Maximilian Kolbe Window

 Born 8 January 1894 in Poland, Kolbe's life was strongly influenced in 1906 by a childhood vision of the Virgin Mary “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.”

THIS IS SHOWN IN THE CENTRAL LEFT SECTION OF THE WINDOW the red represented as a Crown of Thorns, The White symbolising Purity, with the words  "God is With You all days and so am I” surrounding these.

BOTTOM LEFT SECTION    Represents  the Conventual Franciscan Monastery founded at Niepokalanow near Warsaw which he founded in 1927.  This became a major religious publishing centre.  He would always have music playing in the background of the printing press room.  The letters and numbers are designed in the form of old fashioned printing blocks representing the beginning of the Technological revolution which he was very interested in.  The Radio and microphones represented the radio station Radio Niepokalanow

The Miraculous Medal which Maximillian designed to be given to members of the Militia Immaculator which he organised aimed to work for conversion of sinners and enemies of the Catholic Church.  He also wrote a prayer called the Miraculous Medal Prayer – this medal is shown in the bottom left of the window. He was strongly opposed to leftist, in particular communist movements.


Between 1930 and 1936 Kolbe travelled on missions to East Asia.  He founded a monastery on the outskirts of Nagasaki.  He built the monastery on a mountainside that was on the other side of Nagasaki.  When the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, his monastery was saved and is still active today.  The fighter plan in this part of the window indicates this and the church shown is the one he founded.  Note the stained glass windows within this church.


As well as references for the donor of the window this panel represents the inner workings of an old pocket watch.  Maximillian was very interested in Science and Technology, even designing and having patented a rocket ship similar to the first ones designed by NASA.  (Shown in the top Right of the window).   We start with clockwork and simple engineering designs and then move through the window over the left with the printing press and again simple engineering techniques followed by the development of the information highway which swirls throughout the window ending up showing modern computer code. 

As we move up the bottom right panel into Auschwitz you can see the prayer “If you have nothing to live for, you have nothing to die for”, moving up the railway tracks towards Auschwitz.

 MID  and Top RIGHT PANEL – Auschwitz

Maximillian Kolbe provided shelter to refugees from Poland, including 2000 Jews whom he hid from German persecution at the Friary.  He continued to publish religious works, and issued a number of anti-Nazi German publications. On 17 February 1941 the monastery was shut down by the German authorities, and he was transferred to Auschwitz as prison number 16670, represented on his clothing in the window and in the printing press numbers on the far left. 

Continuing to act as a priest, Kolbe was subjected to violent harassment, including beating and lashings.  At the end of July 1941, three prisoners disappeared from the camp, prompting the deputy camp commander, to pick 10 men to be starved to death in an underground bunker to deter further escape attempts. When one of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "My wife! My children!", Kolbe volunteered to take his place.

According to an eye witness, an assistant janitor at that time, in his prison cell, Kolbe led the prisoners in prayer to Our Lady. Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe remained alive. “The guards wanted the bunker emptied, so they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid. Kolbe is said to have raised his left arm and calmly waited for the deadly injection.

The chemical equation for carbolic acid is represented within this scene, along with images of spectacles, teddy bears and discarded shoes.  The people behind him in Auschwitz seek to show the support given to others (man holding up other man).

The Triangles in Pinks, Purples, Yellows, Reds and Browns represented the badges worn by the inmates of Auschwitz according to their prisoner status.

The second stained glass window, donated by a parishioner, designed by Fr Tom and Jan Simpson of Koru Glass Designs,

was installed on the 5th November 2015 and blessed on Sunday 8th November.   Jan Simpson also gave a discription of the theme of the window