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A Life of Heroic Love View Comments
By Brian Jordan, OFM

Pope John Paul II canonized Conventual Franciscan Father Maximilian Kolbe in Rome on October 10, 1982. Millions of Catholics around the world and people of other faiths are aware of this saint’s selfless sacrifice.

In late July 1941, at the Auschwitz concentration camp, Maximilian, in a great act of love, offered his life for the life of a Polish Jew, Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek, who was married, with a family. He died on August 14.

It wouldn’t be the first time Maximilian showed bravery and love in the face of danger.

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Brian Jordan, OFM, is the chaplain for labor unions in Washington, DC. This Silver Spring, Maryland, resident is also a labor priest and an immigrant advocate.

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Hilary of Arles: It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, that was true for today’s saint. 
<p>Born in France in the early fifth century, Hilary came from an aristocratic family. In the course of his education he encountered his relative, Honoratus, who encouraged the young man to join him in the monastic life. Hilary did so. He continued to follow in the footsteps of Honoratus as bishop. Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles. </p><p>The new, youthful bishop undertook the role with confidence. He did manual labor to earn money for the poor. He sold sacred vessels to ransom captives. He became a magnificent orator. He traveled everywhere on foot, always wearing simple clothing. </p><p>That was the bright side. Hilary encountered difficulty in his relationships with other bishops over whom he had some jurisdiction. He unilaterally deposed one bishop. He selected another bishop to replace one who was very ill–but, to complicate matters, did not die! Pope St. Leo the Great kept Hilary a bishop but stripped him of some of his powers. </p><p>Hilary died at 49. He was a man of talent and piety who, in due time, had learned how to be a bishop.</p> American Catholic Blog True freedom lies in the ability to align one’s actions freely with the truth, so as to achieve authentic human happiness both now and in the life to come. Jesus promised, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32).

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