Media Center Pick of the Week: St. Maximilian Kolbe

In honor of his August 14th feast day, we feature “Maximilian, Saint of Auschwitz.”  While watching this 76 minute videotape, I realized that St. Maximilian had been the right person, in the right place, at the right time. That may seem a strange statement about this victim of a Nazi death camp; but signs of preparation, for his singular act of selflessness, weave throughout his life experiences.

 

In honor of his August 14th feast day, we feature “Maximilian, Saint of Auschwitz.”  While watching this 76 minute videotape, I realized that St. Maximilian had been the right person, in the right place, at the right time. That may seem a strange statement about this victim of a Nazi death camp; but signs of preparation, for his singular act of selflessness, weave throughout his life experiences. Our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Maximilian at age ten. In each hand, Mary held a garland, one red and the other white, and asked him to choose: “The white one means you will remain pure; the red one that you will die a martyr.” Young Maximilian chose both. Ordained as a Franciscan priest at age twenty, he attained the purity of the white garland. He founded and nurtured the Knights of the Immaculata, an association dedicated to our Blessed Mother, throughout his priestly ministry. As an outspoken opponent of the Nazi regime, he was arrested in 1941. Substituting himself for a condemned prisoner, St. Maximilian suffered starvation and embraced the red garland at age forty-five. The actor, Leonardo Defilippis, plays each role in this 1995 movie – an unnamed friar and friend of the saint, St. Maximilian, Adolph Hitler, Satan, an Auschwitz guard and the executioner. That’s quite a cast of characters! As those women and men, whose identities were formed during the Second World War, pass from this earthly life, St. Maximilian Kolbe stands as an enduring witness to Christian hope in the face of the mystery of evil. During his canonization celebration, Pope John Paul II hailed him as “the saint for our difficult century.” We wish a most joyous day to Fr. David Scotchie, and our sisters and brothers in the Saint Maximilian Kolbe community!