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A Great Marian Apostle

The second son of pious parents, St. Maximilian Kolbe was born on January 8, 1894 at Zdunska Wola in Poland, which at that time was under Russian occupation. In Baptism he received the name of Raymond.

Seriousness and recollection marked his nature even as a child. One day, while correcting him, his mother chided him saying, “Son, I don’t know what is going to become of you!” This comment so impressed itself upon him that Raymond turned to Our Lady in prayer asking her the same question. The Virgin Mary appeared to him and presented him with two crowns, one of white roses, the other of red ones. She asked him if he were willing to accept either of them, explaining that the white one symbolized a life of perfect chastity and the red that he would die a martyr. The boy joyfully replied that he would accept both.

For the rest of his life, Raymond preserved a strong and tender devotion for the Blessed Virgin who, time and time again, was to prove his unfailing intercessor and constant protector. His confidence in Our Lady was total!

 

 

Click here for Novena Prayers to St Maximilian Kolbe

Raymond Kolbe enrolled in the Franciscan minor seminary at Lwów in 1907 where he received the religious name of Maximilian. He professed his final vows in 1914 in Rome, at which time he adopted the additional name of Maria in honor of his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, whom he invoked under the title of “the Immaculata.”

Ordained in 1918, he returned to Poland the following year with doctorates in theology and philosophy, but seriously ill with tuberculosis. His lectures and conversations during his year and a half in the sanatorium of Zakopane, where he was sent for his own recovery from the brink of death, became the catalyst of a number of conversions.

Friar Maximilian was an avid defender of Holy Mother Church and of the Holy Father. While still a seminarian in Rome, he organized the Militia of the Immaculata – a spiritual army explicitly founded to combat Communism and Freemasonry, which were taking hold in Russia and Europe, to work for the conversion of sinners and the enemies of the Catholic Church through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

He boldly launched into publishing as a means of apostolate and was soon running one of the largest publishing houses in the entire world that produced a daily newspaper, a monthly magazine, a calendar, and books on various topics, all printed in several languages. Radio was likewise utilized as a means of evangelization and to speak out against the growing atrocities of the Nazi regime.

 

In 1927 Maximilian Kolbe founded Niepokalanów, the “City of the Immaculata” where he fulfilled the office of superior until 1930. The next six years he spent as a missionary in Japan where he taught philosophy in the major seminary. There he also founded a second “City of the Immaculata” which became one of the great missionary centers in Japan.

From 1936 until his death, he again served as superior in Niepokalanów, Poland. By 1939 the religious community there consisted of 762 friars and presented a considerable moral force in Poland on the very eve of the Second World War.

 

Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo on February 17, 1941. He was transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp three months later.

At the end of July, when three prisoners disappeared, ten men were picked to be starved to death in punishment and as a warning to anyone else who attempted to escape. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of one of the men who was a young husband and father.

While awaiting death, Maximilian helped prepare the souls of the condemned men and encouraged them by constant reminders that they would soon be in heaven.

After two weeks of starvation and dehydration, he was the only one left alive and on August 14 the guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid.

His emaciated body was cremated on the feast of the Assumption of Mary.

 


 

 Click here for Novena Prayers to St Maximilian Kolbe

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 5, 2020

Anyone conscious of mortal sin cannot laugh or be merry...

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April 5

 

I cannot understand 
how anyone 
conscious of mortal sin 
can laugh or be merry. 

St. Thomas Aquinas


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

 

 

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Vincent Ferrer

In one location he worked so many miracles that an hour was...

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St. Vincent Ferrer

Vincent Ferrer, although born in Valencia in Spain, was from Scotch-English descent on his father’s side. His parents instilled in him a deep devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady and a tremendous love for the poor.

In 1367 he entered the Dominican Order, and before he reached the age of twenty-one was already teaching philosophy at Lérida, the most famous university in Catalonia.

Transferred to Barcelona to preach to the public, he arrived in the coastal city to find the citizens ravaged by hunger. A famine was raging through that region and the people were desperate for the arrival of a ship of corn. Vincent foretold that the ship would be in harbor before nightfall, and so it happened, at which the people acclaimed the young Dominican preacher a prophet and his superiors cautiously moved him to Toulouse.

Vincent inflamed souls with the ardor of his preaching, rousing sinners to penance, lax Catholics to fervor, and converting a number of Jews to the Faith, one of them the Rabbi of Burgos who went on to become a bishop.

It was the time of the great schism with a pope in Rome and another in Avignon, a time when even saints were confused. For a time Vincent favored Benedict XIII, or Peter de Luna, as he was popularly known, who ruled from the French city of Avignon. Vincent was also de Luna's confessor. But as the Church began moving to rule against the claim of Peter de Luna, and the latter remained obstinate, Vincent distanced himself from the claimant, and, eventually, played a major role in Benedict XIII’s abdication in favor of Church unity.

Vincent Ferrer preached throughout Europe as far north as the Netherlands, and his learning, ardent preaching and miracles worked numerous conversions.  In one location Vincent worked so many miracles that an hour was reserved every day for healing the sick. At Liguria in Italy he convinced the ladies to modify their fantastic headdress, which one of his biographers calls “the greatest of all his marvelous deeds”.

In Granada in Spain, then under Moorish rule, 8000 Muslims asked for Baptism after hearing him preach.

Vincent spent the last three years of his life in France, where he became ill after preaching a sermon in 1419, and died on Wednesday of Passion Week. He was canonized in 1455 by Pope Calixtus III.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort...

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And He Stole Heaven

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.
 
On his left hung another man, covered in the matted blood of his wounds. Yet, with the exception of a few intermittent words, there was no sound from him.

As time passed, the thief became more and more engrossed in the silent crucified beside him, and less and less in his own plight.St Dismas Picture

Indeed life is ironic, mused Dismas, this man who had lived in the open, and was acclaimed as a healer and even as a king, now hung beside him who had spent his life lurking and hiding.

And now they were lifted up, both on a high parallel. He could see the roof tops of the city, he could see the highways he had stalked, and he could see the way they had walked. Now he looked down on those gathered around this place of execution, the Roman soldiers, the Pharisees, the curious, the friends of the man beside him…and a young man supporting a lady directly beneath them...

And then he knew her; that upturned face, that maidenly majesty now wracked by sorrow, her tear-filled eyes fastened on the man on his left–Yes, he knew that face.

As the wheels of time rolled back in his mind,  his heart gave a jolt as he remembered that blessed day in the desert, decades ago, when a young family making its way to Egypt, sought refuge for the night in his family’s hovel. The man was strong and kind, the woman was the fairest his child’s eyes had seen, and she carried a golden haired babe, as if nothing in the universe was more precious.

He remembered the lady’s gaze on him, her beautiful eyes full of concern for the leprous sores on his young body. Then she and his mother talked. And next, he was being bathed in the same water the lady had just washed her infant son.

And then the sores were gone.  His mother wept for joy, and kissed the lady’s hands, and the baby’s feet. And even his robber-father was moved, and offered the strong man and his family the best in the house.

Now, in one revealing flash, he knew the identity of the wounded man on his left.  He looked again at the lady, and her eyes, those same sweet eyes of old, were on him once more.  
He felt his heart quiver, as the power of gratitude filled his being and softened his criminal soul.  And then came tears, rivers of tears.  When he could speak, he turned to the left,

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

And the Lord turned his face to him, His divine eyes on him, and he heard the most beautiful voice he had ever heard, a voice at once full of pain and full of strength, full of sweetness and full of majesty, a judge’s voice, and a father’s voice,

“Amen, amen I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.”

 

By Andrea F. Phillips
Based on: A Legend of St. Dismas and Other Poems,
Copyright by P. J. Kenedy and Sons. 1927, p. 18.

 

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He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.

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