Feast Day: August 12th
Father Karl Leisner began studying for his priesthood in Muenster, Germany during the 1930s. He would try to organize Catholic students into groups for discussion, however once the Nazis began to take over, his efforts became less effective. Soon, Leisner was forced to serve for six months in agricultural work. Even though religious activities were banned, Karl arranged Sunday Mass in secret. Once this was discovered, he was declared dangerous and sent to jail. After jail, he was sent to a concentration camp, Dachau, where he spent most of his time in the infirmary. Still, his faith was strong and he arranged to have communion brought to him in secret. In December 1944, four years after he entered the concentration camp, a French bishop was able to ordain him to the priesthood. One year later the allies liberated Dachau, but sadly he died three months later.
Only priest to be ordained in a Nazi concentration camp
He celebrated his one and only Mass as a newly ordained priest on December 26, 1944
“I thought to myself, it’s beautiful to become a priest, but difficult, almost too difficult, and only those who are called by God’s great grace should become one...”
“Heavenly Mother, I place everything into your hands! If you know that I will be a good priest, then help me regain my health and reach my goal. If you see that I will be a bad priest, then let me die before I reach the goal.”