M. I. Father Director's Letter No 2

Source: District of Asia

Dear Knights of the Immaculata!

On 14 August 1941, Vigil of the Feast of Assumption, Saint Maximilian was killed with a carbolic injection in the extermination camp in Auschwitz. Since February 17 he had been put into prison by Hitler’s slaves because of his courage to uphold the principles of Catholic Faith against the national socialist invaders. Since May he had been transferred to Auschwitz, where he had to suffer more than the other prisoners because he was a priest. One day, towards the end of July, one of the prisoners escaped. As punishment the Commandant ordered that ten other prisoners be condemned to an atrocious death — death from starvation and thirst in the dark "starvation dungeon."

When one of them started to cry desperately: “Oh my poor wife! My poor children! Who will take care of you?", Fr. Kolbe stepped towards the Commandant and said firmly, "I ask to die in place of that father of a family."

The Commandant was astounded for some minutes. A request of this kind was unthinkable.

"And why?" he asked Kolbe. "Because I am old and feeble, and he has a wife and children."

"Who are you?" the Commandant asked.

"I am a Catholic priest," was the answer.

His request was accepted. During the 10 days in the dungeon he prepared all the other condemned to die in peace with God and to enter heaven. When he was the last to be conscious after so many days, the order was given to kill him.

Desiring to commemorate the 75th anniversary of his heroic death, I want to write you this second letter. 

No doubt, our Saint will give his knights on earth many graces during these days, therefore please join in a little novena (a prayer to Saint Maximilian Kolbe – see below) all Knights may pray from 5th to 13th August. Also in his honor let us make a special effort to make the Militia Immaculatae known amongst your acquaintances, and to invite them to become knights themselves. For this purpose you will find in the attached files a little brochure and some flyers.

Finally, you will find attached an interview, with Michael Micherdzinski, one of the last witnesses of the heroic sacrifice of St Maximilian. This interview was made by Franciscan friar Fr. Witold Pobiedzinski in 1998 and published in the Polish newspapers. By the way: Fr. Witold Pobiedzinski joined Catholic Tradition in 2011 and has been living in the priory of the SSPX in Warsaw, Poland.


Fr. Maximilian prepared himself for this death during his whole life, prompted by an extraordinary event in his childhood which we know about from his own mother. Worried about his difficult character which he was unable to dominate, the 10-year-old boy began to pray fervently to Our Lady for help. One day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to him with two crowns in her hands, a white and a red one: the white, she explained, is the crown of purity, the red – martyrdom. Asked which one he would choose, he answered, that he would take both! Even if he never spoke about this miracle to anyone during his whole life, it is easy to find out, that this vision orientated his whole life, inspired all his decisions, guided him in all his undertakings and finally prepared him for the crowning act of love: his heroic death! From this vision were formed his principles, life rules and guidelines. This vision was the first and principal invitation of the heavenly Queen to become Her Knight. When he answered generously and was the first enrolled by Herself to be Knight of the Immaculata, She promised him the two crowns.

Now through Her instruments SHE invited you to become Her Knight. And when you have been answering generously and have taken your enrolment seriously, do you think, that SHE would promise you less? Really, this vision pertains to each and every one of us! Each knight should deeply meditate about the “message” of this vision in order to receive once the same reward: the eternal crown in heaven!

Let us briefly present this message of the Queen to Her privileged Knight, and through him to us all:

1/ THE CROWN: When nowadays almost everybody understands his life on earth as the most important thing and often the only important one, the message of the double crowns orientates strongly towards eternity, and precisely to an eternal glory and victory in heaven. Whoever follows the footsteps of Saint Maximilian, will free himself from the worst of all illusions, the Masonic or Communist “paradise on earth”. He turns from the horizontal, being occupied constantly with his little ridiculous personality, towards the vertical perspective, from earth to heaven, from time to eternity, from exile to the eternal fatherland. Our Lady with this promise makes Maximilian Kolbe and all his knights understand the meaning of our short life in this valley of tears: there will be no other expectation in this world, but preparation, pilgrimage, long and laborious efforts. But our eyes, hearts, souls are fixed higher, according to the promise of Our Lord: “be faithful till the end, and you will earn the crown of life!” The promise of the two crowns correspond exactly to the magnificent words Our Lady said to Saint Bernadette in Lourdes: “I promise to make you happy, however not in this, but in the other world!”

2/ What is this reward exactly? It is a double crown, a double triumph:  white and red! The crown for conserving heroic purity and giving his blood for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. But never forget, that essentially the crown belongs to the king and the queen. The crown of eternal glory you can find only on the head of the King of Kings and/or Our Lady, queen of heaven and earth. If our Lady offers to our Saint such a crown and even a double one, it means precisely that he is invited to participate in the glory and triumph of Our Lord and of Our Lady, and more precisely: the Sacred Heart  and the Immaculate Heart of Mary! This again means: my eternal reward and happiness are the very treasures contained in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These united hearts are the object of my desires, my meditation, my glory, my joy and my comfort: my one and all! In fact, the whole life of Fr. Kolbe was a constant meditation on his wonderful Mamusia (little Mother) and Hetmanka (commander in chief), and through her on the beauty of the Sacred Heart! These most holy Hearts should be also our ‘one and all’.

3/ Choosing the goal, you have to choose the means. If I want to obtain the crown of glory, my life on earth will be a constant striving after that which Fr. Kolbe names “OUR IDEAL”: the white crown - The Immaculata, and through Her the red crown - the Sacred Heart (see the act of consecration). He will always summarize the whole spiritual life in two terms: purity and blood, holiness through suffering, prayer and sacrifice.

In other words, the white crown will be obtained, if you always and everywhere seek only to fulfill the WILL OF THE IMMACULATA, which is nothing else than virginity of the soul, the essence of Holiness.

This he wrote down very clearly in his “Rule of Life” at the end of his retreat in 1920: “I must become a Saint! I must become a great saint!”

Many times he explained the essence of becoming a Saint: the total conformity with God’s will. And he insisted on the fact, that only the Immaculata has received the grace to form us, her children, to become saints: “from the degree of being close to the Immaculata depends our holiness” … “If you really want to sanctify yourself, remember, that sanctification and perseverance (in striving to holiness) depends on the devotion to Our Lady”…

“Allow Her to lead you, and you will be convinced yourself, that the Immaculata is the shortest and surest way to holiness”. The white crown is the constant imitation of the Immaculata till I abandon my own will totally to embrace only what she wishes!

The red crown will be obtained, if you are ready to love God ‘until the end’: martyrdom is essentially the “love of God through suffering”, the greatest love is “to give the life for your brothers”. Therefore, he speaks and writes about these themes every day: “Man’s life is made up of three phases: preparation for work, work, and suffering. Through these three stages God draws us to Himself. The more fervently a soul is devoted to God, the earlier it prepares itself for this third stage, in order to cement its love for the Immaculata with suffering borne out of love. For nothing unites us with the Immaculata and strengthens us so much in charity as this very love combined with suffering for love’s sake. Precisely along this path of suffering we can find out whether we truly and unreservedly belong to her. In this third phase of our life we must show the greatest love for her, the love of a Knight! Love for God is perfected in suffering, as gold is purified in the fire.

It is important to mention here the extraordinary devotion of the Saint to the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Mass. The daily Mass and Holy Hour (obligatory for all brothers in Niepokalanów in spite of their overwhelming work schedule) he considered as the most important time of the day.

Why? Because to gain the red crown we must be constantly united with the Precious Blood of Our Lord flowing out of his head crowned with the crown of thorns and from his pierced heart … present in the chalice of the Holy Mass.

What a program for each Knight, exactly as Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort described the ‘apostles of the latter times’: the Crucifix in the right hand, the Rosary in the left hand! The Crucifix is the sacrifice or Our Lord on the Cross present at the Holy Mass. And he who lives the Holy Mass imitating Our Lord constantly and generously will obtain the red crown.  The Rosary is the symbol of the devotion to Our Lady like a chain which links the child to his Mother, the knight to his Queen. He who keeps true devotion to Mary and accepts her utterly and entirely as Mother and Queen, will obtain the white crown: he will receive from HER all wonderful fruits of holiness and purity.

4/ The fourth message included in that vision: to obtain the crowns you must fight: and because the crowns are the ultimate reward after the final victory, the fight will be life-long and it will be a heroic fight! So was the life of Saint Maximilian: from childhood he learned that SHE is the “commander in chief” of the Christian armies, and wherever SHE appears, the devil will try to destroy her with all his might and fearsome anger. On the other side, wherever Satan rules, SHE arrives in order to ‘crush his head’. The Church on earth is the Church Militant, and nobody can enter the Kingdom of Heaven without a constant fight against the enemies within (bad inclinations, concupiscence) and without (the devil’s innumerable armies) all his life long. Therefore, we should neither imagine nor desire a sweet happy and peaceful life on earth without trials and battles, on the contrary: waking up every day, the Knight is prepared for another day of fight to propagate and conquer the world and the souls for the “City of God”.

5/ A last consideration: how to fight? Again, see the very simple example of our saint: you must think about the crowns (meditations), you must ask for them (prayer), you must take the means. If you want to receive the crowns, then you must first desire and collaborate that everybody may recognize and submit to the King of Kings through our heavenly Queen. You must work for the triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in all hearts and each one in particular: in other words, to be Her faithful knight, instrument through which the Mediatrix of all graces can send the rays of graces into many souls for their conversion and sanctification.

And how will you do this? What are the weapons to make Jesus and Mary known and loved?

Once more: prayer, sacrifices, will of the Immaculata and all the other means left to your zeal and generosity. The same means to invite other souls to get the crowns and to go to heaven are the concrete practices to get your own reward: what you do for the others, you do it for yourself twice!

At the end of July Saint Maximilian walked into the dungeon with 9 other condemned to that worst of deaths, he brought all these guidelines and inspirations of the double crown to its ultimate realization: As he lived, so he died!

May his example and intercession make us more and more generous, so that we also may hear one day from the lips of Our Savior: “Come now, good and faithful knight, receive the crowns I promised you, when you decided to become the soldier of my Mother, the KNIGHT OF THE IMMACULATA!”

Bombay, on the feast of Saint Anne, the 26 July 2016

Fr. Karl Stehlin




O God, Thou hast filled the heart of Thy Servant, St. Maximilian Maria,

with zeal for the salvation of souls, with love of neighbor and with fervent devotion to the Immaculata.

Grant us, though his intercession, the grace to work for the honor of God

and the salvation of souls and to be conformed increasingly until death to Thy Son,

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost,

from eternity to eternity. Amen.


P.S. Allow me to send you within the next days another text to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of our Holy Founder, which contains (amongst others) an interview, with Michael Micherdzinski, one of the last witnesses of the heroic sacrifice of St Maximilian. This interview was made by Franciscan friar Fr. Witold Pobiedzinski in 1998 and published in the Polish newspapers. By the way: Fr. Witold Pobiedzinski joined Catholic Tradition in 2011 and has been living in the priory of the SSPX in Warsaw, Poland.