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Our Story

Our roots are very important to discovering our identity: who we are, where we have been, and where we are going.

On August 14, 1941, the life of Father Maximilian, a polish Franciscan Conventual, ended heroically in Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He voluntarily offered to take the place of another prisoner, a father of a family, condemned to death by starvation and thirst. This exceptional gesture made Fr. Kolbe the first in the Catholic Church to be recognized as a Martyr of Charity. This title was willed by Pope St. John Paul II and pronounced during the canonization in Rome on October 10, 1982. Father Maximilian was already known outside of Poland for his missionary zeal and editorial activity. On October 17, 1917, while he studied at the international Franciscan seminary in Rome, he founded a Marian movement called “Militia Immaculatae” (abbreviated MI). He and the other friars present had the goal of “conquering the world through the Immaculata” and fighting the forces of evil in all its forms. The international movement continued to develop after his death.

At the end of World War II, another Conventual Franciscan, Father Luigi Faccenda, received the obedience to care for the MI Movement locally, in Bologna (Italy). He dedicated himself to deepening, living, and spreading the total consecration to Mary, the Immaculata. From within the movement, a group of young women quickly asked to be able to live the consecration to God following the Marian and missionary spirituality proper to Father Maximilian Kolbe.

The Institute was confirmed definitively by the Church with its pontifical approval on March 25, 1992. The gift of the charism is a gift from God that manifests for us in history, fills our life with purpose and happiness, becoming a desire to offer all that we are with generosity. So it is that we make available our talents, seeking to respond to new challenges in the various historical, cultural, and spiritual contexts we find ourselves living and working.

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John Neal Cooke shares how the Memorare prayer demonstrates the consecration to Mary and how the consecration leads to the imitation of Christ.

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