The Nazis visit the friary for an "inspection" and Father Maximilian hopes they will allow him to print their religious magazine.
Note: This is part of a new serial fiction series focusing on the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe, following the life of a fictional character as he encounters the saint. New chapters are released every Sunday! For previous chapter(s), click here.
Piotr watched eagerly as the last caravan of Nazi trucks left Niepokalanów. He did not know where they were going, but he was relieved to have a little more peace and quiet at the friary.
It took several days to clean-up the grounds and scrub each room. Piotr hoped that it would be the last time he would see a Nazi truck disturb their monastic life.
What Piotr was especially excited about was the beginning of construction of their new chapel! For years they assembled in a small and humble chapel, barely large enough to hold all the friars who lived there.
The friars had been collecting lumber for months in preparation for this monumental event, and now that everyone else had left, they would have the time to begin their project.
After cleaning the last cell, Piotr returned to the building that housed their printing press. Ever since the Nazi occupation they had been unable to resume their monthly magazine, and with all the activity at the friary, they had to push it off to the side of the room and covered it with a canvas cloth.
Now Piotr could uncover all the machines and start getting them ready for the future. He doubted they would ever be allowed to print again, but Father Maximilian was hopeful.
He was the eternal optimist of the group!
Father Maximilian even invited the local Nazi commander to stop by their operation so that he could plead his case.
As Piotr was busy working on the printing press, he heard voices outside as a Nazi jeep halted to a stop nearby. Out came the Nazi commander with a soldier on either side. They did not seek permission to enter the complex of buildings and simply walked right through, ignoring the questions of the porter.
The commander stopped in the middle of the buildings and yelled fiercely, “Where is the priest?!”
Father Maximilian emerged from the small chapel and walked briskly to meet the commander.
“Here I am, sir! How can I help you?”
“I am here to inspect your printing operation, show me what you have and what magazines you print!”
Father Maximilian beamed with a smile, “Yes! Yes! Of course! I am so glad you are here! Come this way.”
Piotr saw as the Nazis were being led straight to the building he was in. Piotr rushed back inside and quickly cleaned the machine he was working on. He didn’t expect the Nazis to come so soon!
Father Maximilian opened the door and the Nazi commander walked inside with a look of suspicion. The commander examined each machine carefully and then noticed a pile of magazines in the corner.
“What is this?”
Father Maximilian rushed to the side of the commander and started to explain.
“This is our monthly magazine, The Knight of the Immaculata! It is a religious magazine where we write about prayer and devotion to Our Lady. I assure you, we do not cover any politics in our magazine.”
The commander looked closer at the magazine and saw the title of an article that read, “God, source of all truth.”
“Lies!” The commander erupted in rage and ripped the magazine in two, throwing the pieces in the air. “You tell me you do not dabble in politics and yet you say that ‘God is the source of all truth’! That is utterly preposterous! Truth comes from the Third Reich! There is no other source and there can be no other opinions on the matter!”
He stormed out of the building and Father Maximilian raced after him. Piotr followed at a distance to see what would happen next.
“Sir, I beg you to reconsider! We are a group of humble religious who want to publish our little magazine. Surely there can be no harm in that?”
The commander stopped and turned around. He glanced to the side and saw a large pile of lumber next to their chapel. Taking out a device from his pocket, he barked orders into it and within minutes a large truck pulled up next to the pile.
With a smirk the commander said, “Thank you for the lumber! It will serve the Third Reich well!”
He jerked his hand high in the air and then abruptly turned around. A few minutes later all the Nazi soldiers were gone, as well as the friar’s stockpile of lumber.
Piotr raced to Father Maximilian in anger.
“Father! How could they do this! We were going to make a glorious chapel to God! Now what?”
Father Maximilian closed his eyes in prayer, something Piotr came to expect now every time a crisis happened.
“Piotr, we have our little chapel, should we not be grateful for that? Did Jesus have anything better on the day of his birth? He was born in a stable, why should we receive anything more than him?”
Piotr calmed down, recognizing the truth in Father Maximilian’s words.
“Father, what are we doing to do about the magazine? What that commander said made no sense!”
Father Maximilian turned to Piotr with a smile.
“It is an injustice, my dear Piotr, like so many things the Nazis do. They cannot wipe out the truth forever! It must come to light! We must find a way!”
He looked over at the printing press building for a while, thinking silently about what to do.
“We will travel to Warsaw and protest directly to the Gestapo!”
Come back next Sunday for the next chapter!