Although his friends and tried to convince him to retract his statement and take the oath, Mayr-Nusser refused, believing that Nazi ideals could in no way be reconciled with Christian ethics and values.
As a result he was jailed while he awaited trial. In 1945 he was sentenced to death for treason, and was ordered to march to the Dachau concentration camp, where he was to be shot by firing squad.
However, he fell ill with dysentery along the way and died Feb. 24, 1945, before reaching the camp. When his body was discovered on the train, he had both a Bible and a rosary with him.
Mayr-Nusser's cause for martyrdom was launched by the Diocese of Bolzano and was approved in 2005, allowing him to receive the title "Servant of God." Now, Pope Francis' recognition of his martyrdom has paved the way for his beatification.
Other causes advanced by Pope Francis July 8 include the martyrdom of Servant of God Antonio Arribas Hortigüela and his six companions, all of whom were Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. They were killed in hatred of the faith Sept. 29, 1936 in Girona during the Spanish Civil War.
Francis also acknowledged a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Luis Antonio Rosa Ormières, allowing for his beatification. A priest who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Guardian Angel, Ormières was born in 1809 and died Jan. 16, 1890.
The heroic virtue of six other causes was also recognized, including four clerics, a religious sister, and a layman.
Among the clerics whose heroic virtue was approved of are Servants of God Alfonse Gallegos, who died in 1991 and was an auxiliary bishop of Sacramento; diocesan priest Fr. Rafael Sánchez García; Fr. Joseph Marchetti of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles; and Fr. Giacomo Viale, a Franciscan and pastor of Bordighera, who died in 1912.
Servant of God Andrés García Acosta, a lay member of the Franciscan order, was also approved for heroic virtue. He was born Jan. 10, 1800, and died Jan. 14, 1853.
Sr. Maria Pia of the Cross, foundress of the Congregation of Crucified Sisters Adorers of the Eucharist, was also recognized for having heroic virtue. She was born in 1847, and died July 1, 1919.