St Maximilian Kolbe
Maximilian Kolbe was born in Poland on January 8, 1894. The two crowns on the right recall his vision of Mary, who appeared to him when he was a child and offered him the choice of the red crown of martyrdom or the white crown of purity - but he chose both and later entered the religious life and became a Jesuit priest, ministering to Christians and Jews alike.
Maximilian was arrested by Nazi forces and put in prison Feb. 17, 1941. On May 28, 1941 he was transferred to Auschwitz, Poland and branded prisoner 16670 He was beaten many times. He ministered to other prisoners and said mass using smuggled bread and wine. In July 1941, there was an escape from the camp. When a prisoner escapes, ten other prisoners are killed. The guards chose Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place in the starvation bunker. Maximilian died as he had wished, in service to others.
The background shows the bunker building in Auschwitz where he was imprisoned.
Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day is August 14. He is the patron saint of prisoners.
"No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love.
And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?"
~ St. Maximilian Kolbe