St Maximilian Kolbe, Conventual Franciscan Friar, was martyred in Auschwitz in 1941. In the camp, someone had escaped, and the remaining prisoners of Cell Block 14 were ordered to stand outside in reparation. There was a policy that if a prisoner escaped, ten men from that cell block would be chosen at random to die of starvation. Among those chosen was Francis Gajowniczek, a man with wife and children. Immediately, Kolbe stepped forward and offered to take his place. The astonished Commandant granted the request, and the condemned prisoners left for the starvation bunker. For sixteen days, Kolbe led prayers in the cell as one by one the prisoners died. By 14 August, only Kolbe remained. He was injected with carbolic acid, died, and was cremated on the following day, the Feast of the Assumption. He was canonised by Pope St John Paul II.
May he pray for us, and may God bless you this day.