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Saint Maximilian Kolbe

AKA: Apostle of Consecration to Mary
Maksymilian Maria
Massimiliano Maria Kolbe
Maximilian Mary Kolbe
Rajmund Kolbe
Raymond Kolbe
Prisoner 16670

Born: January 7, 1894 in Zdunska Wola, Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire as Raymond Kolbe

Died: August 14, 1941 in Auschwitz concentration camp by lethal carbonic acid injection after three weeks of starvation and dehydration;
Body burned in the ovens and ashes scattered
Some relics have been preserved and distributed by the friars at Niepokalanow, Poland

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Lutheran Church
Anglican Church

Beatified: October 17, 1971 by Pope Paul VI

Canonized: October 10, 1982 by Pope John Paul II; Declared a martyr of charity

Feast Day: August 14

Patronages: Against Drug Addictions
Drug Addicts
Imprisoned People
Political Prisoners
Pro-Life Movement

Maximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan.  He contracted tuberculosis and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life.  Before his ordination as a priest, Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady.  After receiving a doctorate in theology, he spread the Movement through a magazine entitled "The Knight of the Immaculata" and helped form a community of 800 men, the largest in the world.

Maximilian went to Japan where he built a comparable monastery and then on to India where he furthered the Movement.  In 1936 he returned home because of ill health.  After the Nazi invasion in 1939, he was imprisoned and released for a time.  But in 1941 he was arrested again and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.

On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner's escape, ten men were chosen to die.  Father Kolbe offered himself in place of ayoung husband and father.  He was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect.  He was canonized in 1981 by Pope John Paul II.

Prayer: Lord, You inflamed Saint Maximilian with love for the Immaculate Virgin and filled him with zeal for souls and love for neighbor.  Through his prayers, grant that we may work strenuously for Your glory in the service of others and so be made conformable to Your Son until death.  Amen.