On August 14, the Church celebrates St. Maximilian Kolbe and begs his intercession. As a child, Kolbe was granted a vision of Mary. Kolbe was a Polish Catholic priest and Conventual Franciscan friar. He was active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising a monastery near Warsaw, operating a radio station, and running several other publications. Due to Kolbe's efforts to promote consecration and entrustment to Mary, he is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary.
In 1941, Kolbe's monastery was shut down by the Nazi's and he was arrested, imprisoned, and sent to Auschwitz. Continuing to act as a priest, Kolbe was subjected to violent harassment. That summer, one prisoner escaped from the camp, prompting the camp commander to pick ten men to be starved to death in an underground bunker to deter further escape attempts. When one of the selected men, cried out, "My wife! My children!", Kolbe volunteered to take his place.
From his prison cell, Kolbe led the prisoners in prayer and song in the face of death. After they had been starved and deprived of water for two weeks, only Kolbe remained alive. The guards wanted the bunker emptied, so they executed Kolbe by lethal injection. He died on Aug 14. His remains were cremated on Aug 15, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary. In 1982, Pope John Paul II declared Kolbe a saint and a "martyr of charity." Franciszek Gajowniczek, the man whose life was spared by Kolbe's sacrifice, was present at his canonization Mass in Rome.