Today is the anniversary of the priestly ordination of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. It is also the feast of Saint Louis de Montfort whose Marian teachings had a profound influence on the Polish martyr. Another Polish Saint, the newly canonised Pope John Paul II, also drew deeply from Saint Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary”:
As a child Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a family man in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, had a vision of the Virgin of Czestochowa, who appeared to him and presented him with two crowns, one white, the other red, as symbols of purity and martyrdom.
As she invited him to choose one, his generous heart prompted him to accept them both. Later on that day, this beloved child of the Virgin Mary resolved in his heart to “become better day after day.”
The writings of Saint Louis de Montfort taught him that “God wishes to reveal Mary, his masterpiece, and make her more known in these latter times, when Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, power and grace” (Treatise on True Devotion to Mary).
Maximilian gave his life to the Virgin Mary, saying: “As the Immaculate belongs to Jesus and to God, each soul can belong to Jesus and to God by her and through her, in a much easier way than without her.”
In an interview from 1983, Pope John Paul II revealed that: “Reading that book (True Devotion to Mary) has marked a decisive turning point in my life. I said ‘turning point’, although this is a long inner journey…. I soon realised that the book contained something fundamental over and above its baroque style. The result was that the devotion to the Mother of Christ of my childhood and my adolescence gave way to a new attitude, a devotion that welled up from the depths of my faith, as at the very heart of the Trinitarian and Christological reality”.
In the words of Pope Benedict XV from his Homily at the Memorial Mass for the Second Anniversary of the Death of John Paul 2 April 2007:
“May the Totus tuus of the beloved Pontiff [as well as of Saint Maximilan Kolbe and Saint Louis de Montfort], encourage us to follow him on the path of the gift of ourselves to Christ through the intercession of Mary, and may she herself, the Virgin Mary, obtain it for us.” Amen.