Talk:Maximilian Kolbe

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Accurate Times[edit]

Is there a source to the statement that he survived 3 weeks without any water? (talk) 02:37, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Considering that, according to the article, he celebrated Mass with bread and wine, it would suggest he may not have been without water. ( (talk) 16:20, 12 November 2010 (UTC))

And then we even have his real cause of death, which runs contrary to the legend: -- (talk) 17:54, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Westminster Cathedral[edit]

The image displayed is definitely not St. Maximilian Kolbe, as anyone can see from comparing the image with all other images of the saint, in which he is clean shaven and wears glasses. (talk) 20:22, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I've reinserted the image of the statue at Westminster Abbey. It certainly is Kolbe, as per the inscription in its base (visible in the full-sized image). True, he is usually depicted as clean shaven and wearing glasses, but for much of his life he had a long beard as was usual for certain Franciscans. See, for instance, this image and also this. I imagine the omission of the glasses is due to the difficulty of craving glasses in stone. The statue is also clearly identified as depicting Maximilian Kolbe on the sculptor's own website. ANB (talk) 15:31, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

In those days, Conventual Franciscans (at least in Poland)typically wore their hair cropped quite short. However, when they went to mission territories, they were allowed to grow their beards. (Nowadays they can have beards or not, as they wish, but in Poland, anyway, they usually aren't allowed to start a beard until well into their novitiate year; it's up to the novice-master to decide. I know this from the assistant novice-master of the Conventual Franciscans in Poland in the Kraków Province. By the way, something you may not be able to discern from black-and-white photographs is that Conventual Franciscans in their home countries wear black habits, but wear grey ones when they are in the mission field.) Maximilian went to Japan for the first time in 1930. He returned to Poland and traveled to India between 1930 and 1936, all the while continuing to let his beard grow. Finally, in 1936, he returned to Niepokalanów when he was made the 'guardian' ('head' of a friary, something like 'abbot' in a monastery) of Niepokalanów. He retained his beard until the outbreak of World War II, when he was told by his provincial to shave it off. This information comes from the Polish text, 'Chronologia życia św. Maksymiliana Marii Kobego' or 'The Chronology of the Life of St Maximilian Kolbe' and from the archivist at Niepokalanów (a document sent to me by the archivist). You can find the story of his beard - and how it survived as a first-class relic - on this webpage: This is why you sometimes see him with a very long beard and sometimes see him clean-shaven. The length of his beard dates the pictures as being taken during or after his time in Japan.NuncioInter (talk) 18:36, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Please don't revert edits wholesale[edit]

I made a number of mild copy edits to make the piece read better. If you object to some of them, feel free to edit them back again, but please do not revert my edit wholesale merely because I did not enter each one individually with its own explanatory line! (talk) 20:24, 19 April 2010 (UTC)


I've altered this
"given that a Christian martyr is one who is killed in odium Fidei while Kolbe was not murdered strictly out of hatred for the Faith"
as the linked page is clear martyrdom is is anyone "who is killed for following Christianity", not just out of odium fidei, while Kolbe's death was as a direct result of his following his Christian beliefs.
But I also want to raise the issue of the next paragraph
"Pope John Paul canonized him as a martyr over his commission's findings"
Does this mean the commission rejected him as a martyr? It isn't clear. Does anyone know? Moonraker12 (talk) 12:11, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I know it is true that Kolbe does not fit the traditional definition of martyr because his death did not directly come about by the definition. I haven't heard that the Pope JPII overrode any commission or anything like that. I think what happened is that a commission determined that he wasn't a martyr in the strict sense of the definition. I know that instead of being declared a martyr he was declared a "Martyr of Charity". I will see if I can find the appropriate sources, but it might take a little time due to a death in the family. The following is a link that talks about him being declared a "Martyr of Charity" Marauder40 (talk) 14:06, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Kolbe's death was a true piece of self-sacrifice. But in no way does it meet the criteria for martyrdom. JHobson3 (talk)
The point is here that while he was imprisoned for following the Faith, he was at least directly not killed for it. Non-Jewish non-Gypsy concentration camp inmates suffered tyrannical and brutal regime with many deaths resulting; one of these brutal measures was the collective punishment here in question: but they were not directly marked for extermination. The direct cause for his death was his volunteering up to a) save a father of family and b) make sure those selected for death had a priest at hand in their last hour. Pope Bl. Paul VI. acted on what literally follows from that and beatified him as a Confessor; Pope St. John Paul II. declared him a martyr on canonization, which might be called a sort of "honorary title", but not an unjustified one, consisting as it does of "counting one and one together" that i) the imprisonment that led to all this was out of hatred of the Faith and ii) the manifestly saintly action did result in his death.-- (talk) 17:14, 27 June 2017 (UTC)


In the first paragraph, "was a Pole of German ethnic heritage" was changed to, "was a Polish..." The original was a hard reading and I find the statement questionable. I left the statement in the following paragraph concerning Julius Kolbe being an ethnic German, although I added a citation needed tag. Hopefully a substantial reference can be provided. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamortify (talkcontribs) 06:47, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Two weeks vs. 10 days vs. a week[edit]

An IP editor keeps trying to change the number of days that Maximilian Kolbe was in the underground bunker. Please provide a reliable source for your changes. The current source in that section for the story says. "At every inspection, when almost all the others were now lying on the floor, Fr Kolbe was seen kneeling or standing in the centre as he looked cheerfully in the face of the S. S. men. Two weeks passed in this way. Meanwhile one after another they died, until only Fr Kolbe was left. This the authorities felt was too long; the cell was needed for new victims. So one day they brought in the head of the sick-quarters, a German, a common criminal named Bock, who gave Fr Kolbe an injection of carbolic acid in the vein of his left arm." Marauder40 (talk) 13:09, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 10 October 2012[edit]

There is a reference to the "Giordano Brunisti" in this article. You should cross-reference this to your wiki entry on "Giordano Bruno" for completness as "Brunisti" does not search or google very well but the reference is readily available inside your Wiki itself.

Thx. (talk) 16:14, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Done. Wikified. —KuyaBriBriTalk 18:45, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Non-specific edit request[edit]

At one time this article was easily readable by non-Catholics, but now this article is so "Catholic" that it's almost unintelligible to the non-Catholic reader. For instance, it's not apparent to outsiders that Maximilian was following basic Paulian Christian principles when giving his life for another. The article gets bogged down in legalistic arguments about martyrdom. It's not clear that Maximilian was a normal Christian rather than an manic obsessive driven by Catholic visions and Mary-ism. His life was an inspiration to others, but instead this article is simple a mystical screed for Catholics only. Previously this article could be used by young people as input in their various holocaust school assignments, but now it's hopelessly legalistic and mystical. Can anything be done to make Maximilian's story more universal again? Santamoly (talk) 16:48, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Could you point out where in the entry you feel that this is the case? What do you mean by "Paulian"? Daniel the Monk (talk) 15:51, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Sure, no problem. Start with the second & third paragraphs in the lede: "Kolbe was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. Pope John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century".
"Due to Kolbe's efforts to promote consecration and entrustment to Mary, he is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary."
This is extremely esoteric Catholic content that means nothing to the average non-Catholic reader who might benefit from knowing about Maximilian Kolbe. An act of true mercy would be for an editor to delete these entire paragraphs, plus the following in the next section: "Kolbe's life was strongly influenced by a childhood vision of the Virgin Mary that he later described: That night, I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me, a Child of Faith. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both."
Some Catholics become obsessive about visions of Mary without quite realizing that other less mystical, even ordinary, Christians can benefit from knowing about brave Christians who have gone before them. It was Paul who said that there is no finer act than to gives one's life for another. Just leave out the visions and flighty bits - so that Maximilian's story can be read and shared easily by others who may not be so "advanced" as the Catholics.
While the data might be a bit confusing to some, perhaps many, as a encyclopedia it seems worth listing the information for those to whom it would be relevant, which could include those who do not subscribe to that particular form of religious thought. I think Kolbe's description of his vision is particularly relevant simply on a biographical basis, since it was a major motivation in his later life, given in his own words.
In point of fact, the phrase about giving one's life is not from St. Paul. They are words of Christ, as recorded in the Gospels. But, given this is a completely open site, can you come up with a phrasing or format which might make it clearer to other like yourself? Daniel the Monk (talk) 03:38, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Thing is, the technical questions around his martyrdom (to put it colloquially: whether a priest should wear white or red when celebrating him) are a singular case and as such worthy of report. The thing is also, that the pre-WWII life of St. Maximilian is of remarkable importance, I might even say to put it colloquially, could have resulted in a canonization even if he had died peacefully in his bed (though not a so quick one), with the Militia Immaculatae and all that. If the request is to put these in separate paragraphs with headlines, as I believe is currently being done: that's fair. But cut it out to highlight some other heroic, even very heroic, act of his life (which, by the way, most people know anyway)? No.-- (talk) 17:22, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

Experience in Prision[edit]

Is there any source for the events that happened within the prison cell? It makes sense that he would have celebrated mass since he was a priest. It makes sense that he would have sang hymns. But do we have any source for specifically what was said. For example, if a source can't be found, I would like to remove the portion that says "and encouraged them by telling them they would soon be with Mary in Heaven." I cannot believe that we could have a source for what was said in the prison specifically enough to attribute this phrase with Maximilian Kolbe since all of the prisoners died. Chip (talk) 17:41, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Priests in Auschwitz were not supplied with materials for celebrating Mass. It was an extermination camp: the aim was to kill people immediately by execution or slowly by starvation and work. There is information from a guard or guards of Maximilian singing and encouraging other prisoners, but I don't at the moment have the source. If you have specific questions about Maximilian's life or last days, you can contact the archivists at Niepokalanów in Poland at this address: There is an English-speaking (American) archivist who can help you.NuncioInter (talk) 18:24, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Extermination camp is a technical term for the "kill immediately" part, with only the camp structure required for that effort (as at Treblinka); Auschwitz was both an extermination camp and a regular concentration camp, and in this case we are talking about it in the second rôle; which is why the father St. Maximilian stepped in for thought he would be able to see his family again in the first place. I do not know whether priests were supplied with bread and wine (or consecrated oils for the last rites for that matter) in Auschwitz; however, they were in Dachau (at least the former two).-- (talk) 17:29, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

First-Class Relics of St. Maximilian Kolbe[edit]

NuncioInter (talk) 18:09, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

I'd like to add the following information the the page for Maximilian Kolbe:

First-class relics of St. Maximilian Kolbe are hairs from his head and beard, preserved without Fr Maximilian’s knowledge by two friars at Niepokalanów who served as barber between 1930 and 1941. Since his beatification in 1971, more than 1,000 first-class relics have been distributed around the world for public veneration. Second-class relics such as Fr. Maximilian’s personal effects, clothing and liturgical vestments, are preserved in his cell and a chapel at Niepokalanów and may be viewed by visitors. Parishes and religious institutions wishing to obtain a first-class relic for public veneration should apply to the Guardian of the friary at Niepokalanów. The source for this information is: NuncioInter (talk) 18:09, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Not done: Although this page is semi-protected, your user rights currently allow you to edit it yourself. I notice that at least one of the claims (more than 1000) is not supported by that source. Also, per our style guide, we do not use honorifics (like Fr and St) or first names after the initial mention at the beginning of the article. Thanks, Celestra (talk) 02:55, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Patron of[edit]

Is there a more reliable source than [1] for what is he a patron of? Some sources also suggest he is a patron of blood donors? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:16, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

The official American shrine to Kolbe has something to say about his patronages at: The St. Charles Borromeo site, which is always very accurate, comments that he is the patron saint of political prisoners at The Franciscan Media site writes that he is patron saint of addicts and drug addiction at Catholic which is not as reputable as the other sources listed note that Kolbe is patron saint of drug addiction; drug addicts; families; imprisoned people; journalists; political prisoners; prisoners; and the pro-life movement. That is found at I cannot find anything that says Kolbe has been named a patron saint for blood donors. Sorry. Taram (talk) 05:52, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion to make a good article nominee just a bit better[edit]

I met editor Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here at another editor's talk page. He kindly asked me if there is anything I would add or change from my perspective. I think this is a very well written page with really just one sentence that needs some changing to be more accurate. That sentence is the second one in the Canonization section. The sentence currently reads

"Kolbe was venerated by Pope Paul VI on 30 January 1969,beatified as a Confessor of the Faith by the same Pope in 1971 and canonized as a martyr by Pope John Paul II on 10 October 1982.”

It is my humble opinion that the words "martyr" and "venerated" need to be changed in that sentence to be more accurate. The verb "venerated" should be changed to "declared venerable," because while technically when a person is elevated to the level of venerable, one could say that the person doing so had "venerated" the deceased person, that is too vague. With that said, though, the verb "venerated" typically means "to give honor to" as when one venerates relics, the bible, the cross, etc. When one is elevated from the status of servant of God to Venerable, one ordinarily says so-and-so was "made venerable" or "declared venerable" to distinguish the act from giving honor when venerating something.

The word "saint" should replace the word "martyr" for two reasons. First, the next sentence as well as the Controversies section clarify whether or not Kolbe is a martyr for the faith (that is "died for refusing to deny his faith"). More specifically, though, when one is canonized in the Roman Catholic Church, one is given the title "saint" in English. (There is no official route to canonize a person a martyr.) Kolbe was canonized a “saint” after the Roman Catholic Church progressed through the steps of holiness inquiries that it uses to see if he could be included in the list (a.k.a. "canon") of persons known to be in heaven enjoying the beatific vision of God. I suggest that sentence be written as follows (without the emboldened italics only used here to clarify where suggested changes are):

“Kolbe was declared venerable by Pope Paul VI on 30 January 1969, beatified as a Confessor of the Faith by the same Pope in 1971 and canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II on 10 October 1982.”

Just a thought. Taram (talk) 05:02, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Other minor article change suggestions[edit]

I suggested three other minor sentence changes to Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here. They are pseudo grammatical in nature and can easily be ignored without chaging meaning or accuracy.

1)I see in reading earlier posts on the talk page that some are still upset about Marian apparitions to Kolbe being mentioned. So, I suggest moving the word "child" to a later point in this sentence so the poor reader can keep his or her opinion about the nature of apparitions without deeming them infantile.


“Kolbe's life was strongly influenced by a childhood vision of the Virgin Mary that he received in 1906 in Pabianice.”


“Kolbe's life was strongly influenced by a vision of the Virgin Mary that he received as a child in 1906 in Pabianice.”

or even drop any mention of childhood altogether and leave the date.

2) Change

“The Immaculata friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques in publishing catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million.”


"Friars working with Kolbe in the Militia Immaculata utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques in publishing catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million."

This is primarily to increase clarity because the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate were not created until later.

3) Change

“The guards wanted the bunker emptied and they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid.”


“The guards wanted the bunker emptied, so they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid.”

This is simply to use a clearer cause and effect type of coordinating conjuction in the sentence.

Just some more thoughts. Taram (talk) 05:22, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Maximilian Kolbe/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Coemgenus (talk · contribs) 15:58, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

I'll review this one over the next several days. --Coemgenus (talk) 15:58, 9 January 2015 (UTC)


GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose, no copyvios, spelling and grammar): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:


  • I'd leave out the "very" in "very active". Saying he was active gets the job done. - done
  • "a childhood vision of the Virgin Mary that he received as a child" This says the same thing twice. I'd cut " that he received as a child" - done
  • "He later described this incident as follows:" I'd cut the last two words there. - done
Franciscan friar
  • "decided to join". I'd just say "joined". It's the joining that we're interested in here, not the decision to join, right? -done
  • "He was highly active..." Again, I think "active" covers it. "Highly active" sounds like hyperbole. - done
  • You quote Kolbe's description of the Freemasons lauding the triumph of Lucifer. Was that really how it went down? Is there some more neutral source you could quote to describe the nature of the Masonic demonstrations against the Popes?
  • There's a "citation needed" tag on the bit about him being the only canonized saint with an amateur radio license. Also, "canonized saint" is repetitive. Are there non-canonized saints?
  • "publishing a Japanese edition of the Knight... " I'd spell out the whole title. - done
  • "Kolbe decided to build..." ---> "Kolbe built..." - done
  • " this one however closed after a while." Is there any narrower estimate of how long it was open? A couple years? Decades?
  • Might be good to briefly explain the Deutsches Volksliste.
    • Fixed, through I explained it using my own knowledge, without looking for sources explaining what it is (I usually tend to avoid explaining this stuff for that reason, extra work while we have hyperlinks leading to articles where such stuff should be properly explained and referenced - not that it always is, Volksliste is in pretty sad state, ref-wise :( ). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:56, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
  • "subjected to cruel punishment". Calling it "cruel" reads like a hagiography. I'd either remove that word, or (better option) describe the punishment in more detail, and let the reader device if it was cruel (I'm sure it was!)
  • "in order to" can almost always be replaced by " to". - done
  • Need a cite for the date of his cremation.
  • The first sentence is far too long. - done
  • "Kolbe has also been accused of anti-Semitism based on the content of these newspapers..." Which newspapers?
  • "As of 2014..." I generally omit these, since they require constant updating. The sentence works without it, and will surely be changed if Kolbe is added to that group. But see WP:AO for more information. - done
  • Marian theology could probably link to Mariology, no? - done
I implemented a few of the changes. Marauder40 (talk) 16:29, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll just wait on Piotrus to deal with the remaining issues. --Coemgenus (talk) 13:54, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Mostly done, I think? @Coemgenus:, and thanks you both (also @Marauder40:). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:56, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

This is all good, except for the Freemasons part. I haven't been able to find anything there, either. If we can't track down a neutral source, then the best we can do is make it clear that this is Kolbe's own story of what happened, not substantiated elsewhere. Ultimately, what's important is that he believed it, and that it led him to organize the MI. Also, when I clicked on footnote 10 for more information, the link was dead. You should update it or remove it. You've also got some inconsistency in the footnotes with authors' names. They should either be Last, First or First Last. I prefer the former, but it's the consistency that matters. --Coemgenus (talk) 14:11, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

The article already clearly attributes the Freemason account to "According to Kolbe", so I think that's fine. I've fixed the dead link, but I don't know of an easy way to fix the author last-first. As I am running a bit short of time, would you know how to do it easily? I see they are all part of cite templates, sigh. You'd think they'd at least be standardized... --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 13:39, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I guess you're right about Kolbe's account. There's not much else you can do. And I fixed all your citation templates, so it's good to go. I enjoyed reading this article about an interesting and worthy subject. --Coemgenus (talk) 16:06, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Death Certificate of Maximilian Kolbe[edit]

The Death Certificate of Maximilian Kolbe -- (talk) 12:05, 29 August 2017 (UTC)