Father Maximilian tries to get permission to print another magazine, but is met instead by a group of Gestapo police.
Note: This is part of a 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.
The verdict did not surprise Piotr, who nervously delivered the letter to Father Maximilian. It was sent directly from the Nazi Board of People’s Education and Propaganda, an office that Father Maximilian repeatedly petitioned for permission to print another issue of his magazine.
Father Maximilian was overly optimistic that the Nazi regime would let him print another spiritual magazine that in many ways openly defied the Reich.
It was going to be their February edition of the magazine, and Father Maximilian was eager to give the people of Poland hope amidst the darkness.
Piotr continued reading the letter to Father Maximilian, while he remained seated behind his desk.
“… no further requests for permits shall be considered.”
Piotr paused for a moment in silence, waiting to hear Father Maximilian’s response. The Polish priest was about to get up from his chair when another friar burst through the door. The friar was panting and out of breath. He must have run across the entire monastery complex.
“Father Maximilian! … A villager from a neighboring town has delivered a most grievous message … you have been BETRAYED!!”
Father Maximilian rose to his feet and inquired further.
“What do you mean, betrayed?”
The friar continued, “The Gestapo have been questioning everyone who goes in and comes out of the monastery. Even friars who left our community for various reasons. It appears they were trying to find someone who would betray you and claim you were leading a political revolt against the Reich. Apparently they found someone to sign a document that would incriminate you … but there is worse news.”
“What is it, dear brother?”
“The Gestapo are COMING!”
The words hit Piotr hard and he had to sit down. Was this the end? What was going to happen to their spiritual father? Would they ever see him again?
The news created great anxiety in Piotr, who began to cry and could no longer hide his feelings.
Father Maximilian approached Piotr and put his hand on his shoulder.
“Piotr, do no be afraid, for I knew this hour would come. They may take me away and imprison me, but my work will not end there. I gladly lay my life down for the Immaculata. I have done all for her and through her, for the glory of her Son, Jesus. The Nazis may be able to take away my life, but they will never capture my soul.”
Piotr wiped away his tears and rose to embrace Father Maximilian.
Father Maximilian said to Piotr, “My child, you must love the Blessed Virgin Mary and tell everyone about her!”
The two ended their embrace and outside they heard the rumble of three black cars. The cars stopped outside the monastery and a small group of Gestapo soldiers exited the cars.
Father Maximilian exited his office and went to greet the Gestapo.
“Praised be Jesus Christ!” were the words he spoke.
As the men marched closer they responded, “Are you Kolbe?”
“Yes, yes, I am! Come, come, let me show you the friary workshops! Visitors are always welcome to the City of the Immaculate! I love giving tours!”
Father Maximilian’s upbeat response confused the Gestapo and they weren’t sure how to respond. As the priest motioned them to follow, the Gestapo walked behind, asking Father Maximilian a flurry of questions.
They ended the tour at Father Maximilian’s office and there the Gestapo made the arrest.
“Kolbe, you and five others will be coming with us. You are under arrest for treason!”
Piotr was one of the five and initially resisted arrest, afraid of what would happen next. However, Father Maximilian consoled Piotr and said to him, “The Immaculata will protect you. You will survive this war.”
Piotr was shocked by the prophetic words of Father Maximilian and a sense of peace returned to him as he was led to an unknown fate.
The rest of the friars stood at a distance and watched the scene unfold with tears in their eyes. Father Maximilian spoke for one last time to his grieving community.
“The Virgin Mary will take care of you!”
After that, the three black cars drove away, and Father Maximilian was never seen again.
Come back next Sunday for the next and final chapter!