St. Maximilian Kolbe was born as Raymund Kolbe on January 8, 1894, in the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. He was very active in promoting the Immaculate Virgin Mary and is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary.
In 1918, he was ordained a priest and continued his work of promoting Mary throughout Poland. Over the next several years, Kolbe took on publishing and, during the war, published anti-Nazi material. Kolbe also founded monasteries in both Japan and India. To this day, the monastery in Japan remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan.
In 1941, Maximilian was arrested and taken to the Pawiak prison. Three months later, he was transferred to Auschwitz.
Never abandoning his priesthood, Kolbe was the victim to severe violence and harassment. Toward the end of his second month in Auschwitz, men were chosen to face death by starvation to warn against escapes. Kolbe was not chosen but volunteered to take the place of a man with a family. It is said during the last days of his life Kolbe led prayers to Our Lady with the prisoners and remained calm. He was the last of the group to remain alive, after two weeks of dehydration and starvation. The guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid. The stories tell that he raised his left arm and calmly awaited death.
Alpha for Men is a ministry in our Community Outreach and Disability Service. At this residence, accomodation and support services are offered to men seeking to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. This ministry chose St. Maximilian as their patron Saint because he is the patron Saint of drug addicts.