November 1st 1945 - Mayer Rupert
† in Munich
Father Rupert Mayer, the great Men's Apostle of Munich, was born on January 23rd 1876 in Stuttgart. After his final examination in Ravensburg he studied theology in Fribourg, Munich and Tübingen, and was ordained priest by Bishop Keppler on May 2nd 1899 in Rottenburg.
His inclination to live as a regular pressed him more and more. He toyed with the Dominicans in Fribourg and the Benedictines in Beuron. After a short time as Curate in Spaichingen he finally entered on October 1st 1900 the Society of Jesus. After the Noviciate in Tisis (Austria) and additional studies in the Order, he was on January 8th 1912 assigned to work as Minister in Munich, with the special task to care for the immigrants. Munich numbered at that time about 600.000 inhabitants, and annually 8-10.000 immigrants were added to them.
In 1914 he founded together with two other priests the Sister Community of the Holy Family. With outbreak of World War I he volunteered for the military religious welfare. As the first German Field Clergyman he was in 1915 awarded with the Iron Cross Class I. In Romania, in the Sulta Valley, he was heavily wounded on December 30th 1916. The left leg had to be amputated.
After the war he continued his activity in Munich. In 1921 he got a new scope of work, and took on the Men's Sodality of Our Lady at the Bürgersaal (citizen hall). The sphere of his action grew steadily. He created many new parish groups. The number of the members rose from 2.500 to 8.000. Daily he was approached by sixty to seventy people with the most diverse requests. He was pastor and charity apostle at the same time.
He made himself also familiar with the literature of the Nazis, and asked leave to speak at political meetings. Without fear he advocated the truth, realizing that Nazism and Christianity were incompatible. Thus Father Mayer had already attracted attention and was classified as opponent at the time when the NSDAP came into power. After 1933 he was watched over, and incriminating evidence was collected against him.
On April 8th 1937 the Gestapo (secret state police) imposed on him speech prohibition for the entire Reich. On June 5th of the same year he was arrested for the first time. He was arraigned for offence against the 'Heimtückegesetz' (treachery law) and for unlawful bias in sermons, and brought into detention to Stadelheim, and later to Landsberg.
On May 3rd 1938 he was allowed to leave the Landsberg Prison, due to the Austria amnesty. In 1939 he was arrested again and came to Oranienburg into the Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen. When his state of health became precarious, and the Nazis did on no account want to build him up as martyr, he was banished under strict injunctions into the Benedictine abbey Ettal in Upper Bavaria. There he stayed up to the release by the Americans on May 6th 1945.
In the morning of All Saint's Day, November 1st 1945, he said the 8 o'clock Mass in the Cross Chapel of the to a large extent destroyed Jesuit Church St Michael. After the gospel (Beatitudes) he began to preach slowly, but could only stammer, 'The Lord, the Lord, the Lord.' Father Riesterer sat in the confessional. He rushed from the confessional to the altar. Father Mayer stood upright and moved his mouth, without being able to say something. One brought him into the next room and put him on the bed. The lady doctor Berta Hofmann, who had taken part in the Mass, cared for the unconscious one. He was brought into the Hospital Josefinum, where he died ten minutes past eleven o'clock a.m. of cardiac insufficiency.
Toward half past three o'clock p.m. he was brought back in a coffin and was put on the bier in a room above the Cross Chapel. On November 4th 1945 he was buried on the Order Cemetery in Pullach near Munich. On May 23rd 1948 he was transported from Pullach to Munich. 300.000 people lined the streets. He found his last resting-place in the undercroft of the Bürgersaal (see above). There, in the most animated pedestrian precinct of Munich, pray every day about thousand people. The solemn beatification by Pope John Paul II took place on May 3rd 1987 in the Olympia Stadium of Munich.
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