstätter her mothers engagement. You can read the whole lecture as separate posting in German. Maybe somebody could translate this impressive text into english? 😉

After lunch the whole group walked as pilgrims for peace the 7km to St. Radegund where Franziska Jägerstätter is still living and where Franz worked as sacristan. A good time to enjoy the beautiful nature and share one’s impressions of the day with the co-pilgrims. We passed by the house where the Jägerstätter family was living. Today it gives place for commemorating their live and Franz’s call: „Make decisions out of faith and take the responsibility!“ There is also place to rest and pray and take some time of retreat. On the way we also saw the new memorial built by the community of St. Radegund. Slowly also the political community is honouring his former „outlaw“ son as victim of the crucial Nazi Regime and important testimony for a peaceful world.

At 3pm the hour of Franz’s death a simple prayer was celebrated in the Parish church. Like every we heard the most touching last letter Franz sent to his family a few hours before he was beheaded. With these strong words of love nourishing my soul I went back home before the evening mass, as the next day we wanted to leave for Meran.

Here you find more information about Jägerstätter and this meeting: