Mary Frances Coady

January 30, 1945

On January 30 Alfred Delp wrote his last note on a prison order form to the two Mariannes:

“Pray and have faith.  Thank you.CCF09182014_00002


January 17, 1945

As he sat waiting in his cell, Delp’s creative energies were again released and he wrote meditations on the Lord’s Prayer which, as he told Luise, was written almost entirely in handcuffs, and “Come Holy Spirit”, which is the Sequence for Pentecost Sunday.


To Marianne Hapig/Marianne



Good people,

I’m still writing letters and still giving you trouble and worry.  This wasn’t expected just a week ago, because I should have been hanged an hour or so after the verdict.  For awhile on Thursday we didn’t know where we were going to be driven.  It’s all so strange.  We are the first who weren’t taken to Prince-Albert-Strasse for the trial, although that was planned.  Our charges were addressed there.  Then we returned here again and are once again sitting and waiting.  Is the sacrifice I’m willingly offering enough for God, or does he want to test my trust right up to the breaking point?  What the atmosphere of January 11 means, I don’t know.

Alfred Delp before the People's Court, January 9, 1945

Alfred Delp before the People’s Court, January 9, 1945

To be ready for death is the least that one can expect from us, although I don’t think anyone has a particular yearning for it.  The good head guard is at home sick.  Do you think you might bring something to comfort him?

As requested and ordered, I have written and sent off the appeal to the supreme court prosecutor.  I’ve also written to Heinrich Himmler.  Please advise me on whether I should send it.  It also should go to the supreme court.  It could also be an advantage in that they might wait here until a decision comes from there, and thus we get time on our side.  (The only value of these appeals is to gain time; they’re not going to pardon me.)  The trial was clearly anti-Church and anti-Christian.


Since then I’ve been filled with a great freedom

But perhaps this is allowing for time or even the grace of a greater humility that still exists where one doesn’t expect it.  It can have the disadvantage that the atmosphere at Himmler’s end could be corrupted by that other place. Please give me your opinion very soon.  All the best and thanks a lot.  Thursday was a good day in spite of everything.  The last thing I did here was Mass.  Since then I’ve been filled with a great freedom.  Let things happen as they may.  The world changed on that day.  Warmly and gratefully,


The good head guard is at home sick.  Don’t you have something to comfort him?  Some paper, please.  I’d still like to finish the litany.

January 2, 1945

“Darkness shall not frighten us nor distress wear us out; we will go on waiting, watching and praying until the star rises.”

—from Alfred Delp’s Christmas meditation, 1944 CCF09182014_00001

After several postponements, the date for Delp’s trial had been fixed at January 9.  He was to be tried with Helmuth von Moltke and three others.

To Marianne Hapig and Marianne Punder:

Is it next week for sure?  Georg has written that Sperr should put his statement in writing.  It has to be this week.  Pray and believe.

All the best to everyone for 1945.

December 31, 1944

To Marianne Hapig and Marianne Pünder


Good people!  Greetings to you and God’s powerful protection for the new year.  We can’t wish ourselves anything more or less this year.  God already knows what he wants from us in the year ahead.

CCF09182014_00002Tomorrow is the feast day of the Society of Jesus!  With every new day I am so glad that December 8 worked out well.  That’s now the reason for my life.  God has given me a permanent place in his universe, which for a long time I’ve waited for.  Everything else is now of mere secondary importance.

Thank you again and again for your faithful care.  I really don’t know how I can make it up to you.  Ever since December 8, and even more since Christmas, I feel great peace.  As if everything were complete for me, once and for all.  Many things I wanted to undertake were prevented from the inside.  Do you know how it is?  When you suddenly feel moved toward a purpose and something pushes you away?

All the best, and God’s good blessing.




To Luise Oestreicher


Dear L.,

I still don’t have news of how all of you in Munich got over the bombings.  It seems that the Mariannes have gone away for awhile.  So the first time I’ll hear anything further will be next Tuesday, January 2.

How are you doing?  [….] This New Year’s Eve there’s a lot going back and forth in my mind.  I thank you so much for everything and I beg for your forgiveness.  And also for the fact that you have to bear some of this burden I’m under.  You would have had an easier time in life without me. [….]

Ever since Christmas I’ve felt greater peace.  You all must have done a good job praying for me.  Please don’t quit.  During the festive season the ship here has been loosely tied.  Now begins the launch back into open waters….

Now begins the launch back into open waters….

Say hello to Bauergretel for me.  Please give her the meditation on the Christmas figures if you can read it and get someone to transcribe it.  I wanted to send you another few thoughts about the Christmas image of God, about the transformation of humanity that has taken place because of Christmas, and about German socialism.  But we’ve been kept tied up a lot this week, and besides, I have a slight case of the flu, which has made me more tired than usual….

Greetings to all my friends.  And also to the Wolferkam people and to my mother.  And to Secchi!  May God protect them all in 1945.

May God protect them all in 1945.

And I keep asking for faithfulness in trust and prayer.  Are you praying that I’ll get out of here?  May God bless you.  At Mass every evening I bless you and pray for you.  And often at other times.  All the best, and love in his Name,



December 31, 1944


To Prof. Fritz Valjavec [a Munich friend]


Dear Friend,

It’s the year’s end, and I’m thinking about my friends with gratitude….They’re going to be putting the dreaded handcuffs on me right away again, but they can’t prevent me from sending God’s blessing to everyone.  That’s what I do every evening.  At Mass and at other times as well.

Thank you for your loyalty.  Despite this miserable state of affairs, I believe that we’ll see each other again.  When that happens, we’ll be sowing and reaping together.  In the meantime, the seed is being made ready.

In the meantime, the seed is being made ready.

May God grant powerful protection to you and your wife in the new year….

Give greetings to my friends.  Thank you and good-bye.


Before Christmas 1944

To Marianne Hapig and Marianne Pünder


I heard about the negative results of the efforts regarding Sperr.  So we’ll have to start all over again.  Put a piece of wood or some such thing between the bread so he’ll have to pay attention.

Keep trying to ask him to take back this statement beforehand, in writing, to the president of the People’s Court and the counsel assigned to Delp at the People’s Court….CCF09182014_00001


Please tell him the information that was in the last note, because he’s suspicious beyond words and doesn’t think he’ll be left safe.  Please don’t let up, whatever happens.  God is the one I trust, not Sperr’s insight.  And yet perhaps God wants to make use of this insight.  Or perhaps not.


Can someone pick up a Christmas letter for Pünder on Sunday?  I’d really like to write to him for the feast, but won’t get to it before then.


Meanwhile, once again, God reward you and give you a blessed waiting time.  This is how it is:  wait time, hard time (Wartezeit, hartezeit).  It seems the hearing won’t be before January 15.  But it’s not yet certain.


Is there any bit of news from Munich yet?  Mother, Marianne, the church, Luise, etc.

Yours truly and gratefully,

Alfred Delp SJ

The schloss, or main house of the Kreisau estate.  The estate now houses the Krsysowa Foundation for European Understanding.

The schloss, or main house of the Kreisau estate. The estate now houses the Krsysowa Foundation for European Understanding.

The loosely knit, so-called “Kreisau” group was named after the estate in Silesia (now part of Poland) of the same name, which belonged to the aristocrat and lawyer Helmut von Moltke. Moltke was six months older than Delp.  Three clandestine meetings of the group were held at a modest house called the berghaus on the estate, where Moltke lived with his wife Freya and their two young sons.  Such meetings were considered treasonable by the Third Reich.  Freya von Moltke kept the written proceedings of the meetings in the Kreisau beehive.

The berghaus, where the Kreisau meetings were held

The berghaus, where the Kreisau meetings were held

Through torture, the names of most of the members of the group were gradually divulged after the July 20 assassination attempt. Some had been active participants in the plot to assassinate Hitler, while others knew little or nothing about it.  Delp was said to know of the plot in only general terms.

Helmut and Freya von Moltke

Helmut and Freya von Moltke

The other two Jesuits who were part of the Kreisau group, Augustin Rösch and Lothar König, went into hiding after Delp’s arrest. In their place, three other Jesuits as well as König’s sister were arrested.

“Famous” vs “Infamous”

A CBC commentator referred to today’s 50th anniversary of the “infamous” march on Washington.  Surely that march is famous, not infamous.  “Infamous” refers to an event or an action that is considered evil or monstrous.  Thus freedom marches become famous, and the segregation laws of the pre-civil rights days are considered infamous.

“Whoever” and “Whomever”

In one of the most recent episodes of the popular British series, “Foyle’s War”, Foyle asks, “May I speak to whomever is in charge here?”

“Whomever” should be “whoever” in this sentence.  The reason for this is that “whoever is in charge here” is a subordinate clause, and as such it has a subject and a verb.  The subject is “whoever” and the verb is “is”.

As with “who” and “whom”, “whoever” is subject and “whomever” is object.  However, in the sentence above, the whole clause (“whoever is in charge here”) is the object.

A Grammar Blog

An article in a recent New Yorker contains the following sentence:

“A range of other provisions were also suggested.”

In the above sentence, range is the subject.  Because range is a singular noun, the verb should be was.

So the sentence should read as follows:

“A range of other provisions was also suggested.”

A Word Blog

If you aren’t interested in something–say, science fiction movies….

Are you disinterested in science fiction movies or uninterested in science fiction movies?

If you aren’t interested in science fiction movies, you are uninterested in them.

If you are disinterested, this means that you are neutral on a particular matter.

An example of disinterested in a sentence:

“To get an unbiased opinion, they sought the advice of a disinterested party.”