Many people have heard the story about St. Maximilian Kolbe in Auschwitz, but you need to know this saint’s whole story.
He was born “Rajmund” in 1894 in Poland. Coming from a family of weavers, he knew poverty. As a young boy, he heard the Lord ask him if he wanted the white crown of virginity or the red crown of martyrdom. He told the Lord he wanted both.
His family had great faith in God and their devotion to Mary inspired him. St. Maximilian said, “Never be afraid of loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
St. Maximilian went where he was called, and embraced the vow of poverty. He stayed in Poland often, studied in Rome, and even traveled to Japan to spread the gospel.
In the midst of Nazi propaganda spreading across Poland, he wanted to use film and media to conquer immorality. Instead of demonizing the media, he established his own publication to combat Nazism and Freemasonry.
Despite suffering from tuberculosis, he still managed to evangelize in the most grim circumstances.
When he was sent to Auschwitz, it was clear his willingness to suffer for Christ would be tested even more. Some prisoners escaped Auschwitz, and as punishment the guards chose ten prisoners to starve to death in a starvation bunker. When a prisoner cried and said he had a wife and children, St. Maximilian took that prisoner’s place, willingly giving up his life. In the bunker, Maximilian wouldn’t starve to death. So they gave him a lethal injection. This still didn’t kill him, so they gave him another injection which did kill him.
“For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more.”St. Maximilian Kolbe
St. Maximilian’s life was much more than the selfless sacrifice that brought it to an end. His devotion to Mary, his resourcefulness, and zeal for evangelization helped bring the gospel to more people during the mayhem of war-torn Europe.
St. Maximilian, pray for us.
Meet Jackie and Bobby Angel
Jackie Francois Angel is a full-time worship leader and speaker. Bobby Angel is a campus minister and theology teacher at a Catholic high school. Married in 2013, they have four beautiful children and strive to grow in holiness each day!