St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe
Priest and Martyr 1894-1941
Feast Day - Aug 14th
St. Maximilian Kolbe was a well known communicator, before later becoming a martyr in a Nazi prisoner of war camp. He founded the Knights of the Immaculata, whose aim was to fight evil with the witness of the good life, prayer, work and suffering. His organization founded several houses for religious in Poland and Japan and published a magazine that reached a circulation of over 1,000,000. In Poland he also set up the very first Catholic radio station in that part of the world. The broadcasts were 100% local and featured teaching, music and singing by members of one of his religious communities.
After the fall of Poland in 1939, St. Maximilian and several of his friars were arrested, imprisoned, but later released. Several months later, the Nazis re-arrested St. Maximilian, imprisoned him, which ultimately lead to his being held at Auschwitz prison camp. There, after the escape of a prisoner, the commandant announced that 10 other prisoners, at random, would die in his place. One of those prisoners, when selected by the commandant, stated that he had a wife and children. St. Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to take his place without fanfare. The ten were lead away to be confined in cells where they were allowed to starve to death.