On the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 2021, the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej DUDA, visited Niepokalanów, the friary founded by St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe in 1927.
The president arrived at 6:35 p.m. and was escorted first to the Star of the Immaculate Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, the seat of the World Center of Prayer for Peace (Cf: https://www.ofmconv.net/mondo-le-12-stelle-nella-corona-di-maria /). He was accompanied by Friar Mirosław BARTOS, the Vicar Provincial of the Province of the Immaculate Mother of God in Poland [Warsaw] and Friar Mariusz SŁOWIK, the Guardian of Niepokalanów. From there, they proceeded to the Basilica of the Immaculate Mother of God, Mediatrix of All Graces.
The president next visited the Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe. It is the first and oldest chapel in Niepokalanów and recalls the times of its founder. While there, President DUDA wrote a message in a commemorative book in the cell of the friary where Kolbe was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941.
The president then presented a gift to the Guardian—an image of Our Lady of Victory; the friars, in turn, gave the president a photo album of Niepokalanów and a copy of the writings of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe. The President also visited the Firefighters Museum with its artifacts and mementos related to the activities of the Niepokalanów firefighters, and the Papal Museum which displays several “pope-mobiles” used by St. John Paul II during his pilgrimages to Poland. The visit ended at 8:00 p.m.
Here is the message President Andrzej DUDA wrote in the commemorative book in Niepokalanów:
“In this special moment of national celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the reconquest of the independence of the Republic of Poland and the 80th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe, I thank you for your communal prayer and the opportunity for spiritual reflection, during this visit to the Shrine of Niepokalanów where St. Maximilian exercised his ministry. This man and the supreme sacrifice of his own life are a great testimony of Christian love and solidarity, and a moving symbol of Polish martyrdom during World War II. May God bestow every blessing upon the Vicar Provincial, the Guardian and the whole community of the Friars Minor Conventual at Niepokalanów, and I sincerely hope, that following the example of St. Maximilian, the friars will help to cultivate fundamental values in our society, build bonds between people, and strengthen our national community. May the good Lord support every effort by Niepokalanów to radiate the message of love of neighbor throughout all of Poland.”
Office of Communications
Photo: Friar Mieczysław WOJTAK