There is no saint that has a greater impact upon my spiritual life than St. Maximilian Kolbe. This fact is ironic as early on in my conversion to Catholicism I did not like him at all. I thought he looked too stern in his pictures, and that he talked too much about the Immaculata, a title for the Blessed Virgin that I found rather weird.
Yet, God works in mysterious ways, and after reading the writings of St. Maximilian himself, I grew to love this saint profoundly. Now, I pore over his words of wisdom again and again (his writings are truly a spiritual education) and I have even named my young son after him.
There is so much more to St. Maximilian than his heroic death in Auschwitz, an event which was really but the crowning of an incredible life of heroic love for others. On this his feast day, I want to share some of the important lessons I have learned, as well as corresponding quotes, from this great man of God in the hope that it will inspire you to learn more about him yourself.
Mary, The Mother of Jesus and Our Mother
St. Maximilian lived and died for the Lady whom he loved, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yet, it is impossible to understand his devotion to Mary without understanding what motivated it. To St. Maximilian, devotion to Mary was logical and necessary if one wanted to follow Christ. After all, our mission as Christians is to become “little Christs”, formed into the image of Jesus in a greater and greater way throughout our lives. And there is no better way to be formed into the image of Christ than to entrust ourselves to the Woman who literally formed Christ in her womb, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Through her profoundly intimate relationship with