St. Maximilian was born as Raymond Kolbe, January 8th, 1894 in Lodz, Poland. Although a wild boy as a youth, he was moved by the prayers and pleas of his mother.
One day when he was twelve, as he prayed before a statue of Mary he saw her in a vision; she offered him two crowns: a white one for purity and red for martyrdom. Told to choose between them, he asked for both. He became a Franciscan friar and took the name Maximilian. He was ordained in 1919.
His life was devoted to Mary. He founded the order Knights of the Immaculata which used the means of mass communication, including radio and a widely circulated newspaper and magazine, to spread truth. "No one in the world can change Truth," he said. "What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" Indifference toward the things of God was the deadliest enemy of any soul. He aimed to defeat this.