Thought for the Day – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

Thought for the Day – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

St Maximilian’s “Secret” to Holiness and Happiness

smiling kolbe

St. Maximilian says:  “It is a false and widely diffused idea that the saints were not like us.   They were also subject to temptation, they fell and got up, they also felt overwhelmed with sadness, weakened and paralyzed by discouragement.   But remember the words of the Saviour:  ‘Without me, you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:51) and those of St. Paul:  ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me’ (Phil 4:13).   Not confiding in themselves, but, putting all their confidence in God after every humiliating fall, they repented sincerely, they purified their soul in the Sacrament of Penance and then they went back to work with still greater fervour.”
We are very much deceived if we think we cannot become a saint, or that we will be “lucky” if we even make it to Purgatory.   The great men of the world overcome all kinds of obstacles in order to become rich or famous.   Why do we not try harder to persevere, when that is precisely what Our Blessed Lord deserves?   After all, He poured Himself out for us so that we might be holy.   The saints were not supermen; they were sinners who persevered through hardship and adversity because they were humble and repentant and confident in God’s grace.”…(Fr Angelo M. Geiger F.I.)
In the end, holiness is not merely a warm feeling of God’s presence or even the ecstatic experiences of the saints.   St Maximilian tells us that true holiness is found in obedience and obedience is acquired through prayer, penance and perseverance.
And this obedience consists in living – truly living the life of a Catholic, St Maximillian said his own words):

“Go to confession with sincerity, diligence, a deep sorrow for his sins and a firm resolve to amend his life. He will suddenly feel a peace and happiness compared with which all the fleeting, unworthy pleasures of this world are really an odious torment.

Let everyone seek to come and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with proper preparation.

Go to Eucharistic Adoration – for this is the the most important activity.

Let him never permit his soul to remain in sin but let him purify it immediately.

Let him do his duty manfully.

Let him address humble and frequent prayers to God’s throne, especially through the hands of the Immaculate Virgin.

Let him welcome his brethren with a charitable heart, bearing for God’s sake the sufferings and difficulties of life.

Let him do good to all, even his enemies, solely for the love of God and not in order to be praised or even thanked by men.”

Then we will come to understand what it means to have a foretaste of paradise;  and perhaps more than once we will find peace and joy even in poverty, suffering, disgrace, or illness.

St Maximillian, pray for us!

st max pray for us


Quote/s of the Day – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

Quote/s of the Day – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

“If angels could be jealous of men,
they would be so, for one reason:

if angels could be jealous of men - st maximillian kolbe

“Jesus honoured her before all ages
and will honour her for all ages.
No one comes to Him, nor even near Him,
no one is saved or sanctified,
if he too will not honour her.
This is the lot of Angels and of men.”

jesus honoured her before all ages - st maximillian kolbe

“Be a man! Don’t blush for your convictions.”

be a man! don't blush for your convictions - st maximillian kolbe

“Let us remember, that love lives through sacrifice
and is nourished by giving.
Without sacrifice, there is no love.”

remember that love lives through sacrifice - st maximillian kolbe

“My aim is to institute perpetual adoration,
for this is the the most important activity.”

my aim is to institute - st maximillian kolbe

“Be a Catholic!
When you kneel before an altar,
do it in such a way that others
may be able to recognise
that you know before Whom you kneel.”

be a catholic - st maximillian kolbe

St Maximilian Kolbe


One Minute Reflection – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

One Minute Reflection – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

Mine are counsel and advice; mine is strength; I am understanding….Proverbs 8:14

Proverbs 8-14

REFLECTION – “When we dedicate ourselves to Mary, we become instruments in her hands, just as she is an instrument in God’s hands.   Let us then be guided by her, for she will provide for the needs of body and soul and overcome all difficulties and anxieties.”…St Maximillian Kolbe

when we dedicate ourselves to Mary - st maximillian kolbe

PRAYER – My Lord and my God, You who are the fruit of Mary’s blessed womb and the most Divine Son of our Father, grant that I may always have recourse to You, through her who bore You. Grant that she may help and comfort me and lead me to You. Mary, Holy and loving Mother of God, pray for us all, amen

st maximillian - pray for us


Our Morning Offering – 14 August

Our Morning Offering – 14 August

Consecration to the Immaculata – By St Maximillian Kolbe

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth,
Refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you.
I, ……………(name), a repentant sinner,
cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you
to take me with all that I am and have,
wholly to yourself as your possession and property.
Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body,
of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve,
wholly to accomplish what was said of you:
“She will crush your head,” and
“You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.”
Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands
for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum
in all the many strayed and indifferent souls
and thus help extend as far as possible,
the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion
and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands
that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin
Give me strength against your enemies

A shorter version of the prayer can be used for the daily renewal of the consecration:

Daily Consecration Renewal to the Immaculata
By St Maximillian Kolbe

Immaculata, Queen and Mother of the Church,
I renew my consecration to you for this day
and for always, so that you might use me
for the coming of the Kingdom of Jesus in the whole world.
To this end, I offer you all my prayers,
actions and sacrifices of this day.

daily consecration renewal to the immaculata by st maximillian kolbe


Saint of the Day – 14 August – St Maximillian Kolbe OFM Conv – “MARTYR of CHARITY” and “Apostle of Consecration to Mary”

Saint of the Day – 14 August – St Maximillian Kolbe OFM Conv – “MARTYR of Charity” and “Apostle of Consecration to Mary”- Born Maksymilian Maria Kolbe(7 January 1894 at Zdunska Wola, Poland as Raymond Kolbe – 14 August 1941 by lethal carbonic acid injection after three weeks of starvation and dehydration at the Auschwitz, Poland death camp).   His body was burned in the ovens and the ashes scattered.   Some relics have been preserved and distributed by the friars at Niepokalanów, Poland.   He was Beatified on 17 October 1971 by Pope Paul VI – his beatification miracles include the July 1948 cure of intestinal tuberculosis of Angela Testoni and August 1950 cure of calcification of the arteries/sclerosis of Francis Ranier.   He was Canonised on 10 October 1982 by St Pope John Paul II, who declared him a ‘Martyr of Charity.’   Patronages – drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, amateur radio, the pro-life movement, Esperanto.  St John Paul II declared him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century”. Due to Kolbe’s efforts to promote consecration and entrustment to Mary, he is known as the “Apostle of Consecration to Mary”.

Maximilian Kolbe was born on 8 January 1894 in Zduńska Wola, in the Kingdom of Poland, which was a part of the Russian Empire, the second son of weaver Julius Kolbe and midwife Maria Dąbrowska.   His father was an ethnic German and his mother was Polish. He had four brothers.

Kolbe’s life was strongly influenced in 1906 by a childhood vision of the Virgin Mary. He later described this incident:  “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.”

Franciscan Friar
In 1907, Kolbe and his elder brother Francis joined the Conventual Franciscans.   They enrolled at the Conventual Franciscan minor seminary in Lwow later that year.   In 1910, Kolbe was allowed to enter the novitiate, where he was given the religious name Maximilian.   He professed his first vows in 1911 and final vows in 1914, adopting the additional name of Maria.   He was sent to Rome in 1912, where he attended the Pontifical Gregorian University.   He earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1915 there. From 1915 he continued his studies at the Pontifical University of St Bonaventure where he earned a doctorate in theology in 1919 or 1922 (sources vary).   He was active in the consecration and entrustment to Mary.   During his time as a student, he witnessed vehement demonstrations against Popes St. Pius X and Benedict XV in Rome during an anniversary celebration by the Freemasons.   According to Kolbe:

“They placed the black standard of the “Giordano Brunisti” under the windows of the Vatican.   On this standard the archangel, St Michael, was depicted lying under the feet of the triumphant Lucifer.   At the same time, countless pamphlets were distributed to the people in which the Holy Father was attacked shamefully.”

Soon afterward, Kolbe organised the Militia Immaculatae (Army of the Immaculate One), to work for conversion of sinners and enemies of the Catholic Church, specifically the Freemasons, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.   So serious was Kolbe about this goal that he added to the Miraculous Medal prayer:

“O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.   And for all those who do not have recourse to thee;  especially the Masons and all those recommended to thee.”


In 1918, Kolbe was ordained a priest.   In July 1919 he returned to the newly independent Poland, where he was active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He was strongly opposed to leftist – in particular, communist – movements.   From 1919 to 1922 he taught at the Kraków seminary.   Around that time, as well as earlier in Rome, he suffered from tuberculosis, which forced him to take a lengthy leave of absence from his teaching duties.   In January 1922 he founded the monthly periodical Rycerz Niepokalanej (Knight of the Immaculate), a devotional publication based on French Le Messager du Coeur de Jesus (Messenger of the Heart of Jesus).    From 1922 to 1926 he operated a religious publishing press in Grodno.   As his activities grew in scope, in 1927 he founded a new Conventual Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanów near Warsaw, which became a major religious publishing center.   A junior seminary was opened there two years later.

Between 1930 and 1936, Kolbe undertook a series of missions to East Asia.   At first, he arrived in Shanghai, China but failed to gather a following there.   Next, he moved to Japan, where by 1931 he founded a monastery at the outskirts of Nagasaki (it later gained a novitiate and a seminary) and started publishing a Japanese edition of the Knight of the Immaculate.   The monastery he founded remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan.   Kolbe built the monastery on a mountainside that, according to Shinto beliefs, was not the side best suited to be in harmony with nature.   When the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Kolbe’s monastery was saved because the other side of the mountain took the main force of the blast.   In mid-1932 he left Japan for Malabar, India, where he founded another monastery;  this one however closed after a while.   Meanwhile, the monastery at Niepokalanów began in his absence to publish the daily newspaper, Mały Dziennik (The Little Daily), in alliance with the political group, the National Radical Camp (Obóz Narodowo Radykalny).   This publication reached a circulation of 137,000, and nearly double that, 225,000, on weekends.

Death at Auschwitz
After the outbreak of World War II, which started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, Kolbe was one of the few brothers who remained in the monastery, where he organised a temporary hospital.   After the town was captured by the Germans, he was briefly arrested by them on 19 September 1939 but released on 8 December.   He refused to sign the Deutsche Volksliste, which would have given him rights similar to those of German citizens in exchange for recognising his German ancestry.   Upon his release he continued work at his monastery, where he and other monks provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 2,000 Jews whom he hid from German persecution in their friary in Niepokalanów.   Kolbe also received permission to continue publishing religious works, though significantly reduced in scope.   The monastery thus continued to act as a publishing house, issuing a number of anti-Nazi German publications.   On 17 February 1941, the monastery was shut down by the German authorities.   That day Kolbe and four others were arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison.   On 28 May, he was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670.

Continuing to act as a priest, Kolbe was subjected to violent harassment, including beating and lashings and once had to be smuggled to a prison hospital by friendly inmates.   At the end of July 1941, three prisoners disappeared from the camp, prompting SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, the deputy camp commander, to pick 10 men to be starved to death in an underground bunker to deter further escape attempts.   When one of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, “My wife! My children!”, Kolbe volunteered to take his place.  (The last pic below with St John Paul is at the Canonisation of St Maximillian).

According to an eye witness, an assistant janitor at that time, in his prison cell, Kolbe led the prisoners in prayer to Our Lady.   Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe remained alive.   “The guards wanted the bunker emptied, so they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid.   Kolbe is said to have raised his left arm and calmly waited for the deadly injection.” His remains were cremated on 15 August, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary.

Kolbe’s influence has found fertile ground in his own Order of Conventual Franciscan friars, in the form of continued existence of the Militia Immaculatae movement.   In recent years new religious and secular institutes have been founded, inspired from this spiritual way.   Among these the Missionaries of the Immaculate Mary – Father Kolbe, the Franciscan Friars of Mary Immaculate, and a parallel congregation of Religious Sisters, and others.   The Franciscan Friars of Mary Immaculate are even taught basic Polish so they can sing the traditional hymns sung by Kolbe, in the saint’s native tongue.   According to the friars,

“Our patron, St. Maximilian Kolbe, inspires us with his unique Mariology and apostolic mission, which is to bring all souls to the Sacred Heart of Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Christ’s most pure, efficient and holy instrument of evangelisation – especially those most estranged from the Church.”

Kolbe’s views into Marian theology echo today through their influence on Vatican II.   His image may be found in churches across Europe.   Several churches in Poland are under his patronage, such as the Sanctuary of Saint Maxymilian in Zduńska Wola or the Church of Saint Maxymilian Kolbe in Szczecin.   A museum, Museum of St. Maximilian Kolbe “There was a Man”, was opened in Niepokalanów in 1998.

In 1963 Rolf Hochhuth published a play significantly influenced by Kolbe’s life and dedicated to him, The Deputy.   In 2000, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.) designated Marytown, home to a community of Conventual Franciscan friars, as the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe.   Marytown is located in Libertyville, Illinois, and also features the Kolbe Holocaust Exhibit.   In 1991, Krzysztof Zanussi released a Polish film about the life of Kolbe.   The Polish Senate declared the year 2011 to be the year of St Maximilian Kolbe.

First-class relics of Kolbe exist, in the form of hairs from his head and beard, preserved without his knowledge by two friars at Niepokalanów who served as barbers in his friary between 1930 and 1941.   Since his beatification in 1971, more than 1,000 such relics have been distributed around the world for public veneration.   Second-class relics such as his personal effects, clothing and liturgical vestments, are preserved in his monastery cell and in a chapel at Niepokalanów and may be viewed by visitors.

St Maximillian Pray for us!


Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints for today – 14 August

St Maximillian Kolbe (Memorial) –

Bl Aimo Taparelli
St Antony Primaldo
St Arnulf of Soissons
St Athanasia of Timia
St Callistus of Todi
St Demetrius of Africa
St Domingo Ibáñez de Erquicia
St Eberhard of Einsiedeln
St Eusebius of Palestine
St Eusebius of Rome
St Fachanan of Ross
St Francisco Shoyemon
Bl Juliana Puricelli
St Marcellus of Apamea
Bl Sanctes Brancasino
St Ursicius of Nicomedia
St Werenfridus

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: 11 Beati
Ángel de la Red Pérez
Antonio María Martín Povea
Basilio González Herrero
Ezequiél Prieto Otero
Félix Yuste Cava
Joaquín Frade Eiras
Jocund Bonet Mercadé
José García Librán
Ricardo Atanes Castro
Segundo Pérez Arias
Vicente Rubiols Castelló