Saint Maximilian Kolbe, who was born on 8 January 1894, was a Franciscan friar.
Before his ordination he founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady. Although frail after contracting tuberculosis, he nevertheless founded and supervised the monastery of Niepokalanow near Warsaw and he also built a monastery in Japan, in addition to furthering the Immaculta Movement in India. In1936, he returned to Poland because of ill health. After the Nazi invasion of Poland he was twice imprisoned. In 1941, he was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
It was in Auschwitz that he died; he volunteered to take the place of a fellow prisoner, a young husband and father, who had been chosen to be killed.
In 1981, Maximilian Kolbe was canonised by Pope John Paul 11, who called him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century”. His feast day is celebrated on the 14 August.
The relics have been donated by Fr Miroslaw Bartos, Order of Friars Conventual, Father Superior in Niepokalanow, Poland – the City of Mary Immaculate which St Maximilian founded.
The relics were brought from Niepokalanow by two representatives of the Crusade of Mary Immaculate from Our Lady of Lourdes parish.
The reception of the relics took place during a Special Healing Mass and they were venerated after Mass during the Healing Prayer time. The relics will be kept at Our Lady of Lourdes church.
75th anniversary of St Maximilian Kolbe’s Martyrdom
August 14, 2015 to 14 August, 2016 has been established as the Kolbean year to celebrate the 75th anniversary of St Maximilian Kolbe’s martyrdom. During this period each national centre is encouraged to undertake a number of initiatives to promote St Maximilian and the Crusade of Mary Immaculate. The special emphasis is given to the celebration with the relic of Fr Kolbe and promoting it in local communities. The year of celebration will culminate at Fatima in an international conference to be held October 28-30, 2016, at which time preparations for the centennial of the Mary Immaculate (1917-2017) will begin.
More information about the Mary Immaculate can be found on www.mi-sheffield.com.