Blessed Eustace Kugler’s 150th anniversary
15 January 2017 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Eustace Kugler (15 January 1867 – 10 June 1946). It is customary for the liturgy of the Catholic Church to commemorate the heavenly birthday (dies natalis) of saints or beati in the calendar. But we also wish to commemorate the earthly birth of our beloved, mild and meek Brother Eustace Kugler, who was proclaimed “Blessed” by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 October 2009 in the Bavarian city of Regensburg, where he died in 1946 in the odour of sanctity.
Every birth is a gift of God, and that was how the Kugler family welcomed the birth of their sixth child, Joseph – his baptismal name – in the tiny Bavarian village of 200 souls. He was baptised on the same day in the parish church at Nittenau, an hour’s walk from his village which Joseph, as a schoolboy, would take every day to attend school.
His Religious Life as a follower of Saint John of God was an example of his devout piety, love and respect for the sick, his fellow Brothers and the hospital staff; and above all, an example of patience, especially when he was forced to face difficult years as the Provincial Superior with interrogations, and continual harassment and inspections by the Gestapo, to get him to testify against the Brothers.
The General Hospital which he founded in Regensburg was the best in the whole of Bavaria, next which he had a Chapel built dedicated to Saint Pius V, where his mortal remains now lie.
Blessed Eustace, a fervent devotee of Our Blessed Lady and our Father John of God, suffered throughout his life as a result of a stomach cancer, aggravated by a duodenal ulcer, yearning to enter his Heavenly Home.