October 29 - Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka

Quick Facts
  • Sixth daughter of a shoemaker.
  • Grew up in Vienna, Austria.
  • Worked as a sales clerk.
  • Nurse.
  • Joined the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (Hartmannschwestern) in 1914, taking the name Restituta after an early Church martyr.
  • Worked for twenty years as a surgical nurse, beginning in 1919.
  • Known as a protector of the poor and oppressed.
  • Vocal opponent of the Nazis after Anschluss, the German take over of Austria.
  • Sister Restituta hung a crucifix in every room of a new hospital wing.
  • The Nazis ordered them removed; Restituta refused.
  • She was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942.
  • Sentenced to death on 28 October 1942 for "aiding and abetting the enemy in the betrayal of the fatherland and for plotting high treason"; Martin Bormann decided that her execution would provide "effective intimidation" for other opponents of the Nazis.
  • She spent her remaining time in prison caring for other prisoners; even the Communist prisoners spoke well of her.
  • She was offered her freedom if she would abandon her religious community; she declined.
  • Martyr