The Guardian Angel: Poland again, Sokolka Eucharistic Miracle and Saint Maximilian Kolbe
What a beautiful and courageous Catholic Country that evil has tried to eliminate for centuries. And how God has lifted up saints to inspire the world we live in and those wishing to be with Jesus and Mary for eternity. Please think outside of yourselves and share with all those that God has put into your path. Even ones that in your own heart you believe are unsavable, which may turn out to be true, but not ours to judge the heart, only God who is infinite can give a peace and joy beyond all understanding in a place that was corrupt and barron. So spread this world wide and accept if necessary a little ridicule or attacks on your reputation, because the King of Kings sees your heart and will vindicate you in the end when you stand with Him for eternity because of your love for Him, His Mother, and for souls. May God inspire you with this Eucharistic Miracle, and with the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe, and then stand up, speak up, and give this gift into the lives of those that God has put into your path. Listen: "what if someone goes to Heaven because of your efforts" do you think that you can outdo God in His goodness? For you to even attempt to send this on to other, I want you to look through my eyes and know that Jesus and Mary are smiling. Love and prayers in Christ to each of you, GregoryMary
On October 12, 2008, at the church dedicated to Saint Anthony of Sokółka, the Holy Mass of 8:30 AM is celebrated by a young vicar, Filip Zdrodowski. During Communion, unknowingly the Host falls from the hands of one of the priests. A woman kneeling, ready to receive the Eucharist, makes him notice it. The priest remains paralyzed from fright and believing it was dirty, places it in the vasculum, a small silver vessel which contains the water utilized by priests to wash their fingers after distributing Communion. At the end of the Holy Mass, the sacristan, Sister Julia Dubowska, takes the vasculum with the Host and for increased safety pours it into another vessel which she then locks in the safe where the chalices were kept.
A week later, on Sunday, October 19, around 8:00 AM, the sister opens the safe and finds the Host almost dissolved but with some strange red clots in the center. She immediately calls the priests to show them what was discovered. The Host was mostly dissolved. Only a very small piece of the consecrated bread was left, tightly interconnected to the substance that appeared on its surface. Actually, part of the Host was joined to that “strange red clot”.
The pastor of Sokółka then contacted the Metropolitan Curia of Białystok. Archbishop Edward Ozorowski together with the Chancellor of the Curia, priests and professors examined the Host and, astounded, decide to wait for the development of the events and to see what would happen next.
On October 29 the vessel containing the Host is brought into the parish chapel and locked in the tabernacle; the next day, on order of the Archbishop, Father Gniedziejko delicately removes with a small spoon the partially dissolved Host with the blood colored substance on its interior and places it on a pure white corporal, with a red cross embroidered on its center. The corporal is kept in the case used for keeping and carrying the Hosts, to be then locked again in the tabernacle.
Over time the Host “fused” with the corporal and the red “clot” dried. Only then two scientists of global fame and specialists in pathological anatomy at the Medical University of Białystok were consulted.
The Metropolitan Curia of Białystok has released this declaration concerning the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred at Sokółka: “
1. On October 12, 2008, a consecrated Host fell out of the hands of a priest while he was distributing Holy Communion. He picked it up and placed it in a vessel filled with water, in the tabernacle. After Mass, the vessel containing the host was placed in a safe present in the sacristy.
2. On October 19, 2008, after opening the safe one could clearly see a red stain on the Host that had fallen, which with the naked eye immediately gave the impression of being a bloodstain.
3. On October 29, 2008, the vessel containing the Host was transferred to the tabernacle of the chapel of the rectory. The next day the Host was removed from the water contained in the vessel and placed on a corporal inside the tabernacle.
4. On January 7, 2009, the sample of the Host was taken and examined independently by two professionals in histopathology at the University of Medicine of Białystok. They issued a common declaration which states: ‘The sample sent for evaluation looks like myocardial tissue. In our opinion, of all the tissues of living organisms this is the one that resembles it the most.’
5. The Commission has noted that the analyzed Host is the same one that has been moved from the sacristy to the tabernacle in the chapel of the rectory. Intervention by a third party has not been found.
6. The case of Sokółka does not contradict the faith of the Church, but rather confirms it.”
At the beginning of January of 2009 the Curia of Białystok asked two eminent specialists in pathologoical anatomy of the Medical University of Białystok - Professor Maria Elżbieta Sobaniec-Łotowska and Professor Stanisław Sulkowski, to analyze the samples of the bloodstained Host.
On Janaury 7 - Professor Sobaniec-Łotowska went to Sokółka and took from the corporal a minuscule sample of the mysterious substance present in the Host.
The professors of the UMB University had underlined that, in the case of the examined Host, in the sample they have found numerous biomorphological indicators typical of cardiac muscle tissue such as, for example, the phenomenon of segmentation, namely damage to the fibers of the tissue of the cardiac muscle in the section where communicating junctions [structures characteristic of the cardiac muscle] are found, and the phenomenon of fragmentation. Such damages are visible in the form of numerous small lesions. These alterations can be observed only in fibers that were not necrotic, that is alive, and show signs of the fast spasms of the cardiac muscle typical of the extreme phase preceding death.
Another important evidence of the fact that the material analyzed corresponded to human cardiac muscle tissue was the central position of the cellular nucleus in the observed fibers, a typical characteristic of cardiac muscle fibers... The two scientists of Białystok declared… “Some signs that can correspond to nodes of the contractions have been observed on the section of several fibers. Instead, during the analysis with the electronic microscope, the outlines of the communicating junctions and the thin filaments of the myofibrils were visible”. Moreover, the cardiac tissue was joined to the consecrated Host in an inseparable manner.
In the report of the examination performed by Professor Sobaniec-Łotowska and Professor Sulkowski, we find written: “The material resulted was sufficient for the examination; it indicates that it is cardiac muscle tissue, or at least the most similar to it among all the living tissues of an organism”. “And, something very important, the material analyzed is composed in all respects of cardiac muscular tissue”. This affirmation is reported in the “Communication of the Metropolitan Curia of Białystok” of October 14, 2009, concerning the Eucharistic phenomena at Sokółka.
The professors discovered also other unexplainable elements. “The Host remained in water for a long time and it remained in the corporal for an even longer period of time. The tissue that appeared on the Host would therefore have had to undergo the process of autolysis, namely the process of self-destruction by the action of the intracellular enzymes; in the material analyzed there were not however observed traces of these alterations!”, the two luminaries declared. Another very interesting event observed consists in that the substance found on the corporal, although slightly changed after being removed from the water (it had simply dried) a couple of years ago, it did not change its appearance despite having been neither stabilized nor preserved at a particular temperature. “This signifies that if the miracle were due to a bacterium, the material would have disintegrated, crumbled and would have changed appearance. Any microbial culture, even placed on the cleanest possible material, after a single week appears completely different” added Professor Sulkowski.
“At first I was convinced that it was a blood clot” - said Professor Sobaniec-Łotowska. But the truth was much more surprising! The two scientists of Białystok, who for their own independent investigations, made use of the most modern optical microscopes and the transmission electronic microscope, have reached the same conclusion (Professor Sulkowski, did not know that the sample which he was examining came from a Host): the sample examined was neither a clot, nor blood ... it was a human cardiac muscle tissue still alive. And, something even more incredible, it was a cardiac muscle with typical indications of the final phase that precedes death.
And yet, several people, who not only have never analyzed the material but they had neither seen it with their own eyes, have affirmed that the red color of the Host is due to prodigiosin, a red pigment produced by the bacterium Serratia marcescens. “Obviously, this is absurd” affirmed the specialists of Białystok, also because the material observed corresponds to cardiac muscle and not to a bacterium. The scientists of Białystok have analyzed the sample taken in purely scientific terms and not fideistic. Several accusations were even more absurd, like the one put forth by the group of so-called “rationalists” according to whom the tissue analyzed pertained to a murdered man. The professors reacted with a statement in which they expressed “a profound indignation for the fact that the public opinion was led in error by false pseudoscientific hypotheses on the analyzed phenomenon, above all on the part of people who ignore the particulars relative to the analysis, who have neither access to the material analyzed, nor to the documentation collected, and who often do not even know the analytical techniques applied”.
The drafting of the protocol on the part of the two scientists of Białystok required two weeks. When the Curia of Białystok became aware of the incredible results of the analyses, it formed a special Ecclesiastical Commission convened by the Archbishop on March 30, 2009. His task consisted in examining the miracle from the theological point of view and in listening to all who had seen the Host or who had been witnesses of those extraordinary events. The commission also had the task of dispelling any doubt of deception and of ascertaining that no one had furtively substituted the Host in the tabernacle, The representatives of the commission - the distinguished professors of the Seminary of Białystok - interrogated all the witnesses, verifying the sincerity of their testimonies.
The work undertaken by the Ecclesiastical Commission has produced the following statement: “The Host from which the sample was taken for the examination is the same one that has been transferred from the sacristy to the tabernacle of the chapel in the rectory. The intervention of strangers was not observed”. This was moreover categorically excluded also by the two scientists of Białystok. It was not possible that someone had placed a fragment of a human body in the tabernacle. What made one think so? The fragments which composed the Host were tightly interconnected to the fibers of the human tissue; they penetrated each other, as if a fragment of “bread” had suddenly transformed itself in “body”. It is not possible to manipulate an event of this type. No one, absolutely no one, would have been able to do it. “Even the scientists of NASA, who have at their disposal the most modern analytical techniques, would not be able to artificially recreate such a thing”, affirmed Professor Sobaniec-Łotowska, adding that this fact has been for her of particular importance.
Maximillian Kolbe another Polish Saint
One evening at the dawn of the twentieth century in the Kingdom of Poland, a ten-year-old boy named Raymond prayed to the Mother of God, asking her what kind of man he was to be. In answer to his prayer, Mary appeared to him later that night, holding two crowns. Mary, who had seen her own divine Son accept a crown of thorns, held out two crowns to this young man. The first crown was white, which signified virginity; the second crown was red, signifying martyrdom. Mary asked Raymond if he were willing to accept either crown. The young man’s answer was breathtaking: “I choose both.” This little boy grew up to be known by the Nazis at Auschwitz as Prisoner 16670. He is known to the choirs of heaven as Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Early life Born in 1894, Raymond (later taking the religious name Maximilian), was the second of five boys to Julius and Maria Kolbe—parents who were devout Catholics with a devotion to the Blessed Mother. Their son Raymond was a boisterous boy, and his mother blurted to him one day, “Whatever kind of man will you grow up to be?” Raymond wondered the same thing about himself, and that is when he asked Mary—in prayer—this most important interrogative. After this encounter with Mary, Raymond’s demeanor changed significantly: less playful, but increasingly joyful as he came to realize his mission and calling. Raymond exhibited a strong intellect, as he excelled in school and soon became an informal tutor to his young classmates. As a teenager in a Franciscan seminary school, Raymond again impressed his teachers with comprehension of science, physics, and mathematics. Again, in the seminary, he exhibited a powerful mind. Upon entering the Franciscan novitiate in 1910, Raymond was given the new name “Maximilian,” as a reminder that he was dying to his old self and “putting on the new man,” as referenced in Ephesians. As part of his priestly formation in the years that followed, Kolbe obtained a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University followed by a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure. In 1918, Maximilian Kolbe was ordained a priest. As Our Lady of Fatima had assured the seers in Portugal, World War I was coming to a close. But a new war was only beginning. The world between the wars Militia of the Immaculata In 1917—while still studying for his second doctorate in Rome—Kolbe founded the Militia of the Immaculata (MI), which sought to combat the errors of Freemasonry and to win souls for Christ through Mary. The MI quickly experienced far-reaching and miraculous success. Its first meeting in 1917 had seven attendees; three years later, its membership rose to over four hundred members; by the beginning of World War II, the organization had more than five hundred thousand members. Perhaps even more impressively, the organization’s magazine, Knight of the Immaculata, (which is still in print) had a publication run of roughly one million. (For some perspective, that is about four times more than the current paid subscription to The Washington Post). In addition to this magazine, Kolbe produced a radio show and wrote pamphlets and books, making his impact in Poland profound. Kolbe founds Niepokalanow
In 1927, in order to serve the needs of the growing organization, Father Kolbe located a six-acre piece of land west of Warsaw that he thought would work perfectly. Since the land was owned by a prince who desired some recompense for the property, Father Kolbe put a statue of Mary on the land and said a little prayer, “Take possession of this land, for I know it is just what you want.” The prince gave Father Kolbe the property. When the Franciscan friars came to the land, the Polish people welcomed their new neighbors by bringing food and lending a hand in the construction of the new location. Soon enough, the tiny Franciscan town was complete. Called Niepokalanow (City of the Immaculate), the tiny town of little huts, seminary, chapel, and printing facilities was modest in stature, but spectacular in intention, as this was meant to be the headquarters to win the world’s souls for Mary. Never tiring of speaking about his love for Mary, Father Kolbe may have encountered those who questioned if he loved Mary perhaps too much. And so he assured them, “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” -St. Maximilian Kolbe Kolbe travels to Japan Three years later, Kolbe turned his attention to the Pacific Rim, where he lamented that so few of the Japanese people had embraced Christianity. Accompanied by a few fellow Franciscans, Father Kolbe went there and founded a similar little city near Nagasaki. He was unable to stay longer since his long bout with tuberculosis was getting worse. In 1936, he returned to his native Poland and to Niepokalanow, which had grown exponentially in these years. Fr. Maximilian Kolbe in 1936 To the lament of mankind, however, another force had also grown stronger in Europe—the Nazi Party. And it had its evil eyes set squarely not only on Poland broadly, but on Niepokalanow. No greater love By 1938, Father Kolbe was presciently convinced that the Nazis were going to seize Poland. As the Nazis approached in 1939, Father Kolbe sent away almost all the friars, but Father Kolbe chose to stay behind with three dozen friars, and Niepokalanow was essentially converted to a hospital for wounded Polish soldiers. The Nazis arrive in Poland The Nazis rolled their tanks into Poland on Sept. 1 and the town of Niepokalanow was bombed on Sept. 7. Yet Father Kolbe remained in place. Not only that, but with the Nazis figuratively, if not almost literally, breathing down his neck, he continued to publish materials critical of the Nazis. The Nazis had seen enough of his writings that illustrated the evils and lies of Nazism, and on February 17, 1941, Father Kolbe was picked up and arrested. On May 28, he was sent to his final earthly destination: Auschwitz. Life and death at Auschwitz Once in Auschwitz, the forty-seven year old priest—who had suffered from tuberculosis for two decades—was given extra work. (Catholic priests were specifically treated with additional hostility by the Nazis.) One day, in an event of remarkable similarity to the Passion of Christ, Father Kolbe was ordered to carry wooden logs but fell under their weight, only to be severely beaten by the guards as he lay on the ground. He was then given fifty lashes and thrown into the woods to die. Yet, he did not die. Instead, he was carried to the infirmary where, in clear violation of Nazi regulations, he heard Confessions of the sick and suffering. The survivors at Auschwitz later attested to Kolbe’s tender love for his fellow prisoners and his generosity, which even included giving away the tiny portions of soup and food allotted to him. In July, the Nazis discovered that a man had escaped. The Nazis had a procedure for punishing the remaining prisoners after an escape: ten men would be starved to death. A German officer named Karl Fritsch gleefully chose the ten men who were standing in ranks. When one of these men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, pleaded, “My wife and children,” Father Maximilian Kolbe broke ranks and made a plea of his own: “I am a Catholic priest. I want to die for that man; I am old; he has a wife and children.” Father Kolbe’s dying wish was granted, and he was led away to die naked in a dark cellar. But if the Nazis were expecting to hear cries of sorrow and anguish, they were sorely disappointed. Because as Kolbe awaited a crown that was promised four decades prior, a somewhat unexpected sound was heard from his cell: singing. Maximilian Kolbe was heard singing Marian hymns in honor of his Immaculate Queen. Two weeks later, the Nazis again had seen and heard enough. Father Kolbe had not succumbed to starvation, so he was injected with a fatal dose of phenol on August 14. The Feast of the Assumption was the next day, but this one was extraordinary. Because while Catholics across the world celebrated Mary’s entrance into Heaven, Father Maximilian Maria Kolbe had entered Heaven himself, and this time, he would celebrate it with his Heavenly Mother in person.
A victory over hate
Pope John Paul II proclaimed that Maximilian Kolbe was the patron saint of the 20th century. If he has something to teach the 20th century, he certainly has much to teach us now, as the 21st century seems eager to embrace the errors of yesteryear. In his canonization homily, Pope John Paul II said, “The death of Maximilian Kolbe became a sign of victory. This was victory won over all systematic contempt and hate for man and for what is divine in man—a victory like that won by our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary.” -Pope John Paul II Maximilan Kolbe shows us that resistance to evil is a consequence of love, rather than the contrary. Moreover, if we are lacking in love, we can offer little resistance to hate. In our world twisted with racism and hatred and religious persecution, the life and death of Father Maximilian Maria Kolbe provides an unmistakable answer to those who wish to resist evil forces and influences. As we fight against a culture of death and hate, we must turn to Mary. That is the enduring lesson of Maximilian Kolbe.