+ Marcel was born in Rennes, France. Apprenticed to a printer when he was thirteen, Marcel also belonged to the Christian Workers’ Youth Organization and was known for his devotion and piety. A well-liked and conscientious worker, he became engaged to be married in 1942.
+ Later that year, Marcel was forced to enter the Nazis’ “Service of Obligatory Work,” a program that transported young French men to Germany as slave labor. Marcel was assigned to a factory, where he organized the Christian workers and tried to improve morale despite the inhumane conditions.
+ Although the poor food and abuse destroyed Marcel’s health, he continued to work and organized a Mass for the workers, an act which brought him to the attention of the Gestapo.
+ In April 1944, Marcel was arrested for being “too Catholic” and sent to Mauthausen, one of the harshest of the concentration camps, where those who were considered “incorrigible political enemies of the Rheich” were most often simply worked to death or died from mistreatment. It was there he died on March 19, 1945, of malnutrition and abuse.
+ Blessed Marcel Callo was beatified in 1987. He is listed among the young saints and beati proposed for imitation by young people in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit(see no. 61).
For prayer and reflection
“Just as salt gives flavor to food and light illumines the darkness, so too holiness gives full meaning to life and makes it reflect God’s glory. How many saints, especially young saints, can we count in the Church’s history! In their love for God their heroic virtues shone before the world, and so they became models of life which the Church has held up for imitation by all.”—Saint John Paul II
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Marcel to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.