The Second World War produced several saints; one of them was Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, husband, father and Austrian conscientious objector.
Franz was born on May 20, 1907 in Upper Austria. He gained a reputation for wildness while growing up—he was the first in his village to own a motorcycle—and fathered a daughter out of wedlock. His marriage to a deeply religious woman in 1936 settled him down and encouraged his growth in the faith. He and his wife had three daughters.
Although not involved with any political organization, Franz became increasingly anti-Nazi. In 1938 he was the only citizen to vote against the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria by Germany. He became convinced that participation in the war was a serious sin. Called to active duty in 1943 he announced his conscientious objection. He was subsequently tried and executed by guillotine on August 9 at age 36.
In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI declared Franz Jagerstatter a martyr. He was beatified on October 26, 2007 and his feast day is May 21.
Can marriage change a person? Certainly it did for Franz Jagerstatter! How has your spouse influenced you for the better? And how have you influenced your spouse?