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.


Christian is my name, but Catholic my surname

Saint Pacian (310—391 AD), bishop of Barcelona and Church Father in his Epistle I explains that “Catholic” marks the unity of the people that were uncorrupted:

But under the Apostles, you will say, no one was called Catholic. Be it thus. It shall have been so. Allow even that. When after the Apostles heresies had burst forth, and were striving under various names to tear piecemeal and divide the Dove and the Queen of God, did not the Apostolic people require a name of their own, whereby to mark the unity of the people that were uncorrupted, lest the error of some should rend limb by limb the undefiled virgin of God? Was it not seemly that the chief head should be distinguished by its own peculiar appellation? Suppose, this very day, I entered a populous city. When I had found Marcionites, Apollinarians, Cataphrygians, Novatians, and others of the kind who call themselves Christians, by what name should I recognise the congregation of my own people, unless it were named Catholic? Come tell me, who bestowed so many names on the other peoples? Why have so many cities, so many nations, each their own description? The man who asks the meaning of the Catholic Name, will he be ignorant himself of the cause of his own name if I shall enquire its origin? Whence was it delivered to me? Certainly that which has stood through so many ages was not borrowed from man. This name “Catholic” sounds not of Marcion, nor of Apelles, nor of Montanus, nor does it take heretics as its authors.

st. Pacian

Many things the Holy Spirit hath taught us, Whom God sent from Heaven to the Apostles as their Comforter and Guide. Many things reason teaches us, as Paul saith, and honesty, and, as he says, nature herself. What! Is the authority of Apostolic men, of Primitive Priests, of the most blessed Martyr and Doctor Cyprian, of slight weight with us? Do we wish to teach the teacher? Are we wiser than he was, and are we puffed up by the spirit of the flesh against the man, whom his noble shedding of blood, and a crown of most glorious suffering, have set forth as a witness of the Eternal God? What thinkest thou of so many Priests on this same side, who throughout the whole world were compacted together in one bond of peace with this same Cyprian? What of so many aged Bishops, so many Martyrs, so many Confessors? Come say, if they were not sufficient authorities for the use of this name, are we sufficient for its rejection? And shall the Fathers rather follow our authority, and the antiquity of Saints give way to be emended by us, and times now putrifying through their sins, pluck out the grey hairs of Apostolic age? And yet, my brother, be not troubled; Christian is my name, but Catholic my surname. The former gives me a name, the latter distinguishes me. By the one I am approved; by the other I am but marked.


And if at last we must give an account of the word Catholic, and draw it out from the Greek by a Latin interpretation, “Catholic” is ‘every where one, or, (as learned men think,) “obedience in all,” i. e. all the commands of God. Whence the Apostle, Whether ye he obedient in all things; and again, For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Therefore he who is a Catholic, the same man is obedient . He who is obedient, the same is a Christian, and thus the Catholic is a Christian. Wherefore our people when named Catholic are separated by this appellation from the heretical name. But if also the word Catholic means ‘every where one,’ as those first think, David indicates this very thing, when he saith, The queen did stand in a vesture of gold, wrought about with, divers colours; that is, one amidst all. And in the Song of Songs the Bridegroom speaketh these words, My dove, My undefiled, is but one; she is the only one of her mother; she is the choice one of her that bare her. Again it is written, The virgins shall be brought unto the King after her. And further, Virgins without number. Therefore amidst all she is one, and one over all. If thou askest the reason of the name, it is evident.

Tell the world that we perished

Go, passer-by, and tell the world
That we perished in the cause,
Faithful to our orders.

The Warsaw Uprising in August-September of 1944 was the largest and perhaps most heroic underground campaign of World War II. It was also one of the most desperate and little known battles of the war. Yet even as the Poles rose up against the Germans in the heart of Warsaw, they were callously betrayed. Not by their enemies but by their allies. Watch their fight, their lives, their faith and how they liberated one Jewish concentration camp.

My grandfather died during Warsaw Uprising.

Two fictitious profiles on FB – Kostek and Sosna – made for youth to interact and read about the lives of two young Poles living during the uprising, 24 hours non stop updates, pictures etc, live virtual diary. GREAT IDEA!

CNN Warsaw Rising web site

Warsaw Uprising website with lots of resources

Warsaw Rising Museum in Warsaw

Miasto Ruin – world’s first digital reconstruction of the destroyed city

BBC Battle for Warsaw web site and the movie:

The issue of authority in the Early Christianity

Notes from “The issue of authority in the Early Christianity” Dr Kenneth Howell teaching from Coming Home Network Conference

1. Questions that need to be asked

  • How did the authority of the Apostles expressed itself in their ministries, when the New Testament was not yet completed?
  • What kind of authority did the Apostles have? Was it just a guidence and suggestions without the force of the divine law?
  • Was the authority of apostles shared by others and passed on or did it cease with their death?
  • If the authority of the Apostles was passed, what form did it take?

2. Great Commission was given to the Apostles as the foundation of the church: the ministry of Word and Sacraments, modeled after Jesus’ ministry: preach and heal.

3. John 20 – What kind of authority did Jesus give to the Apostles when He appeared to them? It is the same authority as Christ had himself – the authority of forgiveness of sins was given to the Apostles. If ultimate authority does not derive from the Book, because the Book came from the church, the ultimate authority comes from that body of men that God planted in this world to do his work.

4. The Acts of the Apostles describes the ministry which surrounded mostly two Apostles – Peter (ch.1-12) and Paul (ch. 13-28)

5. Two important decades of the church of the first century:

  • First Ecumenical Council (Acts 15) in Jerusalem concerning the main question: Is circumcision necessary for salvation? (Do the Gentiles have to live as Jews to be saved? ) The Pharisees in Antioch were insisting on circumcising Gentiles, so Paul and Barnabas brough this question to the  Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem. Apostles and presbyters together with the whole church made their decision, and sent the letter with their decision to inform the church of Antioch, which was looking to Jerusalem church as to the mother church. The leaders of the church recognized historical connection that must be maintained with what has proceeded them. How much connection do we need with history that proceeded us? Do we live in continuity or are we free to establish a sort of different faith based on what we read in the New Testament? The church had the sense of “catholicity” already there. They communicated the decision in the form of the letter and four messengers. The church in Antioch did now want to make the decision by themselves, but asked the church in Jerusalem for a council. This happened around 50-60 AD.
  • If Peter and Paul were in Rome in the early 60ties than what Peter says at the end of his second letter is important 2Pet 3:15 Peter is affirming the authority of divine inspiration of writings of another Apostle.
  • In the last letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus he tells them that they should be very careful to protect the sound teaching (sound words, helpful teaching) which they have received. Paul mentions that those who oppose the Gospel do not hold to those sound words of Jesus. And he tells Titus that he should ordain presbyters who are able to exhort in the sound teaching and to rebuke those who contradict them. The content of faith (deposit of faith) has to be guarded and transferred to their successors. 2 Tim 2:2: This is the pattern of the passing on of the content of faith to the next generation.
  • Paul leaves instructions how to establish permanent offices of bishops, presbyters (elders=priests), deacons. Content of the faith and the offices guarding the content.

6. From 60 AD to 120 AD all of the witnesses suggest that the notion of the Apostolic succession and the authority of a bishop is a norm and the rule within the church. Clement of Rome, third bishop of Rome after Peter, wrote a letter in the 90ties to Corinthians who wanted to overthrow their bishop. The letter explains the order of authority given: God- Jesus-Apostles and the order of continuity of authority within the church in the office of bishops, as well as the primacy of the Roman bishop.

7. The authority of a bishop and pope (bishop of Rome) is the authority of a servant. Authority does not derive from bishops themselves, but authority derives by being faithful witnesses in the offices that were established by the Apostles.

8. I live in a church where the leaders lived in a stream of continuity from the times of Jesus and Apostles. This continuity with the early church gives us the confidence that what we believe was not invented yesterday, that what we believe comes fro the very root of the church with a divine authority of Christ Himself. The church that we are part of has been established by a living Son of God, and He decided that He would commit that authority to fallible men.

how to raise a saint and a martyr in the heart of Europe today

In just few hours Marianna Popieluszko will be present at the Mass for the Beatification of her son, father Jerzy Popieluszko (Yeh-zhee  Poh-pye-woosh-koh), who was murdered over 25 years ago. She will carry the relics of her own son to the altar.

Father Jerzy Popieluszko was a Solidarity chaplain and became a spiritual leader of those who were pursuing non-violent liberation of Poland from Communism. You can read father Jerzy’s story in many places now, but I wanted to find more about his upbringing, childhood and the role of his parents in raising a present day saint and martyr.

These are few nuggets that I found around the web, mostly from his mom’s interviews.

Father Jerzy’s family lived in a small village Okopy in the far East of Poland, which is almost exactly the geographical center of Europe. His parents were peasants, lived simply and were very devout Catholics, as most of Poles in that region. When Marianna was pregnant with her son, she consecrated him to the glory of God and to Mary, and prayed that he will become a priest one day. She says that she doesn’t know if her prayers were answered, or maybe someone else’s prayerful petitions, but Jerzy, born on the Feast of the Cross, became a priest.

“God gives grace, and if a person responds to it, and walks God’s way, he will receive this grace.”

Since his childhood, Jerzy was fascinated by priesthood. He would walk 5km (3 miles) daily before the school to serve as an altar boy at the Holy Mass, and after school he went to church to pray Rosary. People thought that he was to spiritual. His mom was told by the elementary school principal that Jerzy spends to much time in church.

“After seventh grade he wanted to join lower seminary in Niepokalanow (Maximilan Kolbe’s City of the Immaculate), but I told him that he was to young then. When his friends finished high school and were celebrating the High Scholl Ball – he took the train to Warsaw for the seminary. I was happy when he became priest and I was praying constantly that he will be faithful to God, because this is the most important thing in life”.

She was teaching her children daily how to pray, kneeling before the small home altar with the figure of the Holy Mother. On Wednesdays – they prayed to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, on Fridays – to the Heart of Jesus, on Saturdays – to Black Madonna of Czestochowa. In May the whole family would recite Litany of the Blessed Virgin, in July – Litany to the Blood of Jesus, in October and throughout the rest of the year – the Rosary. During the storms she would lit a candle and pray.

“His first seminary was in his home.”

“He was a nice, obedient child, but every child can be that way, if parents will keep them straight. All my children were the same. I did not punish them, there was no hitting, just very stern words: You have to do it!
My kids were not into mischief. Whoever prays well, this person has no place for silliness in life.”

“Death of Jerzy for me is like a stone for my whole life. It is a great pain. This wound is opening over and over, for who can forget such a thing. But I do not judge no one, and I do not demand no one’s death. God Himself will judge them one day. And the murderer’s will have to bare their penance. But I ask Jesus to forgive them. I would be the most happy if they would come to God.”

John Paul II concluded meeting with Marianna: “Mother, you have given us a great son”. And she responded, suprising even the pope: “Holy Father, I did not give him, but God has given him to the world through me. I gave him to the Church and I can’t take him back.” The Pope kissed her and hugged her.

What is the most important thing in life?

“To be faithful to God and, as much as one can, to serve others.

She feels his presence.

“Once my legs were hurting me greatly and I should go for surgery. When I came to the grave of father Jerzy, the pain dissapeared. Now I can digg potatoes even for the whole week without a break” (she was over 80 years old when she said that).

How does it feel to be a mother of a martyr?

“You will know it only if you live through it. You have to receive the will of God. God chooses his martyrs. It is not possible to become one without His grace.”

What do you pray while you pray Rosary?

“I pray for repentance of sinners, priestly vocations, and I thank for received graces.”

What is the most important thing in life?

” God. If God is first, everything will take its rightful place. After you wake up, think about God right away. Then Rosary – one part. And then you start your day.

Do you pray to father Jerzy?

“I pray to God.”

But through father’s intercession?

“I don’t bother him, because people have more urgent needs, and he knows what I need and he is asking God for it.”

Do you feel his protection?

” I feel protection of Mary, Queen of Poland. Mother understands the best and in her hands is everything.”

Last words of father Popieluszko, before going on a fateful trip to another city:

“Let’s pray so we can be free from fear and intimidation, but mostly free from the desire of revenge and retaliation”

Announcement of finding the body of father Popieluszko, where people gathered in the church and during the prayer Our Father, repeat three times “… and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

The next day father Jerzy’s mom in the church where Popieluszko served turned to the people and said: “I forgive. I forgive.”

Marianna received St. Rita’s International reward, which is given to people who forgive the murderers of their loved ones. She says she has forgiven the murderers of her son and she is praying for their conversion. She said that “they were fighting God, not my son”, and that they were trying to fight the Church. Since then she can’t recite other mysteries of Rosary than Sorrowful decades.

Polish late President Lech Kaczynski awarded posthumously father Jerzy Popieluszko with an Order of the White Eagle which is the highest decoration given to Polish citizens for their merits. Here he is kissing Marianna’s hand and expressing his gratitude.

The mother of Father Jerzy Popieliszko, Marianna, second left, prays with family members at her son’s grave in front of the St. Stanislaw Kostka church in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 5, 2010

Director’s commentary:

English Language version of the movie is in preparation:

Sanctuary of Bl. Jerzy Popiełuszko

Marianna Popiełuszko in procession behind her son’s relics:

Update: Oct 2012 – new book called “Mother of the Saint” just came out. Once I get it and read it, I’ll update this post. 🙂

gdziekolwiek jest Chrystus, tam Kosciol Katolicki

Nie ma nic powazniejszego niz swietokradztwo schizmy, gdyz zadna przyczyna nie usprawiedliwia rozlamu jednosci kosciola.

sw. Augustyn, 400r.

Kiedy odsylamy ich do tej Tradycji, ktora wziela swoj poczatek od Apostolow, i jest zachowana za pomoca sukcesji prezbiterow w kosciolach, oni sprzeciwiaja sie Tradycji, mowiac, ze sami sa madrzejsi, nie tylko od prezbiterow, lecz takze od Apostolow.

sw. Ireneusz, 180 r.

Posluszenstwo prezbiterom kosciola, ktorzy, jak juz wykazalem, posiadaja sukcesje od Apostolow, jest niezbedne. Wszystkich innych, ktorzy odeszli od pierwotnej sukcesji , zbieraja sie razem w jakichs innych miejscach, powinnismy podejrzewac. Gdyz sa to albo heretycy lub umysly przewrotne albo schizmatycy, nadeci i samozadowalajacy sie. Dlatego odpowiednim jest powsciagliwosc w stosunku do nich wszystkich, a przylgniecie do tych, o ktorych, jak juz wspomnialem, trzymaja sie doktryny Apostolow.

sw. Ireneusz 180 r.

Nie moze byc uwazany za biskupa ten, ktory nie jest niczyim nastepca. Pogardzil on bowiem ewangeliczna i Apostolska Tradycja z niego wyplywajaca. Gdyz prawdziwy pasterz pozostaje i przewodniczy Kosciolowi Bozemu przez sukcesyjna ordynacje. Dlatego staje sie on obcym i bluznierca, wrogiem pokoju Panskiego.

sw. Cyprian z Kartaginy 250 r.

Gdyz z tym kosciolem rzymskim, z powodu jego poteznego pierwszenstwa, kazdy inny kosciol, czyli wszedzie i wszyscy wierzacy, powinni sie  zgadzac.

sw. Ireneusz 180 r.

Zwroccie uwage na tych, ktorzy posiadaja innowiercze opinie na temat laski Jezusa Chrystusa, ktory przyszedl do nas, i zobaczcie jak przeciwne (odmienne)  sa one umyslowi Bozemu… Wstrzymuja sie oni od Eucharystii i modlitwy, gdyz nie wyznaja, ze Eucharystia jest cialem naszego Zbawiciela Jezusa Chrystusa.

sw Ignacy Antiochenski 107 r.

Uwazajcie, aby podazac za biskupem, tak jak Jezus podazal za Ojcem…Ten, kto szanuje biskupa, jest szanowany przez Boga; ktokolwiek czyni cos bez wiedzy biskupa, tak naprawde sluzy diablu.

sw. Ignacy Antiochenski, 107 r

Czym byl Piotr, tym byla zaiste i reszta. Piotrowi dane jest pierwszenstwo, aby okazac, ze jeden jest Kosciol Chrystusa i jedna katedra.

St. Cyprian 251 r.

Jezeli ktokolwiek w kosciele podaza sladami schizmatyka, nie odziedziczy krolestwa Bozego.

sw. Ignacy Antiochenski 110 r.

Gdziekolwiek się pokaże biskup, niech tam będą wszyscy. Tak jak gdziekolwiek jest Chrystus, tam też jest Kościół katolicki.

sw. Ignacy Antiochenski 110 r.

zapomniec czy запомнить

запомнить = zapamietac

Usciski premierow nie wystarcza. Spiewanie Okudzawy i Wysockiego nie wystarczy. Zapalanie zniczy na grobach mlodych zolnierzy nie wystarczy. Ale domaganie sie o wydawanie dokumentow zbrodni wojennych takze nie wystarczy. Zadanie przyznania sie do ludobojstwa, gwaltow, mordow, klamstw i gwaltow takze.

Jestem za pojednaniem w prawdzie i w Prawdzie, bo jak nie wybaczymy, to i nam nie zostanie wybaczone. Pojednanie nie wymaga ode mnie jednak zaprzestania dazenia do poznania prawdy, lecz raczej do przebaczenia nawet wtedy, kiedy “oni nie wiedza co  czynia”. Wymaga ode mnie serca pojednanego z Bogiem i bliznim, a to jest duzo trudniejsze, niz dyplomatyczny uscisk dloni, czy zapalenie swieczki. Nie ma pojednania bez krzyza.

A prawdziwie jak mamy potrzebe jednania, my normalni Polacy z nimi, normalnymi Rosjanami, to sie za nich modlmy, pomozmy dzieciakom z sierocincow na Syberii albo bezdomnym dzieciom z St. Petersburga, zapraszajmy ich do siebie, uczmy sie ich historii i jezyka, zeby ich zrozumiec. Rosji oddalam pare lat zycia. Z Rosjanami przegadalam noce na “trudne tematy”, przemodlilam wiele godzin, nagotowalam sie dla nich kapusty i ziemniakow (bo nic innego prawie nie bylo), rozdalam wszystko, co mialam niejeden raz, nasluchalam sie ich historii zyciowych, naodwiedzalam potrzebujacych i opuszczonych. To bylo moje pojednanie.

Moj dziadek, gdyby zyl, zrozumialby to, chociaz sam byl zmuszony zostawic wszystko niedaleko Lwowa i uciekac przez sowietami. Latami jednak sam potem jezdzil, wozac ubrania i jedzenie, zabral mnie z mama dwa razy ze soba. Widzialam tam prawdziwa komune lat 70-tych, ludzki strach w oczach na ulicach, flagi z Leninem wieksze niz nasze kamienice, cerkwie przerobione na fabryki i dzieci, ktore o Stalinie i Leninie opowiadaly gorliwie podczas kolacji. To moj dziadek nauczyl mnie prawdziwego pojednania, choc byl chlop nienawidzacy komunizmu i wszystkiego co sie z tym wiazalo, to rozumial, ze to ludzie ludziom…

Nam jednak sie mowi, ze my mamy sie jednac na poziomie jakims politycznym, nie wspominajac juz zdarzen minionych. Mamy probowac rozumiec, wczuwac sie, zaprzestac pytan, nie snuc niewygodnych wywodow, zamilknac i pokochac. Przebaczenie na takich jakichs niejasnych warunkach, jednostronnie wymagane i niejako narzucone, gdyz trudno sie sprzeciwic wezwaniom tak biblijnie brzmiacym. Nagle zaczynamy sie czuc, ze to my jestesmy calym i jedynym kluczem w tych niesnaskach i ze to od naszej postawy przelkniecia sliny i ugryzienia sie w jezyk zalezec bedzie kolejny krok w naszych nadszarpnietych stosunkach. Probuje sie nam powiedziec, ze trzeba juz przestac i w koncu zapomniec.

Pamiec musi jednak zostac, bez niej nie ma przyszlosci. Pamiec nie zawistna, nie msciwa, lecz trzezwa i pokorna. Ale nie szargajmy i nie ukrywajmy prawdy w imie taniego pojednania, bo robi sie z tego papka tolerancyjnego humanizmu i niewiele znaczacego znoszenia sie nawzajem, z wymaganymi gestami potwierdzajacymi ten stan, ktory z miloscia ma bardzo malo wspolnego.

On jest naszym pokojem. On wprowadził jedność w rozdartą ludzkość, ponieważ usunął mur, który ją odgradzał i dzielił. On w swoim ciele pozbawił mocy Prawo (z jego) przepisami i nakazami. Przywrócił pokój, tworząc w swojej osobie z dwóch (nieprzyjaznych) stron jednego nowego człowieka. Obydwie strony, złączywszy w jedno ciało, przez krzyż pojednał z Bogiem i w sobie położył kres wrogości. Ef 2:14-16

A nawet sie zalapalam na pierwsza strone frondy (pod Blogujemy)…