When you wear your Saint Maximillian Kolbe bracelet do you know his significance? Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan. He was born in 1894, the son of a weaver and a midwife. When he was 10 he was visited by the Virgin Mary, who offered him obe of two crowns. One was white for purity. The other was red for martyrdom. Maximilian said he would accept both crowns.
In 1907 he joined the Franciscan Order. Ten years later he founded the Militia Immaculatae (Army of the Immaculate One) in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary to work for the conversion of sinners under her protection. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 Maximilian was offered German citizenship because his father was German. He refused however and stayed in Poland with his monastery, providing shelters for refugees, including about 2000 Jews. The monastery’s work attracted the anger of the Nazis. Kolbe was arrested and sent to the notorious Auschwitz Concentration Camp. In that terrible place, he offered his life in exchange for that of man with a wife and child condemned to be starved to death. He patiently bore his sufferings until the guards ended his life with an injection of carbolic acid.
In 1982 he was declared a Martyr of Charity, the first saint to be so named. He is venerated on August 14 as the patron of families, prisoners, and journalists.