Lecture series on Titus Brandsma

Last spring the Titus Brandsma Institute organized four online lectures on Titus Brandsma. On this page you can (re)watch these lectures.

Titus Brandsma was born on February 23, 1881 in Ugoklooster (near Bolsward) as Anno Sjoerd Brandsma. Titus became his monastic name on entering the Carmelite order. Brandsma had many talents. He taught young Carmelites in training, was socially active in Oss and worked as a journalist for De Stad Oss and De Gelderlander. For this he wrote mainly articles on spirituality.

Titus Brandsma also became widely known as Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, founded in 1923, of which he was also rector magnificus for one year (1932/33). Several medieval manuscripts, later lost in the war, have been preserved as photo prints thanks to Titus' initiative. This work formed a basis for the foundation of the Titus Brandsma Institute.

Click on the links below to watch the lectures on the TBI YouTube channel:

Summary lecture 1: Personal testimonies of Titus Brandsma (Dutch)| Dr. Anne-Marie Bos | Online (Zoom) | Language: Dutch 

Titus Brandsma was one of the many victims of Nazism and the dictatorial regime associated with it. After his death on 26 July 1942 in Dachau camp, his body was destroyed. This is an example of how dictatorial regimes try to destroy people's personal lives. However, the memory of Titus Brandsma remained alive. To this day, his testimony lives on and speaks to people all over the world. His imminent canonisation also demonstrates this.

Using various material from the life of Titus Brandsma - such as photos, a video recording, an audio recording, but also handwritten notes and a page from his diary - Anne-Marie Bos will give an insight into how Titus Brandsma showed himself as a person.

Anne-Marie Bos is a Carmelite Sister and researcher of the Titus Brandsma Institute. She coordinates the edition project of the writings of Titus Brandsma (www.titusbrandsmateksten.nl)

Summary lecture 2: Titus Brandsma on holiness (Dutch)
T | Prof. dr. Inigo Bocken | Online (Zoom) | Language: Dutch 

Titus Brandsma had an interest in saints' lives from his early childhood - and not just out of personal devotion. He himself wrote saints' lives all his life - not only saints from the tradition of Carmel, but also much more widely. It is remarkable that Brandsma's writing of a saint's life was always accompanied by a reflection on what exactly "holiness" means. The question of holiness also played an important role in his philosophical reflections. In this respect, Brandsma contributed to the renewal of the genre of hagiography itself, a philosophy of saints.

Inigo Bocken is professor for Mystical Theology at KU Leuven, senior fellow researcher at Titus Brandsma Institute Nijmegen and assistant professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen.

Summary lecture 3: Titus Brandsma on Medieval Philosophy (English)
 Dr. Simon Nolan O.Carm. | Online (Zoom) | Language: English

This lecture will be a kind of ‘first look’ at an article published by Titus Brandsma in 1931 entitled ‘Medieval Philosophy in the Netherlands’. This was his contribution to a collaborative volume, published along with his colleague in philosophy, Fr Ferdinand Sassen. Sassen and Brandsma were commissioned to explore the development of philosophy in the Middle Ages in the Netherlands in a way which would complement and complete the study of its art and literature. In their own words, they sought to provide a "survey of the development of philosophical thought in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages, of such great importance for the correct understanding of our art, our literature, in a word, of our own mental life in those times.”

Titus Brandsma’s contribution is revealing of his personality and his spirituality, of his understanding of the relationships among history, philosophy, and mysticism. He is aware of both the benefits and the pitfalls of seeking to write the history of philosophy, especially along national lines. He insists that philosophy is more than scholasticism. Titus Brandsma is convinced that, historically, philosophy in the Netherlands shared with its art a vivid sense of everyday reality combined with an openness to the Divine.

Simon Nolan is a Carmelite and Prior of Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church and Priory in the centre of Dublin City. He lectures in the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and is a Scholar of the Center for Carmelite Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He has specialised in the study of the early Carmelites at the medieval universities and has published on Carmelite spirituality, music, and art.

Summary lecture 4: Titus Brandsma on national socialism (English)
Prof. dr. Fernando Millán Romeral O.Carm. | Online (Zoom) | Language: English 

Titus Brandsma expressed on different occasions his opposition to Nationalsocialism. In 1935 he participated in a book in which several Dutch intellectuals expressed their disagreement with the racial laws known as the Nuremberg Laws. Also in his lectures in Nijmegen he dismantled the philosophical principles on which National Socialism was based.

In this lecture, Fernando Millán Romeral will discuss some of Fr. Titus Brandsma's writings in which, directly or indirectly, he shows his opposition to Nazism. These writings (talks, lectures, homilies) did not go unnoticed by the occupying authorities who alluded to them in their condemnation of our Carmelite.

Fernando Millán Romeral is a Carmelite, professor in the Jesuit University in Madrid (U.P. Comillas) and director of the “Instituto de Espiritualidad” in this University.