Blessed Richard Henkes

Blessed Richard HenkesMemorial


One of eight children in the family of a stone mason. His mother taught the children religion, and would sprinkle them with holy water each night before bed. Attracted to the idea of mission work, Richard joined the Pallotines in 1919. Spiritual student of the Servant of God Joseph Kentenich. Ordained to the priesthood on 6 June 1925 in the diocese of Limburg, Germany. Teacher in several Pallottine and Schoenstatt schools beginning in 1926. In 1927 he diagnosed with tuburculosis, and collapsed from exhaustion; there was thought to transfer him to South Africa for his health, but he was considered too sick to surive such a trip. By 1928 he was somewhat recovered, and insisted on resuming teaching. In 1931 he was assigned to schools in Upper Silesia.

A skilled and popular preacher and retreat leader, Richard was known for condemning the ideology and actions of the Nazis, especially the murder of disabled people and others considered an unproductive burden on society. He was arrested for this on 7 March 1937 in Roppach, Germany, but was warned and released. Father Richard became an indirect collaborator with the Resistance, and spoke so forcefully and so often against the Nazis that his superiors began to worry that the Nazis would retaliate against the school where Richard taught. He was arrested again on 8 April 1943 in Branitz, Germany for making political statements, and was imprisoned first at Ratibor, Germany, and then in the Dachau concentration camp where he was forced to do manual labour for the SS, and where he would remain the rest of his life. He became friends with fellow prisoner and future Cardinal, Josef Beran, who taught Father Richard the Czech language so he could help minister to imprisoned Czechs. When typhoid broke out in the camp, Father Richard volunteer to minister to the sick until he contracted the illness himself. Martyr.





MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Richard Henkes“. CatholicSaints.Info. 31 August 2021. Web. 1 December 2021. <>