This statue of St. Maximilian Kolbe shows the saint wearing prisoner jumpsuit and holding a martyr’s crown. St. Maximilian Kolbe was killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was sent for publicly opposing the Nazi regime in Poland. (Tony Gutiérrez/CATHOLIC SUN)
This icon of St. Maximilian Kolbe is displayed in the Diocese of Phoenix Communications Office. An editor of a Polish Catholic magazine, he is considered a patron of journalists and political prisoners. (Tony Gutiérrez/CATHOLIC SUN)

Aug. 14

Raimund Kolbe, born in Russian Poland, was ordained a Franciscan, Maximilian Mary, in Rome.

In the 1920s, he reopened a ruined Polish friary, started a Marian press and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Despite his illness, he had successful Marian missions to Japan and India before returning to Poland in 1936.

After the 1939 invasion of Poland, the Franciscans’ criticism of the occupiers prompted the arrest of Maximilian and four others, who ended up in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. Maximilian volunteered for martyrdom, taking the place of a married man being executed by starvation. This man was present at the saint’s 1982 canonization.

Maximilian is the patron of prisoners, addicts and journalists.