It would be nice to have a chat with St. Maximilian M. KOLBE, to ask his advice and to learn more about his missionary, formational and administrative choices. However, it seems this is not possible. At least in this case, it has nothing to do with Covid-19.
Let us imagine, then, that it is April 24, 1930, a memorable day for Maximilian KOLBE. On that day, ninety years ago, his ship docked in Japan after almost two months of travel and Friar Maximilian set foot for the first time on Japanese soil.
Why Japan? Maximilian wanted to conquer the whole world for Christ, under the protection of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. However, his missionary project was marked by failures big and small and was beset by many problems. Nonetheless, Friar Maximilian never gave up and never calculated his plans according to “human” logic.
In 1927, he moved from Grodno (now in Belarus) to the newly built Friary of Niepokalanów, in Poland, and brought with him the publishing house he founded a few years earlier. When he moved his publishing house from Cracow to Grodno, he was on his own and his whole publishing house fit in a suitcase. However, when he transferred his publishing house from Grodno to Niepokalanów, he had some thirty friars working for him and a train was needed to transport the machinery. Early in 1930, he decided to take four friars with him and leave for the mission. By that time there were 104 friars in Niepokalanów, and every month 120,000 copies of the “Knight of the Immaculate” were printed. From a human standpoint, he picked the worst time to leave. Niepokalanów was just getting off the ground and the only person who could replace Maximilian as the head of the friary was his biological brother, Friar Alfons, who had serious health problems.
In any case, on February 26, 1930, Friar Maximilian finally departed. After many misadventures, he arrived in Japan, where he began his missionary activity. Maximilian’s decision shows us a little bit of everything about him: his courage to leave Niepokalanów, even though there was still so much left to do there; his ability to seek God’s will in small things and in encounters, firmly trusting that God was in charge; his ability to accept that not everything had to be in place, but that it was more important to get started; and finally, there was his holy folly of just jumping right into the impossible.
The fact remains that our presence in Japan began on that day and has continued ever since.
Dear St. Maximilian, who can say how you recall April 24, 90 years ago?
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