During the week of October 16th, as the Church marked the centenary of the founding of the Militia of the Immaculate, our Order sponsored an International Conference at the Seraphicum in Rome, Italy, with the theme: “St. Maximilian Kolbe in the Light of the New Evangelization.” On Thursday, October 19th, Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. was a keynote speaker. The title of his one-hour conference was “St. Maximilian: Minoritas for the Sake of the Kingdom.” During his conference, with the help of personal anecdotes, Friar James explained St. Maximilian’s exercise of minoritas (i.e. “the stance of humility before God and others”) in his apostolic service and his fraternal role as guardian among the friars – all for the sake of the kingdom. By way of three sources (biblical, Franciscan testimonials from Kolbe’s contemporaries, and Auschwitz survivors), Friar James examined generally how minoritas impacts a friar’s work of evangelization. In particular, Friar James explained how St. Maximilian exercised minoritas from four perspectives:
- His vocation of itinerancy over 31 years
- His theology of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception
- His spirituality of total consecration to Mary
- His mission of evangelization as a member of the Order of Penance
Citing texts of the saint, Friar James explained St. Maximilian’s plan for upbuilding the Church and fostering a civilization of love. He showed how Kolbe represented the icon of minoritas, imaged in Mary’s Immaculate Conception, as a type of “blueprint” for what a converted and sanctified world could look like. The martyr of charity proposed the M.I. as a mode for that evangelization, and intended Niepokolanow (“City of the Immaculate”) as a model of “minoritas space, or archetype of the kingdom,” which is also realizable today.
Submitted by Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv.
Our Lady of the Angels Province M.I. Assistant