14th August Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe Born in Russian occupied Poland ,the second son of a poor Catholic family. Baptised Raymond. He was known as a mischievous child and a trial to his parents . However,in 1906 about the time of his first Communion,he received a vision of the Virgin Mary that changed his life.”I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me.Then she came to me holding two crowns, one was white ,the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity,and the red that I should become a martyr.I said that I would accept both.” Saint Maximilian. He entered the Franciscan junior seminary in Lwow,Poland in 1907.On September 4th.1910 he became a novice in the Conventual Franciscan Order and took the name Maximilian.He made his first vows on September 5th.1911.and his final vows on 1st November 1914 . He was ordained in Rome 28th April1918 at the age of 24. he had already set up the Immaculata Movement with six of his companions. devoted to the conversion of sinners,he worked tirelessly . he was stricken with tuberculosis which left him in frail health for the rest of his life. returning to Poland in 1919 he set about setting up a printing press ,so by 1922 he began publication of the magazine Knight of the Immaculate to fight religious apathy. this work greatly prospered . In 1927 land was given to him ,here he founded a new friaryof Niepok alanow,the City of the Immaculate. not content with his work in Poland Maximilian and four brothers left for japanin 1930 .Within a month of their arrival ,Maximilian was printing a Japanese version of the Knight. In 1932 he left Japan to found a Friary in India.however this did not survive due to lack of manpower. Poor health obliged Maximilian to return to Poland where he continued his publications. Maximilian was imprisoned in Pawiak prison ,Warsaw, Poland in February 1941; for alledgedly printing anti-Nazi propaganda. In May he was transferred to Auschwitz and branded as prisoner 16670. Maximilian ministered to other prisoners . in July 1941 there was an escape from the camp.Camp protocol required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place,and was sent with others to the starvation bunker. He died as he had always wished -in service,having supported the other men in the bunker with hymns and prayers.he was the last to die and forgave the doctor who gave him the lethal injection.
Our body is not made of iron. Our strength is not that of stone. Live and hope in the Lord, and let your service be according to reason.St. Clare of Assisi
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