On October 17, 2020, the Friary of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Rome celebrated the anniversary of the foundation of the Militia of the Immaculata. In fact, it was on October 16, 103 years ago, in that very friary, which was then a house of formation, that St. Maximilian and six of his seminary companions founded the M.I., a movement essentially aimed at saving souls through total consecration of oneself to the Immaculate Conception.

This project was approved by his Superiors and was shared by many confreres and lay people. It now has thousands of members around the world. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, in keeping with the latest directives issued by the Italian government, no invitations were sent out for this event so as to avoid having a gathering. The day was marked by strict confidentiality and deep recollection. However, there were moments of conviviality and serene joy among the friars.
At 5:00 p.m., Friar Raffaele di Muro, the Delegate of the Minister General for the M.I., presided over a Mass to commemorate the founding of the Militia. In his homily, Friar Raffaele recalled how only a few months after the foundation, two of the co-founders died from the infamous “Spanish Flu.” It bears comparison to today’s events.
The total, unconditional, enthusiastic and joyful entrustment of oneself to the Immaculate Conception must sweep over us again, so that we may finally be able to come out of ourselves and recognize our brothers. In today’s world, so hampered by the lack of priestly and religious vocations, may St. Maximilian help us to live a life of fraternity and minority, as he himself did in such a profound and incisive way.

Friar Germano TOGNETTI, Guardian of the Friary of St. Maximilian Kolbe