Can we really say that St. Maximilian Kolbe is the St. Francis of the 20th century? This is a question that participants in this year’s Kolbean Days event will be asking themselves. The symposium will take place on March 15-17, 2024, in Harmęże, near Auschwitz, Poland.

The presentations by the speakers will be helpful in answering this question. The speakers will be comparing the two saints in certain selected areas, such as obedience to the Pope, loyalty to the Church of Rome, personal witness of life and brotherhood towards creation.
The organizers of this event are the Father Kolbe Missionary Sisters of the Immaculata and the Conventual Franciscans. The organizers have also scheduled a screening of Knight, a new documentary film about St. Maximilian Kolbe. Opoka Foundation president and producer of the film, Father Marek GANCARCZYK, will provide some background on how this film was made. There is a visit planned to see “Negatives of Memory: Labyrinths,” an exhibition by artist Marian KOŁODZIEJ depicting the hell of the extermination camp— for any who have not yet seen it. The exhibition includes an eloquent, never before seen painting of St. Francis together with St. Maximilian.
Friar Kazimierz MALINOWSKI, Director of the St. Maximilian Center in Harmęże, explained further: “During this twenty-second annual Kolbean Days, we will learn and discover how much St. Maximilian was a spiritual son of St. Francis, and how so much of the luminous sanctity of the Poverello was shared by the Martyr of Auschwitz. St. Maximilian grew up on the path toward sainthood in the Franciscan Order, so the life of St. Francis of Assisi and his itinerarium mentis ad Deum were an extremely important source for the choices that Father Kolbe made in his life. He loved his Order very much and wished to see it reborn in the spirit of Francis, and the works he created had a fully Franciscan character, which is why Pope St. Paul VI referred to him as a great son of the Franciscan family.”
Priests, seminarians, consecrated persons, members of the Militia of the Immaculata and lay people are all invited to attend the Kolbean Days. The total cost of participation (accommodations, meals, conferences) is 280 Polish złoty. Participants must register by March 11, 2024, by writing or calling the Father Kolbe Missionary Sisters of the Immaculata in Harmęże (; telephone: 33 844 43 47).

Friar Jan M. SZEWEK

Dni Kolbianskie 2024