Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Met the Man for Whom St. Max Kolbe Died

He sobbed as he recalled how Fr. Maximilian died for him:

The year was 1941.

The place was Auschwitz.

It was World War II.

One day, a man disappeared from the death camp.

Immediately, the Nazis rounded up all the men of the death camp and 10 men were chosen to die.

A Nazi officer randomly picked 10 men.  One of those chosen to die was Sgt. Francis Gajowniczak.

Upon being chosen to die, Francis cried out, "My poor poor kids...What will become of them?!"

Can you imagine the horror of being chosen for this?!  Especially if you have a family?

Then, all of a sudden, a voice came from the rear.

It was Prisoner # 16670.

The prisoner approached the Nazi officer.

"I am a Catholic priest. I wish to die for that man. I am old; he has a wife and children." 

The Nazi officer allowed it.  

The 10 men were sent to the starvation bunker.  During that time, Fr. Koble comforted the men, praying with them.

After two weeks, there were 3 still alive, including Fr. Kolbe.  A Nazi doctor came and injected poison.

Fr. Maximilian Kolbe died as a martyr of charity.

Francis lived about 50 years after this event.  He died in 1997.

I heard Francis speak in San Francisco.

I don't quite remember the year I met him, but it was either 1993 or 1994.
I have Francis' signature somewhere.  I plan to post it when I find it and also tell the story of my encounter with the man for whom Fr. Maximilian died.

I would be remiss if I didn't blog about St. Max Kolbe in August.  For now, enjoy this video here.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, patron saint of the difficult 20th Century, pray for us. 

HW: Read St. Maximilian's life.  Imitate his virtues.

Prisoner #16670 (St. Maximilian Kolbe, OFM Conv.)

Class dismissed.

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