by Patricia Edward Jablonski, FSP
Saint Maximilian Kolbe was born January 8, 1894 in Poland. He was very mischievous and often got into trouble. His mother once said in frustration, "I don't know what's going to become of you!" Maximilian Kolbe went to the Blessed Mother with this question. She appeared to him, holding in her hands two crowns, one white, one red. "She asked if I would like to have them – one was for purity, the other for martyrdom. I said, 'I choose both.' She smiled and disappeared." After that he was not the same.
He entered the minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscans in Lvív (then Poland, now Ukraine), near his birthplace, and at sixteen became a novice. Though he later achieved doctorates in philosophy and theology, he was deeply interested in science, even drawing plans for rocket ships.
Maximilian sought to combat religious indifference through the Militia of the Immaculata and the Knights of the Immaculata, a religious magazine under Mary's protection.
But he is best known for offering his life at Auschwitz for a fellow prisoner, a husband and father who had been condemned to die in a starvation bunker with others in retaliation for an escaped prisoner.
He was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982.
Those who read this book will meet someone whose great love for Mary, the Mother of God, sustained him throughout his whole life. Like Maximilian Kolbe it is possible to be brave even in difficult situations and love others even when it costs.
Ages 8 – 12