1941Maximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan. He contracted tuberculosis
and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life. Before his ordination as a priest,
Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady. After receiving a doctorate in
theology, he spread the Movement through a magazine entitled "The Knight of the Immaculata" and
helped form a community of 800 men, the largest in the world.
Maximilian went to Japan where he
built a comparable monastery and then on to India where he furthered the Movement. In 1936 he
returned home because of ill health. After the Nazi invasion in 1939, he was imprisoned and released
for a time. But in 1941 he was arrested again and sent to the concentration camp at
On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner's escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father
Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. And he was the last to die, enduring
two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982. His
feast day is August 14th.
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