Lesser known facts about st. Maximilian Kolbe

Rajmund Kolbe had a vision of Mary at the age of 12 – she brought him two crowns, white-symbolizing purity and red-symbolizing martyrdom. He received both. At the age of 13 he joined minor Franciscan seminary, became novice at 16, at 21 received doctorate in philosophy (in Jesuit Gregorianum) in Rome, at 19 in theology. At 21 he presented his patent for spaceship, at the age 24 became a priest and at age 25 became a professor.

Marianna Kolbe

His parents, who were educated only in elementary schools, belonged to the third order Franciscans, they home schooled during early years, helped the poor (not being well of themselves) and sick. Looking for jobs, they ended up in a big industrial city of Łódź, but soon after decided that because of the kids they need to move to the little village nearby. They ran a small store and gave away so may things to the poor that they lost the store. Because of the political unrest they downsized to a small one room apartment and changed apartments often. They both worked 12 h daily, went to the Mass daily at 5 am, prayed together as a family, and thought their kids this order of life: work, study and play only if you have time.  They belonged to a rosary group and every Sunday attended Eucharistic adoration, which they themselves organized.

The boys were responsible for keeping the apartment clean, they cooked and brought food for their parents twice a day to the factory, and they made dinners daily and walked parents from their factory to spend time with them at the evening. Marianna helped as a doula after her factory work, and studied herself at the evenings to become better help for the poor women without medical help. Juliusz supported local parochial library, and made book covers, and wrote articles for a local newspaper. He evangelized everyone around, trying to convert even local Evangelical pastor, and Marianna, feeling inadequacy for raising her boys, constantly called upon Mary’s help. Her conversations had only one focus: God. She was very firm and expected nothing but the best from the boys. After having five sons, they decided to live in chastity.

Young Rajmund Kolbe

They were very patriotic family (Poland was under partitions for over 100 years when the boys were small) and talked a lot about Polish history.

After their three boys went to to the seminaries (two boys died while young), both parents decided to consecrate their lives only to God. Marianna lived in the house of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix and Juliusz helped Franciscan monasteries.  Marianna’s words: “I loved my sons and husband more than my life, but not more than God.” She survived all of her sons and husband, and died in 1946.

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