St. Maximilian Kolbe
"Allow me to praise you, Virgin most holy. Allow me to glorify you by my sacrifice."
Saint Maximillian Kolbe was born in Poland on January 8, 1894. He entered the seminary of the Franciscan Fathers at 13 years of age and was ordained in Rome in 1918. Moved by his love and devotion for the Immaculate, he founded a movement called the "Knights of the Immaculate" (Militia Immaculatae). He began to publish a magazine called "Knight of the Immaculate". In 1929 he founded the first "City of the Immaculate" in the Franciscan convent in Niepokalanów. He went to Japan as a missionary and returned to Poland in 1936. He was held prisoner twice during the Second World War. During his second imprisonment, in 1941, he was led to a prison in Pawiak, and later transferred to the concentration camp of Auschwitz. On the evening of August 3, three prisoners escaped. As a punishment, the camp official ordered ten prisoners to be led to the dreaded bunker, where they would die slowly without food or water. One of the prisoners who was chosen cried out, "My wife! My children!" St. Maximillian volunteered to take his place. While in the bunker, he assisted the other nine men as they died. Ten days later, Maximillian Kolbe was given a lethal injection and died on August 14, 1941. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1973 and canonized as Martyr of Charity by Pope John Paul II in 1982.