Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let us remember...

Father Kolbe's Life as a Saint and a Martyr

Maximilian Kolbe founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady. After receiving a doctorate in theology, he spread the Movement through a magazine entitled "The Knight of the Immaculata." He also helped form a community of 800 men, which was the largest male community in the world at that time.

When World War II started, Father Kolbe's printing apostolate was a target of hatred from the Germans. After the Nazi invasion in 1939, Kolbe was imprisoned by the Gestapo and released for a time. But on February 17, 1941, he was arrested again and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, with a group of 320 other prisoners.

During his time at Auschwitz, he shared his meager rations of food with those around him. He secretly heard confessions and held Mass for others in the camp. His work, even under these terrible conditions, continued. He would comfort the prisoners, saying, "Hate is not creative. Our sorrow is necessary so that those who live after us may be happy." Father Kolbe pleaded incessantly with the other prisoners to forgive their persecutors and overcome evil with good.

On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner's escape, 10 men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. He was the last of the group to die, at 47 years of age, after enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners and the pro-life movement. His feast day is August 14th.

St. Maximilian Kolbe,pray for us.


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