Raymond Kolbe (St. Maximilian) was born in 1894 in Poland.
Mary appeared to him when he was a young boy.
“Then the Virgin Mother appeared to me holding in her hands two crowns, one white and one red. She looked at me with love and she asked me if I would like to have them. The white meant that I would remain pure and red that I would be a martyr. I answered yes, I wanted them. Then the Virgin looked at me tenderly and disappeared.” ~ St. Maximilian Kolbe
When he was a teenager, he joined the Franciscan order and took the name Maximilian and studied to become a priest.
Before becoming a priest and after witnessing a hate demonstration in which anti-Catholic Freemasons stormed Vatican City he was inspired to raise an army to wage spiritual war against all enemies of the Church. He chose Mary Immaculate as the patron and founded the Militia of Mary Immaculate or the Immaculata Movement. His devotion was so great that he adapted the prayer to the Miraculous Medal:
“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 for the enemies of the Holy Mother Church, and all those in most need of Thy mercy.”
He started a magazine called “The Knight of the Immaculata” so that more people would know about Mother Mary. He and his Franciscan priests published two monthly newsletters that were sent to people around the world.
The Mother of God blessed his work. He built a large center in Poland called “City of the Immaculate.”
Because of these activities he was arrested by the Nazis on May 28, 1941 and sent to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670. While in Auschwitz, he continued his duties as a priest. He was harassed, beaten and tormented by his captors. A few months after he arrived at Auschwitz a prisoner managed to escape. The Nazis decided to punish the rest of the prisoners by choosing ten prisoners to die by starvation. One prisoner they chose was a young husband and father. He begged and pleaded to be spared for the sake of his children. Father Kolbe was deeply moved and stepped forward and asked to take the man’s place.
Father Kolbe and the other prisoners were sent to a bunker and remained alive without food and water for many days. While being starved in the bunker, Father Kolbe ministered to the others given the same fate. Instead of the usual screams of pain and agony, hymns were heard coming from the doomed bunker. He was the last to die and after two weeks of starvation he was killed by lethal injection on the vigil of the Assumption of Mary.
His whole life was centered on his great love and devotion to Our Lady through her Immaculate Conception.
We will honor this great Marian saint by having a Polish treat for dessert…chrusciki!
And praying the chaplet of St. Maximilian Kolbe http://www.kolbemission.org/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/EN/IDPagina/43
The recitation of this chaplet is intended to seek the powerful intercession of this Martyr of Charity who Pope John Paul II has referred to as the “Patron of our difficult century” and the “Prophet of the Civilization of Love.”
St. Maximilian himself had noted that those in heaven, unrestricted by earthly cares or concerns, can indeed work “with both hands” for the special needs of those who call upon them for help.
This chaplet has a Medal of St. Maximilian Kolbe, 1 bead, 1 Medal of the Virgin Mary and 14 beads (Medal + 1 bead + Medal + 14 beads)
Begin with the Memorare Prayer on the single bead between the 2 Medals. This prayer is a reminder of the filial love and unwavering trust St. Maximilian had for Mary Immaculate.
On each of the 14 beads (which represent Kolbe’s death on August 14), the Miraculous Medal Prayer adapted by St. Maximilian is recited. Kolbe always encouraged this prayer for the conversion and sanctification of others, beginning with oneself. After each prayer, directly invoke St. Maximilian’s intercession keeping in mind the particular intention or person you wish to remember.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen
Miraculous Medal Prayer (adapted)
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for those who do not have recourse to you, especially the enemies of the Holy Church and those who are recommended to you.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.