Echoes from last year’s Kolbean centenary continued to resound during this year’s 101st anniversary of the foundation of the Militia of the Immaculate. The M.I. was established on the evening of October 16, 1917, making the charismatic presence of St. Maximilian M. KOLBE more alive than ever and setting up a driving force for the years to come.
In an evocative presentation, Father KOLBE’s life and travels, the key moments of his life, were performed and celebrated, particularly the dramatic reversal of fortune among the condemned prisoners in the concentration camp. On October 17, 2018, the friary on Via di San Teodoro in Rome, once again hosted the anniversary event. This time it commemorated one hundred and one years of the Militia of the Immaculate’s existence. It was a joyous and emotional triumph. A large and motivated audience attended, comprised of friars, groups and individuals representing various movements and associations, and those who share the Kolbean charism, all assembled to see Father KOLBE’s splendid message made real through the presentation of a series of remembrances.
The guardian, Friar Valentín REDONDO, greeted and welcomed the delighted public in front of the Kolbe Exhibition. Next, Friar Raffaele DI MURO, President of the International Militia of the Immaculate, introduced the evening’s opening event, a theatrical presentation called “Madri Nostri”, directed by Antonio TARALLO. Friar Rafaelle took the opportunity to ask the director to give some artistic background. Now, as then, we see events involving death and destruction, but these events do not get the last word. It is love that has the final say, the same love embodied by Father KOLBE, love which endures and never dies.
St. Maximilian gave witness to love by sacrificing his life and giving life back to those who lost it, by healing them in spirit and body. So it happened with another father of a family, in addition to Mr. Franciszek GAJOWNICZEK. Marquis Loredano Luciani RANIER spoke about this, offering some significant testimony that further enriched the anniversary celebrations. He witnessed a prodigious event linked to St. Maximilian; one of the two miracles that led to KOLBE’s canonization. On August 5, 1950, moving silently, as in a vision, Father Maximilian KOLBE entered his home in Porto San Giorgio in the Marches (Italy) to restore the health of his father, Francesco, who had been ill for about two years with severe “obliterating arteritis”. The malady grew progressively worse, requiring the amputation of his lower left leg. After the amputation he developed a severe general state of toxic infection, which brought him to the point of death. After fervently invoking Father KOLBE in response to this grave condition, the man was suddenly healed on the night of August 5, 1950, and awoke the next morning feeling completely healthy. Marquis was then nineteen years old. His story shows how St. Maximilian became forever impressed in his family’s lives and how KOLBE has continued to be active, establishing a link and “communicating” in a way that is still present and alive.
The event continued with the celebration of Mass, presided over by the Most Reverend Roberto CARBONI, OFM Conv., Bishop of Ales-Terralba, Italy. Those concelebrating included Conventual friars from the friary on Via San Teodoro and the “Seraphicum” International College in Rome. Hymns were sung by the “San Giuseppe da Copertino Parish Choir” of Rome. In his homily, Bishop CARBONI presented all the richness and topicality of Father KOLBE and proposed him as an admirable figure, about whom we should learn more.
The event concluded with a fraternal agape meal.
Friar Raffaele DI MURO, International President of the Militia of the Immaculate