St. Maximilian Kolbe first-class relic at St. Francis Chapel in Boston

We honor the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe on August 14, the anniversary of his death, each year.

A relatively modern saint who was killed during the Holocaust, St. Maximilian Kolbe lived a holy and dedicated life during his short time on this earth. When he canonized St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pope John Paul II declared him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century.” We can turn to his life, example and intercession through difficult times and decisions in our own lives.

About St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Catholic priest and Conventual Franciscan friar who lived and worked in Poland during World War II. When Nazi Germany occupied Poland, he chose to continue his work creating religious and anti-Nazi publications at Niepokalanów, a monastery near Warsaw that he both founded and managed.

Doing whatever he could to combat the oppressive Nazi regime and help those being persecuted, he organized a temporary hospital within the monastery and harbored thousands from persecution before his arrest in 1941.

Kolbe was sent to Auschwitz, where he led prayers, sang hymns and comforted other prisoners. When one prisoner escaped and Nazi guards selected ten people to be starved to death as punishment, Kolbe sacrificed his own life in order to save a stranger with a family who’d been selected.

“A single act of love makes the soul return to life”

St. Maximilian Kolbe

It’s said that Kolbe spent his final days leading the other prisoners in prayers to the Virgin Mary. As the final survivor of the group after two weeks of dehydration and starvation, guards administered a lethal injection on August 14th. His remains were cremated the next day on August 15th, on which day we celebrate the Assumption of Mary.

Connection to Mary

Even as a child, Kolbe felt the call to religious life. When he was 12, he had a vision of the Virgin Mary that inspired his life’s work.

“That night, I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me, a Child of Faith. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.”

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Kolbe remained devoted to Mary throughout his life, using every avenue he could to spread the word. He published and circulated pamphlets, books, and a newspaper as well as a broadcast over the radio to promote her virtues and the power of her intercession.

Becoming a Saint

Kolbe’s courage and faith throughout his time in Auschwitz offered a glimpse of hope to other prisoners living through its horrors. And when the concentration camp was liberated, the story of his courage and charitable heart spread, bringing hope to many more in the aftermath of the war.

In the years since, many have experienced miracles after praying for St. Maximilian Kolbe’s intercession. One woman with intestinal tuberculosis was cured of her disease. Another man with calcification of the arteries miraculously recovered.

On October 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II canonized Kolbe and declared him a martyr of charity for his pure heart, courage and selflessness.

Celebrating His Feast Day

There are many ways to honor St. Maximilian Kolbe’s life and celebrate his feast day.

First class relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Visit a Relic of the Saint

Our ministry at St. Francis Chapel in Boston hosts a first-class relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe. The relic is a collection of hairs from his beard, which was shaved in 1940 prior to being arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz. Praying with his first-class relic is a powerful way to ask St. Maximilian to bring your prayers to God.

Pray for His Intercession

Those facing a difficult decision or situation can find solace in prayers for the intercession of St. Maximilian. The Church also venerates him as the patron saint of those who work in radio, those with substance use disorders, political prisoners, families and journalists. Having suffered from tuberculosis himself, others affected by this disease have seen success through prayers for St. Maximilian’s intercession.

Prayer of St. Maximilian Kolbe

The following prayer was especially close to St. Maximilian’s heart:

“O Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth, Refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to You, I, an unworthy sinner, cast myself at Your feet, humbly imploring You to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to Yourself as Your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death, and eternity, whatever pleases You. If it pleases You, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what has been said of You: “She will crush your head”, and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in Your immaculate and most merciful hands for introducing and increasing Your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For, wherever You enter, You obtain the grace of conversion and sanctification, since it is through Your hands that all graces come to us from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Have you prayed for the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe? Will you be celebrating his feast day on August 14? We invite you to share your thoughts, experiences and prayers in the comments below.

12 comments on “Honoring St. Maximilian Kolbe on his Feast Day”

  1. 1
    Lex on August 10, 2021

    Wow, absolutely beautiful. Thank God for St. Maximilian Kolbe. Queen of Heaven, Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us! St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!!!!!!

  2. 2
    ROBERT on August 10, 2021

    BE SAFE.

  3. 3
    Stephanie Fitzgerald on August 10, 2021

    To conceive another baby. I’m 46 so this is a huge ask. I so desire to have another child and for my 3 children to have another sibling. I’ve been praying for almost 4 years. Please open my husband’s heart to try to conceive. St Maximilian Kolbe intercede for me. Thank you Jesus!

    1. 4
      Gina Kemna on August 14, 2022

      Praying for you and the intercession of St. Maximillian Maria Kolbe, pray for us

  4. 5
    Fionnuala Howard on August 13, 2022

    Saint Maximilian Kolbe, spiritual gladiator, defender, encourager and hope giver, healer and helper. Thank you for interceding for my request because my prayers were answered. Stay with us.

  5. 6
    Maria Fisher on November 3, 2022

    Saint Maximilian. I feel a special connection with you, and I ask you to please be part of my family. Please, protect it and specially my son. I ask you to fix this moment’s problem, the finances and the need of income soon. I trust in you to pray to the divine providence and provide us what we need. Also, I ask you to heal my husband in all the areas that you know. Thank you!

  6. 7
    Dominic Xavier on March 4, 2023

    I am currently facing political persecution & fear the unknown & what may come with. Pray for myself, my brothers & sisters facing condemnation. Saint Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.

  7. 8
    Nora McDonald on August 7, 2023

    Please pray for Tommy Carroll 29year old husband/ father of 2 babies he was in a car accident severe injurys he is so needed and loved by his family he a good young man plz father Kolbe intercede for Tommy to Jesus and for mother Mary’s intercession in his healing st Maximilian Kolbe pray for Tommy and all our prayers Amen

  8. 9
    Emily on August 12, 2023

    I named my son Kolbe! I ask for your intercession to spark fire in my husband’s heart and bring him closer to Jesus and bring him into the Catholic Church.

  9. 10
    Darleen Ivey on September 5, 2023

    My grandson was born on August 14, 2019, the feast day of St. Maxiliian Kolbe. His parents named him Maxwell Joseph, not even knowing that he was born on Maximilian Kolbes feast day until I had told them. He was then babtized the following year on August 15, 2020, the feast of Our Blessed Mother’s Assumption into Heaven. I know God has a great plan for our Little now 4 year old Max. St. Maximilian Kolbe and our Holy Bleesed Mother intercede in helping Max to discern, as he grows, on God’s mission for him, and may God’s will be done.

  10. 11
    Christine on February 22, 2024

    I offer my prayers to St Maximilian Kolbe to plead for his intercession for my son Michael who is incarcerated for small crime related to alcoholism. He needs Heavenly intervention to come close to Jesus and to reject alcohol completely 🙏

  11. 12
    Maria on March 6, 2024

    For the conversion of my son in law and may be become a better father to his children.
    I pray for the intersession of St. Maximillian and our Holy Mother.

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