St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe (+1941) was a Polish Conventual Franciscan priest who was canonized as a martyr of the faith. He was imprisoned at Auschwitz on May 28, 1941, where he bravely spoke out to take the place of another prisoner, a husband and father, who was condemned to death. Surviving starvation in a cramped bunker, he was killed by lethal injection. Mr. Franciszek Gajowniczek, the man whose life he saved, was present at his canonization.

As a child, however, Kolbe, was a real mischief-maker. After having been scolded by his mother for misbehaving one evening, he went to his room to pray, asking the Mother of God what was to become of him. He later described this incident to his mother as follows:

“Then the Virgin Mother appeared to me holding in her hands two crowns, one white and one red. She looked at me with love and she asked me if I would like to have them. The white meant that I would remain pure and red that I would be a martyr. I answered yes, I wanted (both of) them. Then the Virgin looked at me tenderly and disappeared.” After that day, there was a radical transformation. He would be a model child, no longer troublesome to his parents.

Kolbe founded the monastery called the “City of the Immaculata” in Poland, having at its peak, 762 friars working on Mary’s behalf. He used the latest technology of the day, which included modern printing presses and a radio station which spread the Catholic faith and spoke out against the Church’s enemies, the Freemasons, the atrocities of the Nazi regime, and the Modernists who were infiltrating the Church. His Feast Day is August 14.