On July 7, 2020, the Minister General, Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI, visited the Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was accompanied by the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of the Strepar in Poland, Friar Marian GOŁĄB, along with some other confreres. The outing took place during the celebration of the second part of the Province’s Ordinary Chapter.
The Chapter is being celebrated in Harmęże, a village close to the site where St. Maximilian was martyred. The Minister General and the other friars entered the saint’s starvation cell and spent a very moving moment in prayer together. They were in the very bunker where our Martyr of Charity was killed, on the eve of the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 14, 1941). St. Maximilian offered his own life to save the father of a family from death.
Below is Friar Carlos’ message from the concentration camp, which he wanted to share with all the friars:
We are in front of the building where the bunker is located, where St. Maximilian and so many other people were put to death. We have just entered to pray and I want to share with the Order what I have experienced there; so many things have resonated in my heart.
This is a strange place because, although it is a place of death, the first feeling I experienced was one of massive love. It was as though St. Maximilian’s great love were still present, mixed with the cold air and darkness of the cell. Moreover, this is a great mystery, because that love is Love with a capital L; it is the love of the Lord.
I also experienced union with the Cross, the Cross of Jesus; not as an abstract idea, not as a rational discourse, but just as a feeling, because that was Love, too. In the isolation of the cell, facing death, in the dark, in spite of everything, one still feels Love with a capital L.
That is why I want to share this with you, especially the inner strength I feel to be able to give myself to Him again. This is what I want to say to the whole Order: it is worth giving ourselves to the very end for Love, without holding anything back. It is all or nothing; I believe that this is what Saint Maximilian did.
May he also encourage us, to be witnesses of this Love and the gift of self; it is the best message that we can give to the world. God bless you all!
Friar Dariusz MAZUREK