Eyes of the Heart Studio

Mary's Knight

Tinted charcoal portrait of St. Maximillian Kolbe. The twelve stars of Our Lady's crown surround him as a halo, and Our Lady's silhouette is visible in the background.

Medium: Tinted Charcoal

St. Maximillian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan priest, known as the “Apostle of Consecration to Mary” and “The Martyr of Charity”. At the age of twelve, he had a vision of our Blessed Mother that left a profound impression on him. Our Lady presented him with two crowns: a white crown for purity, and a red crown for martyrdom. She asked him if he was willing to accept either of these crowns. The young Maximillian responded that he would accept both.

Maximillian’s spiritual life was outstanding in his devotion to Our Lady, through whom he attained to a profound union with Christ. Heart ablaze, he fought for her without fail, organizing the Militia Immaculata (“Army of the Immaculate One”) to work for the conversion of sinners and enemies of the Church. In his zeal for souls, he founded monasteries, published a newspaper and operated an amateur radio station.

In 1941, Maximillian was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz. His death is a witness to the power of Christian love in the darkest of human circumstances. In the wake of a prisoner’s escape, ten men were randomly chosen to be put to death in a starvation bunker. Devastated at his election, one of the condemned men cried out, “My wife! My children!” Moved with compassion, Maximillian stepped forward and asked to take his place. His inner peace unshaken, Maximillian spent his final days offering spiritual encouragement to the other condemned men, leading them in prayers and hymns to Our Lady. He was the last of the group to remain alive. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, he calmly raised his arm as the guards gave him a lethal injection. Maximillian’s death was a triumph, the crowning act of a life lived afire with charity. He had prayed for years for “love to the point of victimhood.”

Prayer

St. Maximillian Kolbe, brave knight of the Immaculate, teach us your love for Our Lady and her divine Son – a love that will lead us to sacrifice ourselves for others. Inspired by your example, help us to announce the Gospel by putting the needs of others before our own. Obtain for us the grace to see the Hand of God in even the darkest chapters of our lives, that not giving way to human fears, we might trust in His power and the wisdom of His plan.  Amen.