Blessed Rupert Mayer

Blessed Rupert MayerAlso known as

  • The Apostle of Munich
  • The Limping Priest (a result of his war injury)



Rupert grew up in a family with five children and received his basic education in Stuttgart, Germany. Feeling a call to the priesthood, he studied philosophy and theology in Freiburg, Switzerland, then in Munich and Tübingen in Germany. Ordained a priest in 1899. Assistant pastor in Spaichingen, Germany. Joined the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria in 1900. From 1906 to 1912, he travelled around Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, preaching parish missions. In 1912 he was assigned to Munich where he worked with migrants who had come to the city looking for work.

Father Rupert volunteered as an army chaplain in World War I. He worked for a while in a camp hospital, but was promoted to captain and sent to the front lines in France, Poland and Romania to minister to soldiers in the trenches. He lived with the soldiers, and was accepted by them. During combat he would crawl unarmed and under fire from man to man, encouraging them, praying with them, administering the Sacraments to them. In December 1915 he was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery, the first chaplain to receive the honour. In December 1916 he was injured on the Romanian front by an exploding grenade, and lost his left leg.

Back in Munich after the War, Father Rupert returned to preaching, teaching, youth ministry and leading retreats for priests. He was there during the short-lived, communist-inspired “Bavarian Republic” of 1918 to 1919. Leader of the Marian Congregation in Munich in 1921. Beginning in 1923 he publicly announced that Nazism was incompatible with Christianity, and no Catholic could be a member of the party. This led to several arrests by the Gestapo including a six month stretch in “protective custody” beginning on 16 May 1937 after which he was sent for seven months to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In 1939, with his health failing and fearing his death would make him a martyr and a rallying point for anti-Nazi Catholics, he was released from the camp on condition that he stay in the Benedictine Abbey of Ettal and not preach. He was finally freed by Allied forces in 1945 and returned to Munich to spend his last few months back in his old ministry.





MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Rupert Mayer“. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 May 2020. Web. 27 January 2022. <>