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St Maximilian Kolbe
Maximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan Priest. He contracted tuberculosis and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life. Before his ordination as a priest, Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady. After receiving a doctorate in theology, he spread the Movement through a magazine entitled “The Knight of the Immaculata” and helped form a community of 800 men, the largest in the world.
Maximilian went to Japan where he built a comparable monastery and then on to India where he furthered the Movement. In 1936 he returned home because of ill health. After the Nazi invasion in 1939, he was imprisoned and released for a time. But in 1941 he was arrested again and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner’s escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. He was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982. His feast day is August 14th
Each year on approximately 14 August, we celebrate St Maximillian Kolbe’s Feast Day. We join together as a community and celebrate the life of St Maximillian Kolbe during a whole school Mass in the Our Lady of the Way Church Petrie. During this celebration we recall the example his life is for each of us and pray for the courage to lead by example as Kolbe did. The remainder of the day is spent participating in whole school activities.
St Marcellin Champagnat
In 1816, the newly ordained Marcellin Champagnat, consecrated to Mary, felt a personal call by God to found a religious community of Brothers that would bring the message of Jesus’ love to neglected young people. Today his passionate spirit, daring vision and persistent work are embodied in the mission of Marist Brothers living on five continents.
Joseph Benedict Marcellin Champagnat was born in Marlhes, France in 1789. At the end of the French Revolution, he entered the seminary and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Lyon. Marcellin’s concern for the education of children and young people was rooted in his own educational experience. Because of the French Revolution, Marcellin did not attend school until age 11, and that experience lasted only one day! Marcellin watched in horror as the school teacher beat a student who tried to answer a question that had been posed to Marcellin. He left school that day and did not return to formal education until he entered the seminary at age 16. Although gifted with natural intelligence, Marcellin’s lack of formal education caused him to struggle as a student. With determination and perseverance, Marcellin managed to meet all his academic requirements. His memories of the school teacher who beat the student, and his own recollections of his academic struggles were the basis of his educational philosophy: “to educate children you must love them and love them all equally.”
On October 28, 1816, three months after his ordination, Marcellin was called to the Montagne home where 16 year old Jean-Baptiste Montagne was dying. As Marcellin prepared to hear the confession of Jean-Baptiste, he realized that the young man had little religious or academic education. It occurred to Marcellin that Jean- Baptiste was one of many young people victimized by lack of education during and after the French Revolution.
Throughout the world, people associated with the Marist Brothers traditions celebrate Champagnat Day in honour of St Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the Marist Brothers. St Marcellin Champagnat died on 6th June 1840 at his much loved Hermitage. The Hermitage was the place which Champagnat built around 1824 to accommodate the Brothers. St Marcellin Champagnat was a Marist Father when in 1816 he began the order of the “Little Brothers of Mary”. Later they changed the name to simply “Marist Brothers”. The Marist Brothers together with thousands of lay Marists continue to provide education and support to all but especially to those on the margins. The Marist Brothers provide some form of assistance (education or other) in over 70 countries throughout the world but in particular around South East Asia.
As members of Marist Schools Australia, we celebrate the feast of St Marcellin Champagnat on or close to the 6th June each year. As a whole school we gather in the Church to celebrate Mass and to remember the inspirational story of Champagnat’s life. We pray that as Marists we can be a witness to the Marist characteristics.
The Five Characteristics of Being Marist:
Love of Work
In the way of Mary