St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Conventual Franciscan Friar, Priest and Theologian. In 1941, he was arrested by the Nazis and interned at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Continuing to act as a priest, Fr. Kolbe was subjected to violent harassment, including beating and lashings. In July 1941, a prisoner escaped from the camp, prompting the camp commander to pick ten men to be starved to death in an underground bunker to deter further escape attempts. When one of the men cried out, "My wife! My children!", Fr. Kolbe volunteered to take his place.
Fr. Kolbe led the prisoners in daily prayer. Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After they had been starved and deprived of water for two weeks, only Fr. Kolbe remained alive. With only Fr. Kolbe remaining in the bunker, the guards wanted it emptied. Fr. Kolbe was to be given a lethal injection. When guards entered the cell, Fr. Kolbe calming presented his arm for the injection.
Fr. Kolbe died on August 14, 1941. Father Maximilian Kolbe was canonized on October 10, 1982.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe is the Patron Saint of Addicts in Recovery.
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