Saint Maximilian Kolbe, was a Polish Catholic priest who volunteered to die in place of a man in the German death camp of Auschwitz, during World War II. He had been active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and founding or running several other organizations and publications. Due to Kolbe’s efforts to promote consecration and entrustment to Mary, he is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary.
In 1906 young Kolbe had a vision of the Virgin Mary in which she offered him a white crown and a red crown and asked which he would accept. Understanding the white to represent a life of purity and the red to represent martyrdom, he said he would accept them both. The vision deeply affected him. He became a novice at 16 and ordained at 24.
In 1939, Kolbe and his friars were arrested, then released in less than three months, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In 1941, Fr. Kolbe was arrested again. The Nazis’ purpose was to liquidate the select ones, the leaders. Following a prisoner’s escape, 10 men were randomly selected to die as punishment, and Kolbe volunteered his life in the place of Franciszek Gajowniczek, who was married with young children. Kolbe and the other nine prisoners were starved for weeks until he and the few others who were still alive were finally injected with carbolic acid and cremated.
Fr. Kolbe was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1971. In 1982 Pope John Paul II canonized him, proclaiming that he was to be venerated as a martyr and declared him “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century.”
Prisoner’s Prayer To Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Introduce me to Mary, the Immaculata, Mother of God.
She prayed for Jesus in a Jerusalem jail.
She prayed for you in a Nazi prison camp. Ask her to comfort me
in my confinement. May she teach me always to be good.
If I am lonely, may she say, “God is here.”
If I feel hate, may she say, “God is love.”
If I am tempted, may she say, “God is pure.”
If I sin, may she say, “God is mercy.”
If I am in darkness, may she say, “God is light.”
If I am unjustly condemned, may she say, “God is truth.”
If I have pain in soul or body, may she say, “God is peace.”
If I lose hope, may she say: “God is with you all days, and so am I.”
Novena Prayers to Saint Maximilian Kolbe
O Lord Jesus Christ who said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose life illustrated such love, we beseech You to grant us our petitions. (Mention here the requests you have.)
Through the Knights of the Immaculata movement, which Maximilian founded, he spread a fervent devotion to Our Lady throughout the world. He gave up his life for a total stranger and loved his persecutors, giving us an example of unselfish love for all men – a love which was inspired by true devotion to Mary.
Grant, O Lord Jesus, that we, too, may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellowman in imitation of your humble servant, St. Maximilian Kolbe. Amen.
(Say 3 Hail Marys and a Glory Be)
“LOVE ALONE CREATE” PRAYER
St. Maximilian, amidst the hate and lonely misery of Auschwitz, you brought love into the lives of fellow captives, and sowed the seeds of hope amidst despair. You bore witness to the world, by word and deed, that only “Love alone creates.”
Help me to become more like yourself. With you and Mary and the Church, may I proclaim that only “Love alone creates.” To the hungry and oppressed, the naked and homeless, the scorned and hated, the lonely and despairing, may I proclaim the power of Christ’s love, which endures forever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER TO ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE
St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, most faithful son of St. Francis, the beggar of Assisi, inflamed with love for God you journeyed through life practicing heroic virtues and performing true apostolic deeds.
Turn your gaze on us who honor you and have recourse to you.
Radiating with the light of the Immaculate Virgin, you brought countless souls to holiness and introduced them to various apostolic endeavors for the victory of good over evil and to thereby extend the Kingdom of God throughout the whole world. Obtain for us the light and the strength we need to do good and to bring many souls to Christ.
Perfectly conformed and united with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, you achieved such a high degree of love of neighbor that you were able to freely offer your life in exchange for a fellow prisoner in witness of true evangelical charity.
Beg the Lord on our behalf that, filled with the same fire of love, our faith and good example might also bring others to Christ and secure for us the reward of everlasting life, where we shall praise Him together with you in eternal glory. Amen.
A PRISONER’S PRAYER
O Prisoner-Saint of Auschwitz, help me in my plight. Introduce me to Mary, the Immaculata, Mother of God. She prayed for Jesus in a Jerusalem jail. She prayed for you in a Nazi prison camp. Ask her to comfort me in my confinement. May she teach me always to be good. If I am lonely, may she say, “God is here.” If I feel hate, may she say, “God is love.” If I am tempted, may she say, “God is pure.” If I sin, may she say, “God is mercy.” If I am in darkness, may she say, “God is light.” If I am unjustly condemned, may she say, “God is truth.” If I have pain in soul or body, may she say, “God is peace.” If I lose hope, may she say: “God is with you all days, and so am I.” Amen.
KOLBEAN PRAYER TO MARY, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
Mary, Mother of the Church, I come before you in the spirit of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who consecrated his Franciscan life and work to you without reserve. You accepted Maximilian’s self-offering; accept me. You led Maximilian to Christ; lead me. You formed Maximilian into a mirror of Christ; form me. Your union with Maximilian provided the backdrop for his works of evangelization and heroic acts of charity. Please grant, through the intercession of St. Maximilian, that I might fully collaborate with you and the Holy Spirit as an instrument for the upbuilding of Christ’s Church. Amen.
Prayer of the Addicted
God of mercy, we bless You in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who come to Him. Give Your strength to N., Your servant, bound by the chains of addiction. Enfold him / her in Your love and restore him/her to the freedom of God’s children. Lord, look with compassion on all those who have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of Your unfailing mercy, and strengthen them in the work of recovery. To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Official Act of Consecration to Mary written by St. Maximilian Kolbe
O Immaculata, 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, (name), a repentant 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 most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and 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 growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against your enemies