Beato Carlos de Habsburgo

Charles of Austria was born on 17 August 1887 in The Castle of Persenbeug, in the Lower Austria region. His parents were Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josephine of Saxony, daughter of the last king of Saxony. Emperor Joseph I was Charles's great-uncle.

Charles received an expressly Catholic education and from his childhood was accompanied by prayer by a group of people, because a stigmatized religious had prophesied him great sufferings and attacks against him. From this came, after Charles' death, the "Prayer League of Emperor Charles for the Peace of Peoples", which in 1963 will become a community of prayer recognized in the Church.

Very soon a great love for the Holy Eucharist and for the Heart of Jesus grew up in Charles. All important decisions came from prayer.

On 21 October 1911 he married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. During the ten years of happy and exemplary married life the couple received the gift of eight children. On the deathbed, Charles still said to Zita: "! I love you endlessly!"

On 28 June 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne, Charles became the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

While world war I was incarnized, with the death of Emperor Franz Joseph on November 21, 1916, Charles became Emperor of Austria. On 30 December he was crowned Apostolic King of Hungary.

This duty Charles conceives it, too, as a way to follow Christ: in the love for the peoples entrusted to him, in the care for his good and in the donation of his life for them.

The holiest duty of a king - the commitment to peace - Charles put him at the center of his concerns throughout the terrible war. He was the only one among the political leaders to support Benedict XV's peace efforts.

With regard to domestic policy, even in extremely difficult times, he approached a broad and exemplary social legislation, inspired by Christian social education.

His behavior made possible at the end of the conflict a transition to a new order without civil war. Despite this he was banished from his homeland.

At the wish of the Pope, who feared the establishment of communist power in Central Europe, Charles attempted to restore his governing authority in Hungary. But two attempts failed, because he wanted in any case to avoid the outbreak of a civil war.

Charles was sent into exile on Madeira Island (Portugal). As he regarded his mission as a command of God, he could not abdicate his office.

Immersed in poverty, he lived with his family in a rather damp house. Because of this he became ill with death and accepted the disease as a sacrifice for peace and unity of his peoples.

Carlos endured his suffering without regret, forgave all those who had not helped him, and died on April 1, 1922, with his gaze addressed to the Blessed Sacrament. As he himself also recalled on the deathbed, the motto of his life was: "All my commitment is always, in all things, to know as clearly as possible and follow God's will, and this in the most perfect way."