On June 27, 2019, twenty-five people, following the footsteps of St. Maximilian Kolbe, gathered at Rome’s Basilica of Sant’Andrea Delle Fratte, to consecrate themselves to Immaculate before the altar of the Madonna.
This sacred Roman church was very dear to the Polish martyr. He celebrated his first Mass there on April 19, 1918. Moreover it gave him cause to tell his classmates, or mention in letters, the story of the miraculous conversion of Alfonso RATISBONNE, a former Jew. It was a place that was particularly close to him; a sacred place which he often visited as a student and pilgrim, whenever he came back to Rome from Poland.
Last October, the Minim Friars who run the basilica, spoke to the faithful and visitors gathered there about getting started on a path towards consecrating themselves to the Immaculate. To this end they collaborated with the International Center of the Militia of the Immaculate (M.I.), which worked hard to follow up on this splendid initiative. Thus a group of brothers and sisters completed their journey of formation and preparation and consecrated themselves to the Immaculate Conception. The ceremony took place in an atmosphere of joy and reflection during Evening Prayer I of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
One should mention that the Virgin Mary’s gift of the Miraculous Medal is commemorated here on the 27th of each month. Thus, the liturgy of consecration to Mary was inserted into that moving context. The brothers and sisters who made their consecration recited the formula that St. Maximilian wrote in 1920 (cf. Kolbe Writings 37), and understood the great value of placing their lives in the hands of the Immaculate. They are committed to retracing the steps of St. Maximilian who, in reciting those same sentences, went on to realize unprecedented missionary achievements and finally, his martyrdom.
Giuliana Della Penna, the Regional President of the M.I. in Lazio (Italy) and Secretary of M.I. for Italy, was very dedicated and guided the entire course with delicacy and competence. Thus St. Maximilian was alive again at his beloved Basilica of Sant’Andrea Delle Fratte. It can and should be a starting point for many people who, in the hands of Mary, would like to fully live their baptismal vocation.
Friar Raffaele DI MURO, M.I. International President