Patron saint of journalists, drug addicts, prisoners, families and the pro-life movement

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By Anne Marie Rodriguez
Umatuna Si Yu’os

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe lived a life of sacrifice. He was born as Raymund Kolbe in the Kingdom of Poland on Jan. 8, 1894.

Dedicated to living his life in service to the Church, he was ordained a priest in 1918 and took on publishing in which he issued many anti-Nazi Germany publications. He founded a monthly periodical called “Rycerz Niepokalanej” (Knight of the Immaculate).

As a faithful devotee of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the saint also founded the Militia of the Immaculata (MI) in 1917, a worldwide evangelical movement whose focus is spiritual renewal through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. This movement still exists today.

Kolbe opened a monastery in Niepokalanow, Poland called the Conventual Franciscan monastery which also served as a temporary hospital. Before he was taken to Auschwitz in 1941, he helped 2,000 Jews to hide from the persecuting Germans.

While he was at the camp, it was said that during his last days, he prayed and led prayers to Our Lady with the prisoners. When a group of men were chosen to die by starvation to warn all the prisoners not to escape, Kolbe took the place of a man who had a family.

On Aug. 14, 1941, Kolbe calmly accepted a lethal injection of carbolic acid and was cremated on Aug. 15, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary.

On Oct. 10, 1982, he was canonized by St. Pope John Paul II who declared Kolbe a martyr rather than a confessor.

Let us ask St. Maximilian Kolbe for his intercession and may inspire our journalists to maintain integrity in our modern world’s search for truth. May this faithful servant of God be a beacon of hope to those struggling with addiction and for those in prison.

We also ask that he continue to intercede for the pro-life movement that those involved will be constantly renewed in their faith and perseverance. We ask this, in his holy name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Information taken from www.catholic.org/saints/