The acting crew of Richmond Catholic Theatre has arrived in Warsaw! We visited the basilica and had Mass in the Niepokalanów chapel created by St. Maximilian Kolbe today in Warsaw.
For those of you who don't know him, he's probably one of the most bad-you-know-what saints. He grew up committing himself as a Franciscan friar, spreading the faith and creating communities sharing in his devotion to God and his reverence to Mary. He created many communities and we had Mass in the same room in Warsaw where he held Mass when he was alive.
His real bad-you-know-whatedness was shown perfectly when he would publicly be seen holding mass during the Nazi occupation of Poland in WWII, preserving the Polish culture and was sent to Auschwitz.
One day, a prisoner escaped from Kolbe's block and to make an example, the Nazis pulled ten men to publicly rot, left naked in the 'starvation bunker' for everybody to see. Out of despair, one man cried for mercy as he had a wife and kids... Kolbe steps out of the ranks and stares the Nazi officer in the face and asks to take the man's place in the bunker. This was a guaranteed death sentence, and simply said his vocation of the Catholic priesthood justifies that the officer should accept his offer. Stunned, the Nazi officer allows it. Instead of the prisoners dying within five days, they live for up to two weeks with no food, led by Kolbe leading them with hymns and giving confessions and last rites. Eventually, Maximilian Kolbe was the only one left and they had to kill him with a lethal injection.
Turns out, the man he saved lived to a healthy age and was able to attend the canonization mass in Rome when Kolbe was declared a saint.