It is a great privilege for those who love Our Lady, to die on one of her feast days. And so it was natural, for St. Maximilian Kolbe, the great apostle of Mary, to desire this grace which was granted to him on the eve of the Assumption, August 14, 1941.
Prisoners were lined up at Auschwitz to stand up in the hot sun until the escapee was found. He was not. As punishment on account of the one, nine prisoners would be put to death. One of the men who the commander chose, cried out that he had a wife and children to support. Upon hearing this, Father Maximilian stepped out of line and offered to take the man’s place as he was a priest and did not have a wife and children. The commander accepted and put the men in a starvation bunker. While the Nazis waited for him to die, Fr. Kolbe encouraged his fellow prisoners and consoled them. Finally, Father Maximilian was the only one left and so he was given a lethal injection of carbolic acid. He died with prayers on his lips.
St. Maximilian Kolbe was worthy of the crown of martyrdom and the crown of purity which his beloved Immaculata held out to him those many years ago.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!