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Maximilian Mary Kolbe,
Priest and Martyr.
Feast day 14th August.
Born 1894 in Poland murdered in Auschwitz
Concentration Camp 1941. He was a religious of the Conventual Franciscans, OFM
Conv., he had a particular devotion to Our Lady.
In 1939 he and the friars in Warsaw fed and
sheltered Polish refugees, most of whom were Jewish, by 1941 the friary was
closed and Maximilian and four others were imprisoned in Auschwitz where he
suffered beatings. Maximilian's response was to pray for his abusers.
As a punishment for an escaped prisoner ten men
were selected by the camp commandant to die by starvation. Maximilian stepped
forward to take the place of a stranger who had a wife and children. Two weeks
later, on the eve of the Assumption, four prisoners including Maximilian
remained alive in the bunker, he was killed by an injection of carbolic acid as
His life of holiness
and devotion prepared him to minister and witness to his fellow prisoners and
ultimately make the sacrifice of his life with an act of love in a place of
brutality and evil.
Pope John Paul II at
his canonisation in 1982 declared him patron saint of the suffering 20th
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