Bl. Rupert Mayer was always in the line of fire, even before he volunteered to be a chaplain during World War I.
According to St. John Paul II, during his homily for the beatification of Mayer, “When Rupert Mayer decided to enter the Society of Jesus in 1900 as a young priest, the Jesuits were still officially regarded as ‘enemies of the Reich,’ who were expelled and forbidden by the law of the country.” Instead of discouraging Mayer from becoming priest and serving in Germany, it strengthened him and gave him even more reason to minister in the country.
In 1914, Mayer volunteered as a chaplain, initially serving in a military hospital. However, it didn’t take long for Mayer to request to be sent to the front lines to minister to the spiritual needs of the soldiers in battle.
He took his job seriously and freely went unarmed into the trenches. Mayer would crawl on the ground from solider to soldier, administering the sacraments and offering counsel in the midst of the bloodshed.