Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe

Today is the feast of that great martyr, the man Pope John Paul II called "the patron saint of the 20th Century," Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe. His story has been told better by others, but let me briefly recount his martyrdom here:

After a life of missionary work dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Europe and Asia, Father Kolbe was arrested by the Gestapo and eventually sent to Auschwitz, where he impressed all, Protestants and Catholics alike, with his holiness and service of others. After a man from his cell-block escaped, the guards randomly chose 10 men to execute. One among them, a Polish soldier, Francis Gajowniczek, unknown to Father Kolbe, begged to be spared for the sake of his wife and child. Father Kolbe offered to take his place (cf John 15:13, "Greater love than this no man hath than to lay down his life for his friends.").

For two weeks in the starvation chamber, Father Kolbe led his fellow inmates in praying the Rosary and singing hymns to the Immaculata. At the end of two weeks, on the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom he had dedicated his life, Father Kolbe was one of four prisoners still alive. He was the last to receive the injection of carbonic acid into his veins. His body was cremated the next day.

Saint Max is the Patron Saint of, among other things, Drug Addiction. I offered a Novena to Saint Maximilian Kolbe for someone in my life suffering from this scourge. I learned a few hours ago that his prayers seem to be working and that a dramatic change might be underway.