Lojze Grozde

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.

Blessed
Lojze Grozde
Grozde.jpg
Lojze Grozde as pupil
Martyr
Born27 May 1923
Zgornje Vodale, Slovenia
Died1 January 1943(1943-01-01) (aged 19)
Mirna, Slovenia
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified13 June 2010, Celje Slovenia by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Major shrineSanctuary of Our Lady at Zaplaz in Slovenia
Feast27 May
Attributesbook, palm, snowdrop
Patronagepupils, Catholic Action, poets, students, Slovenia

Early lifeEdit

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 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 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.

DeathEdit

 
Grave of Lojze Grozde was 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 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 towards 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 in a forest near Mirna. Three hours earlier the seminarian Janez Hočevar, who wanted to visit his relatives in nearby Šentrupert, had been also shot. The communists suspected Lojze Grozde of being an informant.

Soon, rumors spread about Grozde's grisly death. The Tone Tomšič Partisan Brigade, which had occupied Mirna, carried out the murder.[1][2][3][4] However, others claimed 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.[2]

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.[5]

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.

BeatificationEdit

 
Beatification of Lojze Grozde in Celje (2010)

On the 50th anniversary of Grozde's death, the Archdiocese of Ljubljana started a process to recognize his martyrdom and also his beatification and canonization.[6][7] 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."[8]

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.

 
Christ with Blessed Grozde, a mosaic by Marko Rupnik, at Zaplaz

Relics of Lojze Grozde have been placed in the altar at St. Joseph's Church in Celje[9][10] and in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at Alojzij Šuštar Elementary School in Ljubljana.[11]

LegacyEdit

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."[12]

Film and TVEdit

  • [1] Srce se ne boji (My Heart is not Afraid) A documentary film about a boy whose life became a legend by Studio Siposh (2019), Slovenian with subtitles in English, Spanish and Italian, also available on a DVD. This documentary film presents the short but remarkable life of Lojze Grozde, from his childhood during the interwar period in the poor Slovenian countryside to his life as a student in Ljubljana and finally his tragic death. The film features interviews as well as dramatized reenactments that try to portray this young and fervent Catholic in a more personal way. The interviewees are experts, historians, and ordinary people who have come into contact with him or his story. The role of Alojzij Grozde is played by three young actors, who present him in different periods of his life: Lovro Berkopec (5 years old), Jaka Piščanc (10 years old), and Alex Centa (15–19 years old). The documentary was mostly filmed in the Lower Carniola region. It was produced by a team of more than 70, led by producer and director David Sipoš.
  • [2] Slovesna maša ob prenosu relikvij bl. Alojzija Grozdeta v Marijino cerkev na Zaplazu (Solemn Mass and Translation of Grozde's Relics to Zaplaz) Transmitted by RTV Slovenija (2011).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Šokić, Ivan (January 2, 2018). "Blaženi Lojze Grozde: Mučenik, ki so ga partizani pred 75 leti ubili zaradi vere v Boga". Nova 24TV. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Horvat, Marjan (April 1, 2010). "(Ne)preverjeni mučenik". Mladina. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Bartolj, Jože (June 2010). "Lojze Grozde – Zvest križanemu". Radio ognjišče. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Žajdela, Ivo. "Veličasten lik mladega mučenca". Družina. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Duhovni koledarček 1944, written by Gregor Mali, Ljubljana, Knjižice no. 239/240 1 December 1943, page 13.
  6. ^ Pust, Anton; Reven, Zdravko; Slapšak, Božidar (1995). Palme mučeništva: Ubiti in pomorjeni slovenski duhovniki, redovniki in bogoslovci in nekateri verni laiki (2 ed.). Celje: Mohorjeva družba. pp. 367–368. ISBN 961-218-064-4.
  7. ^ Luzar, Igor (May 30, 2010). "Celjski sad Grozdetovega zrna". Družina. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  8. ^ Furlan, Simona. "Blaženi Lojze Grozde". Zarja. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  9. ^ Levart, Jure (January 19, 2014). "Slovesen sprejem relikvij". Slovenska škofovska konferenca. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  10. ^ Jerebič, Marta (January 20, 2014). "Škof Lipovšek: Bl. Slomšek in bl. Grozde sta luč na poti narodne sprave". Radio ognjišče. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  11. ^ "Blagoslov kapele Dobrega pastirja in posvetitev oltarja v OŠ Alojzija Šuštarja". Nadškofija Ljubljana. December 24, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  12. ^ Strle, Anton (1991). Slovenski mučenec Lojze Grozde. Ljubljana: Katehetski center. p. 134.

LiteratureEdit

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit