Saint Maximillian Kolbe

Saint Maximillian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe was born in January 1894 and named Raymund Kolbe. When he was twelve years old, he had a vision of Mary. He said about it, “That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both."

Just one year after that when he was thirteen years old, he went with his brother Francis to join the Conventual Franciscans. Here he received the name Maximilian. As a religious, he earned two doctorates from the Pontifical Gregorian University. His doctorates were in philosophy and theology.

He became a priest in 1918. His primary work included promotion of Mary throughout Poland. He also started two monasteries, one in India and the other in Japan.

Eventually, his health required him to return to Poland. When World War II began, he opened a temporary hospital to help those in need.  He also provided shelter to refugees including thousands of Jews. His monastary also published many anti-Nazi literature. 

In 1941, Maximilian was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to the Pawiak prison. Shortly after that, he was moved to Auschwitz. As a priest, Maximilian was harassed and abused severely in the camp. After two months in Auschwitz, he volunteered to take the place of a man who was sentenced to death. This man had been chosen randomly with others simply to die as a warning to the other prisoners. The man had a family and Maximilian took his place. 

Maximilian died on August 14, 1941. He was canonized by John Paul II in October 1982. John Paul II declared him to be a martyr.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!


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