(January 8, 1894–August 14, 1941), also known as Maksymilian or Massimiliano Maria Kolbe. Born as Rajmund Kolbe, was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German concentration camp at Auschwitz.
In order to discourage escapes, the camp had a rule that if a man escaped, ten men would be killed in retaliation. In July 1941 a man from Kolbe's bunker escaped. The remaining men of the bunker were led out and ten were selected, including a Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek. When he uttered a cry of dismay, Maximilian stepped forward and said, "I am a Catholic priest. Let me take his place. I am old. He has a wife and children." The officer had more use for a young worker than for an old one, and was happy to make the exchange. The ten men were placed in a large cell and left there to starve. Maximilian encouraged the others with prayers, psalms, and meditations on the Passion of Christ. After two weeks, only four were alive, and only Maximilian was fully conscious. The four were killed with injections of carbolic acid on 14 August 1941.
Propers for Maximilian Kolbe - Friar and Martyr
Most loving Father, whose Son Jesus Christ came to give his life as a ransom for many: Grant to us the grace, as thou didst grant to thy servant Maximilian Kolbe, to be always ready to come to the aid of those in need or distress, not counting the cost; that so we may follow in the footsteps of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.
The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.
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