1894 – 1941
Raimund Kolbe, born in Russian Poland, was ordained a Franciscan, Maximilian Mary, in Rome. In the 1920s, he reopened a ruined Polish friary, started a Marian press and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Despite his illness, he had successful Marian missions to Japan and India before returning to Poland in 1936. After the 1939 invasion of Poland, the Franciscans’ criticism of the occupiers prompted the arrest of Maximilian and four others, who ended up in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. Maximilian volunteered for martyrdom, taking the place of a married man being executed by starvation. This man was present at the saint’s 1982 canonization. Maximilian is the patron of prisoners, journalists and others.