Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan friar. 76 years ago, he died as a martyr in Auschwitz. He was well known for his passionate devotion to Our Lady and his love for missionary work.
During the war, his monastery was a hiding place for 2,000 Jews. The monastery also housed a printing press, which produced anti-Nazi newspapers as well as radio broadcasts.
On February 17, 1941, Father Kolbe was arrested and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. He was beaten and treated poorly due to his status as a Catholic priest. One night, three prisoners escaped the camp. After forcing the prisoners to stand outside, the guards began to select ten men who would be put in a bunker to starve to death. One man who was selected was a father and husband. As he was being led away, he cried, “My wife! My children!” Father Kolbe volunteered to take his place.
Father Kolbe led his fellow prisoners in worship and songs as they suffered in the underground bunker. After two weeks without food and water, Father Kolbe was killed by an injection of carbolic acid.
Saint Pope John Paul II canonized Father Kolbe in 1982, naming him a martyr of charity. The Catholic Church celebrates his feast day on August 14. Below are eight inspiring quotes from this incredible priest and martyr:
1. “Let us not forget that Jesus not only suffered, but also rose in glory; so, too, we go to the glory of the Resurrection by way of suffering and the Cross.”
2. “For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more.”
3. “Be a Catholic: When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel.”
4. “The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.”
5. “If anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his Mother, he will not have Christ for his Brother.”
6. “God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.”
7. “The Cross is the school of love.”