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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for February

«It was not enough for God to give us his Son on a Cross, but he also gave Mary to us. When we honor the Virgin Mary, we will love Jesus more. When we place ourselves under her mantle we will better understand divine mercy. How great is God, how sweet is Mary!» (St. Rafael Arnáiz)

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron was born on April 9, 1911 in Burgos, Spain. He studied in the Jesuit school, where he received his First Holy Communion in 1919. He showed a very great openness to the things that had to do with God from a very early age. The first signs of the illness that would mark the rest of his life appeared in 1922. His father, who believed that his recovery was due to the Virgin Mary’s special intervention, took Rafael to Zaragoza in thanksgiving and consecrated him to Our Lady of Pilar. As years went by, he developed many different traits, such as friendship. He also grew in his Christian life. God placed the desire in his heart to consecrate himself in monastic life. He met the Trappist monks of San Isidro de Dueñas and felt very attracted to that life, because he saw that it corresponded to his intimate desires. He entered there on January 15, 1934. He had to leave the convent three times due to the diabetes that God mysteriously used to test him. Each time he returned, he came back with more desires to be generous and faithful. These desires were fulfilled on April 26, 1938, when he left this world at only 27 years of age. He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and canonized on October 11, 2009.

St. Maximilian Kolbe

maximilian

"Allow me to praise you, Virgin most holy. Allow me to glorify you by my sacrifice."

Saint Maximillian Kolbe was born in Poland on January 8, 1894. He entered the seminary of the Franciscan Fathers at 13 years of age and was ordained in Rome in 1918. Moved by his love and devotion for the Immaculate, he founded a movement called the "Knights of the Immaculate" (Militia Immaculatae). He began to publish a magazine called "Knight of the Immaculate". In 1929 he founded the first "City of the Immaculate" in the Franciscan convent in Niepokalanów. He went to Japan as a missionary and returned to Poland in 1936. He was held prisoner twice during the Second World War. During his second imprisonment, in 1941, he was led to a prison in Pawiak, and later transferred to the concentration camp of Auschwitz. On the evening of August 3, three prisoners escaped. As a punishment, the camp official ordered ten prisoners to be led to the dreaded bunker, where they would die slowly without food or water. One of the prisoners who was chosen cried out, "My wife! My children!" St. Maximillian volunteered to take his place. While in the bunker, he assisted the other nine men as they died. Ten days later, Maximillian Kolbe was given a lethal injection and died on August 14, 1941. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1973 and canonized as Martyr of Charity by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

 
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