Name: Maximilian Maria Kolbe, born Raymund Kolbe
Birth & Death: 8 January 1894 - 14 August 1941
Feast Day: 14 August
Country of Origin: Poland
History: Conventual Franciscan friar and priest. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, influenced by a vision of her that he had as a child:
I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one 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 I would accept them both.During the second World War he and his brothers housed Polish refugees, including many Jews. He was arrested and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, where he ministered to the other prisoners and held Mass. After an escape at the camp and as punishment ten men were selected to be starved to death. One of the men who was selected cried out for his wife and children, "My poor wife! My poor children! What will they do?" and though his exact words have been lost, Maximilian Kolbe offered himself in place of the man. In the starvation cell he led the other prisoners in prayer and sang hymns with them. After two weeks he was the only prisoner left alive in the cell and was executed by lethal injection.
A Rule of Life for Those Consecrated to the Immaculate Virgin - written by St. Maximilian Kolbe
Militia of the Immaculata