Saint of the Day – 14 August – St Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (1894-1941) Prisoner 16670

Saint of the Day – 14 August – St Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (1894-1941) Prisoner 16670 – “Martyr of Charity”, “Apostle of Consecration to Mary”.header - st max icon - my snip

Raymond Kolbe was born on the 8th of January 1894 in Zdunska Wola, which at that time was occupied by Russia.   The Kolbe home was poor but full of love.   The parents, hardworking and religious, educated their three sons with rectitude.

Around 1906, an event took place that marks a fundamental milestone in the life of the young boy.   His mother herself related the event a few months after her son’s max detail enlgdst mac enlg

“I knew ahead of time, based on an extraordinary event that took place in his infancy, that Maximilian would die a martyr.   I just don’t recall if it took place before or after his first confession.   Once I did not like one of his pranks and I reproached him for it:  ‘My son, what ever will become of you?!’   Later, I did not think of it again but I noticed that the boy had changed so radically, he was hardly recognisable.   We had a small altar hidden between two dressers before which he used to often retire without being noticed and he would pray there crying.   In general, he had a conduct superior to his age, always recollected and serious and when he prayed he would burst into tears.   I was worried, thinking he had some sort of illness so I asked him:  ‘Is there anything wrong?   You should share everything with your mommy!’   Trembling with emotion and with his eyes flooded in tears, he shared:  ‘Mama, when you reproached me, I pleaded with the Blessed Mother to tell me what would become of me.   At Church I did the same, I prayed the same thing again.   So then the Blessed Mother appeared to me holding in her hands two crowns:  one white the other red.   She looked at me with tenderness and asked me if I wanted these two crowns.   The white one signified that I would preserve my purity and the red that I would be a martyr.   I answered that I accepted them…(both of them).  Then the Virgin Mary looked at me with sweetness and disappeared.’   The extraordinary change in the boys’ behaviour testified to me the truth of what he related.   He was fully conscious and as he spoke to me, with his face radiatin,; it showed me his desire to die a martyr.”header 2 - st max artwork

When he was 13 years old he entered the Franciscan Fathers Seminary in the polish city of Lvov, which was at that time occupied by Austria.   It was in the seminary where he adopted the name Maximilian.   He completed his studies in Rome.   Before his ordination as a priest in 1918, Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to our Lady.   He spread the movement through a magazine entitled “The Knight of the Immaculata”.   “We should conquer the universe and each soul, now and in the future until the end of time, for the Immaculata and through her for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” (St Maximilian Maria Kolbe, The Knight of the Immaculata)St_Maximilian_Kolbe_by_Sue_Kouma_Johnson_1024x1024

Maximilian went to Japan and then on to India where he furthered the Movement.  After a few years in Japan, St Maximilian was summoned back to Poland, largely due to his ever-declining health.

beautiful st max

Three years later, in the midst of the Second World War, he was imprisoned along with other friars and sent to concentration camps in Germany and Poland.   In February of 1941 he was again made a prisoner and sent to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where in spite of the terrible living conditions he continued his ministry.maximilian

On 31 July 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner’s escape, ten men were chosen to die.  Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father.   And he was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst and neglect.   He was Canonised by St Pope John Paul II in 1982 as a Martyr of Charity.CANONIZATION-OF-St-MAXIMILIst max artwork - my edit lg


Thought for the Day – 5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow

Thought for the Day – 5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow

St Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal cathedrals in memory of the first centres of the Church.   St John Lateran represents Rome, the See of Peter;   St Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, the see presided over by Mark;   St Peter’s, the See of Constantinople and St Mary’s, the See of Antioch, where Mary is believed to have spent most of her later life.

Theological debate over Christ’s nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century.   The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus.   Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see.   The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop’s refutation of a cherished belief.   When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos!   Theotokos!”

So often I wish we would take to the streets shouting the same, “Mother of God! Mother of God!”

“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.”

St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)jesus-honoured-her-before-all-ages-st-maximillian-kolbe - 5 aug 2017

Our Lady of the Snows, Pray for us!

our lady of the snows - pray for us - 5 aug 2018


Quote of the Day – 3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316)

Quote of the Day – 3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316)

“Speaking of Prayer”

The heart-rending and beautiful words of another Martyr, St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941), on the power of prayer.

The day was long,
The burden I had borne
Seemed heavier than I could longer bear
And then it lifted but I did not know
Some one had knelt in prayer;
Had taken me to God, that very hour,
And asked the easing of the load and He,
In infinite compassion, had stooped down
And taken it from me.
We cannot tell how often, as we pray
For some bewildered one,
Hurt and distressed,
The answer comes,
But many times those hearts,
find sudden peace and rest.
Someone had prayed and Faith,
a reaching hand,
Took hold of God
and brought Him down, that day!
So many, many hearts have need of prayer.
Oh, let us pray!

St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)the day was long - st maximillian kolbe - 3 feb 2018


Quote of the Day – 10 December – – The Memorial of Our Lady and the Holy House of Loreto

Quote of the Day – 10 December – The Memorial of Our Lady and the Holy House of Loretoloreto-caravaggio

loreto - mario 2loreto - mario 3

“I went to Loreto with a simple faith,
believing what I still believe,
even more so after having seen.
Now I no longer have any doubts.
If you ask me why I believe it, it is because everyone believes it in Rome—
cautious and skeptical as they are in many other things.
I believe it, as I believe that there is a planet called Neptune,
or that chloroform destroys the sense of pain.
I have no prior difficulties on this point.”i went to loreto - bl john henry newman - 10 dec 2017

“It was thought that St Maximilian Kolbe never visited Loreto.
Our Lady, however, always manages to bring to what was her hom, while on earth,
those who revere and venerate her in a special way.
It comes as no surprise, then, to learn from the Mass register of the Basilica,
that he participated in a Mass along with thirty priests from Yugoslavia on 13 July 1919.
The following day, the feast of the Franciscan theologian St Bonaventure,
he celebrated Mass within the Holy house itself.
And so another name, a modem day Saint, has been added to the list of Saints
and holy persons who have visited the shrine of Loreto.
Undoubtedly there will be many more as time goes on, paying their respects
and drawing inspiration from the holiest House in this world. ”

Blessed Cardinal Henry John Newman – written in 1848 and 1884

The Popes on Loreto – squareour lady of loreto - mario

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Quote/s of the Day – 22 August – The Queenship of Mary

Quote/s of the Day – 22 August – The Queenship of Mary

“She has surpassed the riches of the virgins,
the confessors, the martyrs, the apostles,
the prophets, the patriarchs and the angels,
for she herself is the first-fruit of the virgins,
the mirror of confessors, the rose of martyrs,
the ruler of apostles, the oracle of prophets,
the daughter of patriarchs, the queen of angels.”

…St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Seraphic Doctor

she has surpassed the riches - st bonaventure

“Mary has the authority over the angels
and the blessed in heaven.
As a reward for her great humility,
God gave her the power and mission of assigning to saints
the thrones made vacant by the apostate angels
who fell away through pride.
Such is the will of the almighty God who exalts the humble,
that the powers of heaven, earth and hell,
willingly or unwillingly, must obey the commands
of the humble Virgin Mary.
For God has made her queen of heaven and earth,
leader of his armies, keeper of his treasure,
dispenser of his graces, mediatrix on behalf of men,
destroyer of his enemies and faithful associate
in his great works and triumphs.”

…St Louis Marie de Montfort

mary has the authority over the angels - st louis de montfort

“To serve the Queen of Heaven is already to reign there
and to live under her commands, is more than to govern.”

…St John Marie Vianney

to serve the queen of heaven - st john vianney

“Prayer is powerful beyond limits
when we turn to the Immaculata
who is queen even of God’s heart.”

…St Maximilian Kolbe

prayer is powerful beyond limits - st max kolbe

“No one has access to the Almighty
as His mother has – none has merit such as hers.
Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks
and herein lies her power.
While she defends the Church,
neither height nor depth,
neither men nor evil spirits,
neither great monarchs,
nor craft of man, nor popular violence,
can avail to harm us – for human life is short
but Mary reigns above, a Queen forever.”

Bl Cardinal John Henry Newman

no one has access to the almighty - bl john henry newman


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!



One Minute Reflection – 13 May

One Minute Reflection – 13 May

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


PRAYER – “Hail, Mother of the Lord,
Virgin Mary, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima!
Blessed among all women,
you are the image of the Church robed in paschal light,
you are the honour of our people,
you are the victory over every assault of evil.”……………..Excerpt from the Prayer of Pope Francis at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, yesterday after his arrival in Fatima – 12 May 2017 Pray for us Holy Mother of God and our Mother, Our Lady of Fatima Hail!

excerpt pope francis 12 may 2017

pray-for-us-mother-of-god - 14 may 2017