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The Family of Titus

Blessed Titus Brandsma at age 15

Anno (future Titus) Brandsma at 15 or 16 years, before he entered the Carmelite novitiate. He was a student then in the town of Megen, Holland, at a Franciscan-run Latin school for boys considering a priestly or religious vocation, not just for those entering the Franciscans.

Titus' mother (right) in Friesian (or Friesland) dress. Picture taken about 1925. She died in 1933. Her maiden name was Tjitsje (a veryFriesian name) Postma. Some thought her a conservative woman, not strong, tending to be anxious in the care of her children. Friesland is the northwest area of Holland, with a distinctive culture which Friesians are eager to keep alive. Family names tend to end in "a." Their language borders on English through Anglo-Saxon origins, and it is not readily understood by the Dutch.

The mother of Blessed Titus Brandsma
The father of Blessed Titus Brandsma

Portrait of Titus' father, Titus. (Young Anno took his father's name when he entered the Carmelite order). This man died in 1920. Date of photograph is unknown despite printing at base of picture. Catholics were a minority in Friesland and were defensive about their interests. Mr. Titus Brands-ma took great effort to preserve the Friesian culture within his family. He took part in local politics, at one time becoming Chairman of the local election board

A Brandsma family photo

Family portrait of Brandsma family (above), taken perhaps at Titus' ordination in 1905. From left to right: Fr. Titus, baptized Anno, second youngest in the family. Sr. Maria, a Poor Clare cloistered nun, and so, unable to be present. Her picture was later imposed on this photograph. Baptismal name was Boukje. Titus' mother, Tjitsje (Postma) Brandsma. Trees (pronounced "trace") de Boer, daughter of Titus' married sister Gatske de Boer. Sr. Willebroda, Precious Blood Sisters. Baptismal name was Siebrigje. Jan de Boer, son of Titus' sister, Gatske. Gatske de Boer, the only one of Titus' brothers and sisters to marry. Fr. Heinricus Brandsma, O.F.M., youngest in the family. Sr. Barbara, a Franciscan Sister, baptized Plone. Micheil de Boer, Titus' brother-in-law. His mother's and sisters' baptismal names are Friesian and not easy for Dutch to Dronounce.

The house where Blessed Titus Brandsma was born

The house of Fr. Titus' birth (left) at the place called Oegeklooster, Bolsward. In the Middle Ages, there was a religious house here dedicated to St. Hugo (so "Hugocloister"). Titus' family ran a dairy farm and sold the cheese which they made in this home/factory. This area of Holland is called Friesia or Friesland. Around the world, people are familiar with Friesian Holstein dairy cattle.

The house where Blessed Titus Brandsma was born

The Brandsma family home (above). The family owned a dairy herd and sold milk and the cheese made in this home factory. The place was called Oegeklooster (convent of St. Hugo) because at one time a religious house was located there. Oegeklooster is a short distance from the town of Bolsward in Friesland, Holland, where Anno (Fr. Titus) was baptized and first attended school. The woman and child on the left are probably Gatske (de Boer), Titus' married sister, with her daughter Trees. The man and boy on the right are probably Micheil de Boer, Titus' brother-in-law, with his son, Jan. Although the man in the center seems to be an officer, the others are probably employees who worked at the cheese making. This photo was probably taken about 1900. Micheil de Boer and his family continued the farm and business until he sold it to a relative in 1932.

The gymnasium (secondary school) and friary of the Franciscans at Megen, Holland (right). Anno (Fr. Titus) Brandsma attended this Latin-school as an adolescent due, perhaps, to the influence of the Franciscan pastor at St. Martin parish, the church of the Brandsma's in Bolsward. Many of these students later entered various seminaries for the priesthood. Anno said he didn't join the Franciscans because they lived only one or two together while Anno wanted to live in community.

A school that Blessed Titus Brandsma attended
The neighborhood of Blessed Titus Brandsma

Bolsward. From Oegeklooster, the house of Fr. Titus' birth, looking down the road and across the fields. From the corner of the Brandsma farm, Oegeklooster, the house of Titus' birth, we see the town where Titus was baptized "Anno" in the parish church of St. Martin, and where he later began his first years in school.

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