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Samantha Stephenson recommends Fiorella De Maria's book for young readers about a saint who lived a heroic faith in the face of great evil.

If you are looking for a book that will inspire you and your children to live a heroic faith in the face of evil, you might want to check out Saint Maximilian Kolbe: A Hero of the Holocaust by Fiorella De Maria. This book is part of the Vision Books series, which introduces young readers to the lives of the saints and other heroes of the Catholic faith. 




The book tells the story of Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan priest who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz during World War II. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and declared a martyr of charity. He is also known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary, because of his devotion to the Immaculate Virgin and his mission to spread the message of her love and intercession. 

The book is written in a simple and engaging style, with vivid descriptions and dialogues that capture the attention and imagination of the readers. The author does a great job of weaving historical facts and spiritual insights into the narrative, without being too dry or preachy.  

The book is not only informative, but also inspiring and challenging. It shows how Maximilian Kolbe lived a life of holiness and courage, from his childhood vision of Mary offering him two crowns of martyrdom and purity, to his founding of the Militia of Mary Immaculate and the City of Mary Immaculate, to his heroic sacrifice in Auschwitz. Kolbe may inspire young boys especially to deepen their relationship with Mary:

He wanted to be a knight of the Immaculate, a soldier of Mary, a servant of Her will. He wanted to fight for Her cause, to defend Her honor, to spread Her glory. He wanted to consecrate himself entirely to Her, to belong to Her alone, to depend on Her in everything.   


Kolbe’s witness may be especially powerful for kids struggling to love those who are not kind to them. Kolbe saw the inherent worth and potential of every person, even his enemies and persecutors, and how he witnessed to the love of God in the midst of evil and suffering:

He was not afraid to look into the eyes of the SS men, to speak to them, to treat them as human beings, even when they behaved like beasts. He knew that behind the mask of hatred and cruelty, there was a soul created in the image and likeness of God, a soul that could still be reached by the power of love and grace.


Reading his faithful witness of facing the evils of Nazism and anti-Semitism with love and compassion, and how he witnessed to the dignity and value of every human life, especially the most vulnerable and oppressed, will encourage kids to imitate this outpouring of love in their own lives.  

The book is a great resource for parents, teachers, and catechists who want to introduce their children to the inspiring life and unwavering faith of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. It is also a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about this amazing saint and his relevance for our times. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to grow in their faith and love for Mary and Jesus.   

Ask for Saint Maximilian Kolbe: A Hero of the Holocaust at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Ignatius Press.



Copyright 2024 Samantha Stephenson