St. Maximilian Kolbe
St. Maximilian Kolbe
Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv., born 8 January 1894 and died 14 August 1941. He was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.
10 Facts about St. Maximilian Kolbe
1. St. Maximilian Kolbe was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity.
2. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century".
3. In 1907, Kolbe and his elder brother Francis decided to join the Conventual Franciscans. They illegally crossed the border between Russia and Austria-Hungary and enrolled at the Conventual Franciscan minor seminary in Lwów.
4. 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, in Rome.
5. He contracted tuberculosis and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life.
6. Before his ordination as a priest, Maximilian 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" and helped form a community of 800 men, the largest in the world.
7. After the Nazi invasion in 1939, he was imprisoned and released for a time. But in 1941 he was arrested again and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
8. On July 31, 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.
9. Kolbe used radio to spread his Catholic faith and to speak out against the atrocities of the Nazi regime. He is the only canonized saint to have held an amateur radio license.
10. The Immaculata friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques in publishing catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million.
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