Sunday, 28 February 2010

St. Maximilian Kolbe

 


St. Maximilian Kolbe is the subject of tonight's drawing.  Are you familiar with him?  Well let me tell you about this modern-day Polish saint.

He was a Franciscan who accomplished wonderful things for God in the early part of the 20th century.  His community used the power of the written word to catechize many, many people in Poland, Japan and many other countries.  He founded a magazine by the name of Rycerz Niepokalanej -- a journal named for Our Lady, Mary the Immaculata.  He also established houses dedicated to Blessed Mary in Japan.

By the time of the Second World War, his community had grown to be very large and he and his fellow priests and brothers had built what amounted to a small city in Poland, dedicated to the Immaculata. They were constantly turning out all sorts of Catholic publications along with their, by now, famous magazine.  Then the German army invaded Poland.

For a while, the German military left Fr. Maximilian alone.  They even visited him on occasion, asking to be show the vast workshops, printing presses, etc.  But before too long the military began to turn nasty and to make it clear that they did not approve of him, his publications and his faith.  The day came when Fr. Maximilian was arrested.  He, like thousands of other priests and nuns, eventually ended up at Auschwitz.

Once at the camp, he did whatever he could to help those around him, providing the Sacraments whenever possible.  Then there was a "prison break" which led, as usual, to the commandant selecting men from the prisoners to be put to death in retaliation for those men who had escaped.  One of the men who was randomly selected began to cry and plead, saying that he was a father and husband -- asking what would happen to his children.  At this point, Fr. Maximilian stepped forward, requesting that he be allowed to take the place of the man since he had no family.  The commandant shrugged his shoulders and told the soldiers to take this Catholic priest instead of the other man.  Then Fr. Maximilian and 9 other men were placed in a starvation bunker without food or water and left to die slowly of starvation.

It took a number of days for the men to die, but instead of the usual cries and screams that were normally heard from men being starved to death, the camp heard the men singing and saying prayers.  Fr. Maximilian encouraged them to trust in God even in the starvation bunker.  Slowly the men begin to die off until only Fr. Maximilian was left.  Eventually, the commandant sent the medics in to give him a deadly injection and thus he died after having given hope to his fellow prisoners and to the whole camp.

The man whose place St. Maximilian took survived Auschwitz and testified to the events that occurred there as material was collected in the cause for canonization of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe.

You will notice in my drawing that I used a background of the words from the Gospels that really epitomize the way St. Maximilian lived his life.  The verse reads:  "Greater love than this has no man than that he should lay down his life for his brother..."   John 15: 12+.  

St. Maximilian is shown wearing his Franciscan habit with his uniform shirt from Auschwitz over his shoulder.  His number was 16670 and would have been tattooed on his arm.  In his hand I have placed a scroll to signify the magazine he published -- you can see a portion of the Polish name of the journal.  In his other hand is the Rosary that he carried with him at all times.  In the camp he would not have had his habit, his magazine or his Rosary but he remained a priest and a Franciscan, still teaching the Faith and praying until his very last breath.  St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.

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Now from the sublime to the ridiculous!
   

  

I came across this photograph recently and it made me laugh out loud.  I knew immediately that I wanted to share it with my readers.

I entitled the photo:  "A Face only a Mother could Love!"

Some of God's creatures just plain look funny and this is surely one of them.  I can easily imagine the sound that would come out of the mouth of this dear creature.  Thinking of that while looking at the photo makes me laugh even more.  

May God bless each and every one of you. 

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