In Your Name

To Auschwitz, every 14th of the month

In the years in which I lived at the Spirituality Center in Poland, one of the assignments dearest to me was certainly going to pray on the 14th of each month at the cell of St. Maximilian Kolbe in the Auschwitz camp. In fact, when I arrived in Harmęże, the missionaries already present immediately communicated to me this experience, this important, personal assignment with St. Maximilian in the place of his last gift, the gift of life.

Since the arrival of the first community in October 1994, people went to the cell every month to entrust the needs of the Institute and those of the pilgrims who were already beginning to arrive from various places and nations. Later prayer intentions from all over the world began to be welcomed. So, month after month, the cell has also become a familiar place for me; The gloomy bunker of death inexplicably began to turn into a luminous space, into a place almost of attraction, from which to draw light, strength and new life.

I went to the camp every month until the Covid restrictions, in the early hours of the morning, to be able to pray calmly before the arrival of visitors, this in every season, in every climate. I have been accompanied on these visits by many thoughts, reflections, and also many whys on what had happened in that place. I remember in particular one morning in January, we were praying along the driveway leading to block 11. The biting wind was like a whirlpool on the footprints we left on the light snow that had just fallen. That movement gave me the deep feeling of walking together with many other people, known or not, and of feeling close to them. I have collected many thanks or requests for peace, the cry for help in the fatigue of daily life, or the strength to forgive, the desire to start again. And I laid this treasure of offering many times on the bare floor of the cell, always renewing the trust that it would be welcomed by Father Kolbe and feeling very grateful for the gift of being there, as one sent on behalf of so many friends who believe with me that the cell of love is always open to everyone.