The National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe – Patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement

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National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe

During the Jubilee Year 2000, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops designated Marytown as the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Pilgrims are welcome to venerate the relics of this Polish Conventual Franciscan priest, publisher, theologian and evangelist.

His life of charity and heroic death in the Auschwitz death camp is commemorated in their Kolbe/Holocaust Exhibit.

Saint Maximilian is considered the patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement, those afflicted with chemical dependency and eating disorders, and the media communications.

The National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe - Patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement

Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a “Martyr of Charity” and “Patron Saint of our difficult century” in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.

See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in North America.

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The Eucharistic Monstrance

Upon entering Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament adoration chapel, the eye is naturally drawn to the monstrance where the Eucharistic Jesus is enthroned. The monstrance is five feet, two inches tall and has been entirely fashioned from sacrificial gifts of jewelry. See Video tab for online transmission. 

Symbols of the four Evangelists grace the base, signifying that Eucharistic doctrine is based in Sacred Scripture. The stem of the monstrance is formed by a figure of Mary Immaculate crushing the head of a serpentine Satan.

The removable lunela holds Jesus truly present in the consecrated host. Encircling it are eight medallions portraying “types,” or symbols of the Blessed Sacrament.

The National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe - Patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement

St Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian was born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, January 8, 1894. In 1910, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. He was sent to study in Rome where he was ordained a priest in 1918.

Father Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 and began spreading his Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration (whose members are also called MIs), which he founded on October 16, 1917.

In 1927, he established an evangelization center near Warsaw called Niepokalanów, the “City of the Immaculate.” By 1939, the City had expanded from eighteen friars to nearly 900, making it the largest Catholic religious house in the world.

To better “win the world for the Immaculata,” the friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques.

This enabled them to publish countless catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million.

The National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe - Patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement

Maximilian started a radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio–he was a true “apostle of the mass media.” He established a City of the Immaculata in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1930, and envisioned missionary centers worldwide.

Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church’s understanding of Mary as “Mediatrix” of all the graces of the Trinity, and as “Advocate” for God’s people.

In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection.

Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a “Martyr of Charity” and “Patron Saint of our difficult century” in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.

During the Jubilee Year 2000, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops designated Marytown as the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Adoration Apostulate is the longest running in the Archdiocese of Chicago and is open 24/7 to the public.

The Eucharistic Monstrance

Upon entering Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament adoration chapel, the eye is naturally drawn to the monstrance where the Eucharistic Jesus is enthroned. The monstrance is five feet, two inches tall and has been entirely fashioned from sacrificial gifts of jewelry.

Symbols of the four Evangelists grace the base, signifying that Eucharistic doctrine is based in Sacred Scripture. The stem of the monstrance is formed by a figure of Mary Immaculate crushing the head of a serpentine Satan. The removable lunela holds Jesus truly present in the consecrated host. Encircling it are eight medallions portraying “types,” or symbols of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Altar of Exposition

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus: carved in the steps leading to the altar proclaim the sacredness of this space. Nine species of imported marble make up the altar’s construction. Its frontal area is a masterpiece, inlaid with mosaics representing the Mass as sacrifice: the breaking of bread at Emmaus, the sacrifices of Abraham and Melchisedech.

National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe

During the Jubilee Year 2000, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops designated Marytown as the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Pilgrims are welcome to venerate the relics of this Polish Conventual Franciscan priest, publisher, theologian and evangelist. His life of charity and heroic death in the Auschwitz death camp is commemorated in our Kolbe/Holocaust Exhibit. Saint Maximilian is considered the patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement, those afflicted with chemical dependency and eating disorders, and the media communications

City of the Immaculate – Marytown

In 1927, St. Maximilian founded Niepokalanów (City of the Immaculate), near Warsaw, Poland. Niepokalanów is a community of Franciscan friars dedicated to living a radical consecration to the Immaculate Virgin through prayer, asceticism and media evangelization. By the mid-1930’s, it was the largest religious community in the world, housing nearly 900 men.

During the Second World War, the friary provided shelter to approximately 3,000 Polish refugees. When the Nazis forbade media evangelization, the friars turned to Eucharistic Adoration as their common apostolate. The Nazis placed severe restrictions on Niepokalanów shortly before Father Kolbe´s arrest in 1941. The friars re-activated operations after the war.

St. Maximilian wished to found a “City of the Immaculate” on every continent. During his lifetime, he founded Mugenzai no Sono (“Garden of the Immaculate”) in Nagasaki, Japan. He also traveled to India to initiate a “City of the Immaculate” in Kerala.

In 1948, the Conventual Franciscan Friars founded America’s City of the Immaculate—Marytown. Presently located in Libertyville, IL, Marytown carries on the Kolbean apostolates of media evangelization through the publication of Immaculata Magazine and Marytown Press, as well as Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Today, there are Cities of the Immaculate in Poland, Japan, India, Brazil, Italy, the Philippines and the United States.

St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian was born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, January 8, 1894. In 1910, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. He was sent to study in Rome where he was ordained a priest in 1918.

Father Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 and began spreading his Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration (whose members are also called MIs), which he founded on October 16, 1917. In 1927, he established an evangelization center near Warsaw called Niepokalanów, the “City of the Immaculate.” By 1939, the City had expanded from eighteen friars to nearly 900, making it the largest Catholic religious house in the world.

To better “win the world for the Immaculata,” the friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques. This enabled them to publish countless catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million. Maximilian started a radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio–he was a true “apostle of the mass media.” He established a City of the Immaculata in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1930, and envisioned missionary centers worldwide.

Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church’s understanding of Mary as “Mediatrix” of all the graces of the Trinity, and as “Advocate” for God’s people.

In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection. Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a “Martyr of Charity” and “Patron Saint of our difficult century” in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.

Posted in North America and United States