He was born Raymund Kolbe on January 8 1894 in Zduńska Wola, in the Kingdom of Poland, which was a part of the Russian Empire, the second son of Julius Kolbe and Maria Dabrowska. His father and mother were common people; and like multitudes of common people, except for the hand of providence the world might never have heard of Raymund.
His journey to fame began in 1907 when Kolbe and his elder brother Francis decided to join the Conventual Franciscans who named him Maximilian. In 1918, Kolbe was ordained a priest. In 1919, he returned to the newly independent Poland, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, a seminary, a radio station, and several other organizations and publications. After the outbreak of World War II, Kolbe provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland in his friary in Niepokalanów. On February 17 1941, he was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison. On May 28, he was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670.
The month of April seems to have more than its share of tragic historical events. One tragedy still stirs the interest of multitudes: "Gentlemen, I regret to say that the Titanic sank at 2:20 this morning”…there had been a "horrible loss of life." The announcement was made at 7:00 p.m. April 15, 1912, by Philip Franklin, vice president of the White Star Line in New York. Just hours before when asked about rumors of Titanic’s sinking Franklin had replied, "We believe that the boat is unsinkable." The unthinkable and unsinkable had indeed sunk in the North Atlantic.
The mood onboard Titanic that fateful night was of merriment revelry and gaiety. Except for a few crew members no one had any inkling of the danger they were in. The band was playing; people were dancing, eating, and enjoying life. Then it happened shortly before midnight— Titanic struck the iceberg. Many passengers were asleep, but a good number were still partying. Initially there was little evidence of the collision. The stewards in the First Class Dining Room noticed a shudder; many of the passengers felt a bump or shudder.
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