Saint of the day:
Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Patron Saint of families, imprisoned people, journalists,
political prisoners, prisoners, pro-life movement, amateur radio, Esperantists, Militia Immaculatae
Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s Story
“I don’t know what’s going to become of you!” How many parents have said that? Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s reaction was, “I prayed very hard to Our Lady to tell me what would happen to me. She appeared, holding in her hands two crowns, one white, one red. She asked if I would like to have them—one was for purity, the other for martyrdom. I said, ‘I choose both.’ She smiled and disappeared.” After that he was not the same.
He entered the minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscans in Lvív–then Poland, now Ukraine– near his birthplace, and at 16 became a novice. Though Maximilian later achieved doctorates in philosophy and theology, he was deeply interested in science, even drawing plans for rocket ships.
Ordained at 24, Maximilian saw religious indifference as the deadliest poison of the day. His mission was to combat it. He had already founded the Militia of the Immaculata, whose aim was to fight evil with the witness of the good life, prayer, work, and suffering. He dreamed of and then founded Knight of the Immaculata, a religious magazine under Mary’s protection to preach the Good News to all nations. For the work of publication he established a “City of the Immaculata”—Niepokalanow—which housed 700 of his Franciscan brothers. He later founded another one in Nagasaki, Japan. Both the Militia and the magazine ultimately reached the one-million mark in members and subscribers. His love of God was daily filtered through devotion to Mary.
In 1939, the Nazi panzers overran Poland with deadly speed. Niepokalanow was severely bombed. Kolbe and his friars were arrested, then released in less than three months, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
In 1941, Fr. Kolbe was arrested again. The Nazis’ purpose was to liquidate the select ones, the leaders. The end came quickly, three months later in Auschwitz, after terrible beatings and humiliations.
A prisoner had escaped. The commandant announced that 10 men would die. He relished walking along the ranks. “This one. That one.”
As they were being marched away to the starvation bunkers, Number 16670 dared to step from the line.
“I would like to take that man’s place. He has a wife and children.”
“Who are you?”
No name, no mention of fame. Silence. The commandant, dumbfounded, perhaps with a fleeting thought of history, kicked Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek out of line and ordered Fr. Kolbe to go with the nine. In the “block of death” they were ordered to strip naked, and their slow starvation began in darkness. But there was no screaming—the prisoners sang. By the eve of the Assumption, four were left alive. The jailer came to finish Kolbe off as he sat in a corner praying. He lifted his fleshless arm to receive the bite of the hypodermic needle. It was filled with carbolic acid. They burned his body with all the others. Fr. Kolbe was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982.
St Maximilian Mary Kolbe
(d. 1941, Auschwitz, Poland)
(Pictured below: Place of the martyrdom of Fr. Massimiliano, Block 11, Auschwitz, visited by John Paul II in 1979 and by Benedict XVI in 2006)
Churches of Honor in Rome
Sant'Andrea delle Fratte
(Saint Andrew of the Bushes)
Via Sant'Andrea delle Fratte 1
*This church is near the Spanish Steps.
*The third altar on the left side of the nave is where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Ratisbonne, an agnostic Jew, in 1842. Ratisbonne converted on the spot. In 1918 St Maximilian Mary Kolbe offered his first Mass in this very same chapel.
Santi Apostoli (Holy Apostles)
Piazza dei Santi Apostoli 51
*This church is just east of Piazza Venezia.
*The third chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. On the altar is a picture of St Maximilian Kolbe.
*Also upon a column within the second chapel on the left side of the nave is a monument honoring the 50th anniversary of St Maximilian Kolbe’s martyrdom.
*Relics of St Philip and St James the Less also rest in the confessio.
Parrocchia Santa Dorotea
(Parish of Saint Dorothy)
Via San Dorotea 23
*This church is in Trastevere
*A small statue of St Maximilian Mary Kolbe is in the left transept.
We are celebrating with a Polish Jewish recipe because our Saint stood with the Jewish people at the time of his death.
(Polish Jewish Recipe)
prep 30 mins
cook 25 mins
inactive 3 hours, 15 mins
total 4hours, 10 mins
yield 1 loaf
4 to 5 cups (486 g to 614 g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
1 package or 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup hot water (110')
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ cup honey or sugar
½ cup safflower, canola, grapeseed or other neutral oil
zest of one orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup (130 grams) dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
½ cup (1 stick | 120 grams) unsalted butter
½ cup (50 grams) powdered sugar
⅓ cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
⅓ fresh-squeezed orange juice
(or the juice of one orange plus enough water to make ⅓ cup)
6 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar
Whisk one cup (128 g) of the flour with the yeast and stir in the hot water (110') until combined. Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let rise about 45 minutes or until puffy and bubbly.
Directly into the bowl, add the salt, honey (or sugar), oil, eggs, zest and vanilla. Stir with a spatula or spoon until well mixed, then add the remaining four cups (486 g) of flour. Stir with a spoon until dough forms a sticky mass. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead for just a few minutes, until dough becomes smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl (or the same sticky bowl the dough rose in...this is what I do), cover it with dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in bulk, one to two hours or longer depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Make the filling: Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth — I did this in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Stir in powdered sugar and cocoa until smooth.
Punch down dough and divide into two equal parts, about 600 g each. Using a rolling pin, roll one half into a rectangle about 10- to 11-inches in width by 14- to 16-inches in length. Spread half of filling over top leaving ½-inch border all the way around. Starting from the short end, roll into a tight coil. To help keep coil bound, I wrap it in parchment paper and transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. (Note: you can make the recipe up until this point and put it in the refrigerator overnight — this works really well).
If you are not refrigerating rolled dough overnight, transfer loaves to freezer to chill for 15 minutes — this was a Smitten Kitchen tip, which makes cutting and shaping the rolls easier. Meanwhile, coat two 9-by-4-inch loaf pans and one small vessel — I used a mini loaf pan — with butter.
Place logs onto a large cutting board and remove parchment paper. Line each loaf pan with the parchment paper, folding as needed to make it fit the pan. Trim last inch (or less) off each log. Cut the logs in half lengthwise and lay them next to each other cut sides up. Lift one half over the other and twist each around the other — see photos for guidance. Transfer the twist as best as you can into the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with remaining two halves. Nestle trimmed ends into small vessel. Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1½ hours at room temperature or until dough has risen and is filling the pan.
Heat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap, place loaf pans on a sheetpan and bake on the middle rack of your oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check the mini pan around 20 minutes — it will be done before the others. If the loaves are browning too quickly, cover them with foil.
While babkas are baking, make syrup: Place orange juice/water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove babkas from oven, brush some of the syrup over the small pan, then pour half of the remaining syrup evenly over each of the loaves. Let loaves cool completely in loaf pan if you are able to refrain, otherwise 15 minutes or so should do it.