Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Feast of Maximilian Kolbe

St Maximilian Kolbe
Father Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr, licensed cc

St. Maximilian Kolbe was born as Raymund Kolbe on January 8, 1894, in the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. At the age of 12, he had a vision of the Blessed Mother.

"That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both."

Maximilian Kolbe was arrested rested with several of his brothers on September 19, 1939 following the Nazi invasion of Poland, and released on December 8, 1939. Once back in  Niepokalanow he continued his priestly ministry, The brothers housed 3,000 Polish refugees, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, and continued their publication work, including materials considered anti-Nazi. For this work the presses were shut down, the congregation suppressed, the brothers dispersed, and Maximilian was imprisoned in Pawiak prison, Warsaw, Poland on  February 17, 1941.

On 28 May 1941, he was transferred to Auschwitz and branded as prisoner 16670. He was assigned to a special work group staffed by priests and supervised by especially vicious and abusive guards. His calm dedication to the faith brought him the worst jobs available, and more beatings than anyone else. At one point he was beaten, lashed, and left for dead. The prisoners managed to smuggle him into the camp hospital where he spent his recovery time hearing confessions. When he returned to the camp, Maximilian ministered to other prisoners, including conducting Mass and delivering communion using smuggled bread and wine.

In July 1941 there was an escape from the camp. Camp protocol, designed to make the prisoners guard each other, required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place.

He encouraged the others with him and led prayers to Our Lady. The prisoners with him died of starvation and Maximilian Kolbe survived. He was finally given a lethal injection. It is said that he raised his left arm and calmly waited to die. He died as he had lived -in service to others. 

He is the patron saint of prisoners and people that are afflicted with addiction. Today, his cell at Auschwitz, Cell 18, is a destination for pilgrims as a place to visit and pray.

Cell 18 in the basement of Block no. 11, the "Death Block"
Jennifer Boyer, via Flickr, licensed cc.

The sign says: Cell in which in 1941 died prisoners sentenced to death by starvation as a result of collective responsibility for escapes. one of them was Father Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish priest who sacrificed his life to save another prisoner.

 More from the Catholic Culture Site

Saint of the Day

Kolbe quotes

Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii has lots of information on this important saint.


  1. And yet with all your veneration of Fr. Kolbe, here you are voting and stumping for Trump. For all the years I've been reading you (since the Candyland/sweepingthehome days!) I think its your unwavering cognitive dissonance that keeps bringing me back. Your blog gives me an insight into what it means to be an American. It's absolutely fascinating that you can talk about Kolbe and the Holocaust and never once mention the Jewish people or antisemitism. Or that your president incited white nationalists and Nazis to violence and revolt. Does it ever bother you that it took your president three whole days to denounce a terrorist attack on American citizens on American soil. Or that it will be handwaved away like his adultery or his sexual assaults? It's very tempting as a Canadian to become smug and superior. But reading your blog shows me how the US got to this point and it helps me understand. No one is immune this sort of thing, myself included.


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