A modern saint, Emperor Karl is an inspiration to political leaders in our day . . .
Emperor Karl I of Austria
Feast Day: April 1
Beatified: October 3, 2004
Ever lost something that gave you safety and security: your job, health, etc.? If so, did you get angry with God? Blessed Emperor Karl I Habsburg knew this type of loss, but his response provides a great example for our age.
As a boy, Karl’s home life was bleak. His parents had an unhappy marriage and left his rearing to others. Despite — or perhaps because of — all this, Karl developed a deep faith life early on. He actively worked to achieve sanctity.
Indeed, the day after his marriage, he told his wife, “Now, we must help each other get to heaven.”
Following Austria’s defeat in World War I, the Allies compelled Karl’s abdication and exiled him to the Portuguese island of Madeira. There he spent his last five months living destitute in a home unfit for winter habitation. At midnight on his last New Year’s Eve, while he and others prayed the Te Deum, all started sobbing. All but Karl. That’s how much he had come to accept everything as God’s will.
Indeed, on his deathbed, he said he had done everything necessary to discern and do “the will of God.” His last words were, “As You will it … Jesus!” His tomb says, “Fiat voluntas Tua”— “Thy will be done.”
BRIAN O’NEEL is a writer, husband and father of six living in southeast Pennsylvania. His latest book is “39 New Saints You Should Know.”