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Posted by on Aug 14, 2008

Operation Kolbe – Continuing the Witness

Operation Kolbe – Continuing the Witness

The Kidnapped Colombia

– John Angée, artist


In preparation for the celebration of the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Randy requested input from outside sources about Kolbe and his life. One of the responses came from a group in Colombia who offer themselves in exchange for persons kidnapped by rebels. This was their response.


El 14 de Agosto se recuerda y celebra la vida de Maximiliano KOLBE. Unidos a todos los secuestrados, Operación Kolbe, iniciativa de largo aliento, quiere renovar su ofrecimiento por la libertad.


Hemos expuesto un óleo titulado: “La Patria secuestrada” de John Angée (USA 2007) a la entrada del edificio Pedro Arrupe (Facultad de Teología) de la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá y seguimos alentando a Relevos, Orantes y Difusores para que se mantengan en la firme de decisión de acompañar solidariamente a tantos hombres y mujeres que siguen en cautiverio y a sus familiares y amigos.


No sabemos si algún día esta propuesta sea aceptada, pero sabemos, sí, que no descansaremos hasta ver en libertad al número desconocido de hermanos y hermanas que dramáticamente y en silencio nos piden no olvidarlos.



[On August 14 we remember and celebrate the life of Maximilian Kolbe. United with all those kidnapped, Operation Kolbe, a long term enterprise, wishes to renew its offer for liberty.

We have exhibited an oil painting titled: “The Kidnapped Colombia” by John Angée (USE 2007) at the entrance of the Pedro Arrupe building (Department of Theology) of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Xavier Pontifical University) in Bogotá and we continue to encourage those who serve as Relief, those who Pray and Broadcasters to remain firm in their decision to accompany in solidarity the many men and women who remain in captivity and their family and friends.

We do not know if one day this offer will be accepted, but we know that, yes, we will not rest until we see the return to freedom of the unknown number of brothers and sisters who dramatically and in silence ask us not to forget them.

Operation KOLBE 2008

We can be reached at:

Translation by Kathy Pozos]

Thank you for your response. We will keep you and all kidnap victims and political prisoners in our prayers.

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2008

Operation Kolbe – Continuing the Witness

Saint of the Day: St. Maximilian Kolbe – August 14

St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Conventual Franciscan, is widely known as the saint of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, where he voluntered to take the place of a young husband and father who was one of ten innocent men condemned to death by starvation as a reprisal. As courageous as this was, he is also considered a martyr because of the abuse and torture he endured when he affirmed his faith in Christ.

Born Rajmund Kolbe (1894 – 1941), to a working class family in what is now Poland, he took the name of Maximilian when he entered the Conventual Franciscans. He had doctorates in philosophy and theology and founded a thriving monastery at Niepokalanow near Warsaw. St. Maximilian Kolbe was also a missionary to Japan and is remembered for his respect for Japanese culture and tradition as he created a thriving center near Nagasaki.

He lived a life of true Franciscan poverty, often living in very difficult circumstances, but always depending on God for the resources he needed for his apostolate. St. Maximilian Kolbe used publishing and radio to promote the Gospel and to defend the Church. He landed in Japan with a couple of companions and no money. They began their work sleeping on the ground in an improvised hut. Within a month he had a press and was publishing a weekly newspaper. He ventured into India where he wanted to create another foundation, but his superiors recalled him to Poland because of his ill health.

In 1939 the Nazis invaded Poland. St. Maximilian Kolbe and his fellow Franciscans sheltered 3,000 refugees at Niepokalanow including 2,000 Jews. On February 17, 1941 he was arrested by the Gestapo after publishing a defense of truth in the face of Nazi propaganda. In May he was transferred to Auschwitz, where he continued his ministry despite inhuman conditions and beatings. It was in late July that a prisoner from his cell block disappeared and he volunteered to take the place of one of the ten men selected to be executed as a reprisal for the missing prisoner. After three weeks of hunger and thirst, during which he encouraged the other men and led them in prayer, he was murdered by a lethal injection on August 14.

St. Maximilian Kolbe had a powerful effect on a young Polish man, Carol Wotyla, who as Pope John Paul II would declare him a saint.

St. Maximilian Kolbe has also inspired Operation Kolbe, a group in Colombia, to offer themselves in exchange for those who have been kidnapped by rebels. They can be reached at:

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